Data Recovery USB: Factors Affecting A Full File Retrieval

by Rod Dunne on March 6, 2011

in Data Recovery

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In terms of performing data recovery USB flash drives can be analyzed using the same data recovery software you would use on a hard drive. However, there is always the chance that these applications will still not be able to find your files. In this post I’ll show you what factors can affect a full or partial retrieval of your data.

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Main Factors Affecting Full Retrieval

Mechanical faults

If the USB drive itself is experiencing a mechanical damage to its memory or internal components then data recovery software will be completely useless. These applications require a functioning USB drive in order to scan the memory. Data recovery experts will however be able to perform a mechanical recovery using specialist tools.

Lack of disk space

If the USB memory device is almost completely full then any available space on the disk will be rapidly reused for storing new files. This consequently overwrites any lost or deleted documents very quickly. Maintaining 20% empty space on the USB drive will help improve your chances of lost data being recoverable even weeks or months after they go missing.


When it comes to data recovery USB drives are just as likely to have their files overwritten by any applications or tasks you use on a daily basis. Saving new files onto the USB drive still has the potential of overwriting deleted or lost data clusters. Data recovery software will work best and find the most amounts of files in the period shortly after they were lost.

Other tools

Data recovery of USB drives can be hindered if you use a disk checking tool (i.e. to analyze for bad sectors) or a disk defragmenter. Both of these types of utilities refactor data clusters on the disk. These types of activities can overwrite data clusters belonging to your original lost files. As a result, always use a data recovery tool first before using disk checkers/defragmenters.

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