Flash Memory Recovery:
Flash memory is a storage media where your data is stored on a non-volatile computer storage chip that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed.
The primary applications for flash memory are: memory cards, USB flash drives, iPhones, iPods, pda’s, solid state hard drives along with all types of associated electronic devices.
We have had many people asking us about flash drive recoveries, so we thought it would be a good idea to discuss it in a way that most people can relate to when their flash media fails.
Firstly, a flash drive does not depend on any moving parts as does a hard drive.
People typically assume their flash media will always work. They expect their digital photos and files to always be available when they store their data on their flash media or solid state drive. BUT… that is not always the case. Here are some of the issues you can run into when you are using flash media or any solid state media device.
The main storage controller chip (processor) gets damaged and the media is no longer accessible by any computer or hardware device.
The memory chip that physically holds your files, data and pictures no longer works. You find your data is not accessible when connecting your flash media to a computer, camera, phone, etc.
SD Card Failures – CF Card Failures – Thumb Drive Failures:
Some flash media failures occur when static electricity damages the PCB of the storage media. Other failures could be a result of cracking the flash media accidentally. We have seen USB drives fail because the ends have been broken off when the user accidentally hit the flash media device while the USB portion was still connected to a host computer. Surprisingly, even SD cards, CF ( Compact Flash) XD or other flash media became damaged or the casing was cracked when they were inserted into a camera, or jammed when the user inserted the media in a kiosk card reader in an attempt to print their digital photos from their SD, CF, XD or other digital device.
One key factor most users seem to forget…. a user believes they can repeatedly use their flash media over and over again for prolonged times and their data will always be accessible. The reality is, the flash media is not permanent. It will fail as it has a limited number of reads/writes. Flash memory is built with this in mind, however, the problem of unlimited read/writes have not yet been achieved and we doubt it can ever become a reality.
Don’t Run Defragmenter:
It's never a good idea to run scan disk or defragmenter on a flash drive. Defragmenting reduces the life time of the flash media because this process means the flash media will implement many reads/writes to the solid state media. As stated earlier, we know flash media has a limited number of read/write cycles before the media is classified “non functional”. What that means to you is…you data can never be recovered. The amount of read/writes is a function of the type of media you are using to store your data and on the ability for technology to improve over time.
Flash Media Failures – Genuine Flash Media.
Unfortunately, we have seen flash media cards that were damaged and not genuine.
Some flash media failures have occurred because the fake flash media was manufactured with inferior internal chips or quality. In the past, we have seen SD flash media cards that have failed and looked as if they were manufactured by San Disk, but in fact they were not.
Know your source and vendor. Ask yourself, when you are buying or comparing flash media prices…why is the flash media price from one source so much cheaper than everyone else? Other hints… Look and see if the logo and colors on your flash media device match the “genuine” flash media products. Make note where the flash media is being shipping from. It is true, sometimes, it is hard to differentiate the “quality products” from the fake copies.
If you know your buying a “fake” then you need to ask yourself another very importnatn question… When I go on vacation or taking special event pictures, do I want my memory card to work without any issues, or do I want to save a little money on getting a "cheap" flash memory card and take my chances.
Recognizing Flash Media Failures:
There can be bad media on the flash device and the product will report a 0 GB size or the flash media will hang up a computer when you plug it in.
Rebooting to resolve the problem typically will not help. The computer will lock up and prevent you from connecting to your files and data.
The USB connectors from the USB flash drive was damaged because the user inserted the thumb drive upside down or on an angle and it was inserted quickly and with force..
If you try using your flash media on another computer, and it still does not work, don’t do anything else. At that time you already verified the flash media was bad and nothing was wrong with your computer.
The flash media file system can be infected by a virus or media where the file system is stored has corrupted leaving the flash media card inaccessible.
For more information and hints on Flash media Failures, note the links below:
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