Data Recovery USB Drives | How Is This Possible?

by Rod Dunne on December 4, 2011

in Data Recovery

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When it comes to data recovery USB drives can be analyzed using software utilities for signs of any lost, deleted or corrupted files. Here I’ll show you how this is possible using data recovery tools and what factors affect hundred percent success.

All data recovery applications need to know what file format the memory or electronic devices is using in order to scan for files. Luckily, USB drives use the fat-32 format, same as the one used for internal hard drives on most Windows PCs. Consequently, the large majority of data recovery tools sold for internal hard disks will also work on USB flash memory.

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Once you have installed software on your hard drive it is simply a case of selecting the USB drive for analysis. The software can scan the file system for signs of data clusters belonging to lost or deleted files. The application has the intelligence in its code to reassemble these clusters back into recognizable files that you use. You simply clone the data you need back onto your computer.
While the process itself is quite straightforward, none of these tools will ever guarantee 100% success.

Here are some of the problems that you could encounter

  • Running out of USB space. If the USB drive is reaching full capacity then your original lost documents will begin to be overwritten more rapidly. If you keep at least 10% to 20% of the USB drive free then there is a reduced chance of lost documents getting overwritten so quickly.
  • Choice of data recovery tool. Each data recovery application is developed independently, use different logic to reassemble clusters. Consequently some tools can be better than others at doing this and may identify different subsets of files. To work around this, try using the free trial scans with a number of applications if your first utility is unsuccessful in finding your desired files.
  • Files overwritten by applications. In terms of data recovery USB drives are just as prone to files being overwritten as hard disks are. The longer you leave it before using the data recovery tool, the greater the chance that applications will store new data on the USB drive.

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