General Question

DarknessWithin's avatar

Can my flash drive or at least the files on it be saved?

Asked by DarknessWithin (203 points ) May 6th, 2014

This flash drive of mine has my entire computer life on it; my writing, my photoshop art, my scanned or photographed hand art and a lot more. It’s a few years old and tonight I’m having trouble with it.

My Macbook refuses to read it anymore. My Acer and our family Tower PC will but I can not take any action with the files on it. When I try to move or delete the files it suddenly changes to appear as though the drive’s been wiped clean but a yank and pop back in will restore it.

Yesterday there was a strange occurrence that should have been a warning to me that something was wrong. In one of my folders I have images from a TV show organized into sub folders by season but several of them had reappeared in the main folder and when I tried to put them back into their subfolders I was told a file already existed there with the name.

There was also something else. I’d received a pop up at one point telling me the drive had not been ejected properly (on the Macbook), but the thing is it hadn’t been ejected at all! I always properly eject it from the Macbook.

Is there anyway I can at least get the files off the damn thing?

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6 Answers

jerv's avatar

My experience is that recovery programs work as well on flash drives as they do on hard drives. How well that is depends on whether anything has been overwritten, but something like Recuva should do the trick.

johnpowell's avatar

First: Fire up Disk Utility in /Applications/Utilities/ and run Verify Disk. Let me know what that reports.

ibstubro's avatar

Given that the drive has your “entire computer life on it; my writing, my photoshop art, my scanned or photographed hand art and a lot more” I would take it to a (hopefully trusted/know) expert and try to get it replicated onto an external drive.

It’s been my experience that the difference between your description of a problem and the way an on-line tech perceives that description can be life or death.

I have a website hosted through Yahoo with tech support. By the time they finally figured out the problem, we’d made such a mess of the site it almost never recovered. If I’d spoken the same ‘language’ as them, or had they been physically present, I believe it would have been a relatively minor problem.

DarknessWithin's avatar

First of all thank you, all great suggestions.

@jerv Where do I find Recuva?

@johnpowell I don’t have Disk Utility or even a utility folder in my accessories. I even tried to find it via the search box. Not that I know what difference it would make if any but I should have specified that the Acer is Windows 7. Both PCs are actually.

@ibstubro I’ve been considering just that. I believe I’ve attempted enough, I don’t want to do anymore damage if the files can still able to be saved and risk changing that. My mother’s boyfriend happens to be an IT expert so I’ve decided to lean more towards asking him to look at it and get the files to a safe place if possible. I just wanted to know what other suggestions might be out there, hence my posting here.

Oh one thing I forgot to mention is that when I popped the drive into both my PCs, it offered to scan and fix any problems with it. I only tried this on the tower PC but it just freezes when I click to start the scan and gives the same result as when I try to do anything with the files.

I’ve transferred these files between at least two flash drives since 2009 when I used one to remove them from my old HP laptop. This is the longest one of them has ever lasted. It’s 2–3 years old. Perhaps I should start transferring drives every year.

ibstubro's avatar

Heck, yes. If your mom’s boyfriend can help, do that. I have a buddy that will do anything to a PC for the maximum of an 18 pack of Natural Lite (including wipe a tower clean and re-build), so he’s all I use. He’s the local IT tech for a multinational. Sounds possible to me that you have a virus.

There are places that you can store all your info on the cloud and access it from anywhere now, but the other guys here would be better to advise you on that option.

Good luck!

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