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#1 2013-11-09 16:23:25

Hutchism
Member
Registered: 2013-05-01
Posts: 34

My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

Hi all.
Got an urgent call off my darling mother this morning. She has/had all her important work files stored on a single USB stick (yes, I know..)

The disk has died, and I'm asking if any of you wonderful people have any ideas on how I might be able to retrieve any/all data off it.

The disk is found in lsusb as:

Bus 005 Device 003: ID 058f:1234 Alcor Micro Corp. Flash Drive

is listed as /dev/sdb however "dd if=/dev/sdb of=mumscrappystick.img" gives us:

dd: failed to open ‘/dev/sdb’: No medium found

Any bright ideas much appreciated, Windows or Linux tools, beers given to the winning idea!! Urgent response required.

(Have also tried testdisk which doesn't find said drive)

Last edited by Hutchism (2013-11-09 16:24:15)

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#2 2013-11-09 16:35:11

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 18,760

Re: My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

First, be very careful with the dd command.
What file system was last known to have been on it?
Any idea how this happened?  Was it working, then failed?  Or did it take a trip through the clothes washer (a common failure mode in this household sad )
What pearls of wisdom are posted to the journal or dmesg after the device is attached?


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
---
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#3 2013-11-10 19:15:06

Hutchism
Member
Registered: 2013-05-01
Posts: 34

Re: My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

Hey ewaller.
Thanks for getting back. Had to go out last night so wasn't able to get back to you. Mums decided to redo most of her work anyway, so I'm off the hook a little, though I am going to keep the stick as a bit of a curiosity project.

Seems that you can reflash the memory stick controller and as far as I can work out this is the only way I'm possibly going to get any joy. The drive just stopped working after being unplugged with the machine switched off and was previously FAT32.

Shall post a link to an interesting article I found on repairing flash drives when I get back to my own computer. Aside from reflashing the controller, I'm inclined to think that there is no other way of accessing said information. Just wondered what you meant by being careful with the dd command? as in potentially overwriting data on wrong drive? To be honest I use it quite regularly so am quite comfortable with it and normally use the appropriate switches, but was being a bit lazy with inputting that into the forum wink

If anyone else comes across this post with a similar problem, I can only wish you luck!

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#4 2013-11-10 21:18:39

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 18,760

Re: My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

Yes, please do post the link.

As to dd, there is a reason there is a backronym in which it is called  data destoyer.  I have hurt myself more than once by screwing up my destination specification.   Whenever I use it, I stop and read what I commanded before hitting the return.  Whenever I see dd mentioned, I feel it is a public duty to drag out my soap box....

Anyway, it is good that you are off the hook smile And encourage your mom to improve her backup hygiene smile

Last edited by ewaller (2013-11-10 21:19:19)


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
---
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#5 2013-11-11 15:53:17

shulamy
Member
From: israel
Registered: 2010-09-11
Posts: 443

Re: My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

i think it's a chance to see if testdisk works on usb sticks.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

ezik

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#6 2013-11-12 08:45:53

Hutchism
Member
Registered: 2013-05-01
Posts: 34

Re: My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

Thanks ewaller and shulamy. I'm pretty careful with dd and touch wood haven't done anything silly with it 'yet', I did however manage to rm my entire /etc/ directory after a few beers round at a friends house recently (don't ask)!

Have had a lot of luck with testdisk in the past. Was going to make an image of it and run testdisk on that, but as I couldn't get an image of it via dd this wasn't possible. Also testdisk did not detect the stick on startup.

There's a windows utility called 'urescue' which has had success on some usb sticks for some people.

A page I found which discusses reflashing the controller chip on the USB stick is: http://www.rmprepusb.com/tutorials/repa … lash-drive

The above link uses many manufacturer utilities, which only run on Windows XP, so sorry if this offends people. Sometimes you need to dance with the devil for this kind of thing wink A small Windows XP partition can sometimes be a bit of a lifesaver...

Last edited by Hutchism (2013-11-12 08:48:01)

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#7 2013-11-15 15:13:48

frostschutz
Member
Registered: 2013-11-15
Posts: 1,172

Re: My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

dd is a great tool, if you know what you are doing

but if the device is not even detected and nothing can be read (no medium found as opposed to read errors that could be skipped), there is little you can do

I've not heard of "reflashing controller chips" before, so if you had any success with that, I'd be interested to hear about it. Usually this is a case for a data rescue company, unless it's a card reader where you can just take out the flash chip and pop it into another reader

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#8 2013-11-15 16:08:43

satanselbow
Member
Registered: 2011-06-15
Posts: 538

Re: My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

frostschutz wrote:

unless it's a card reader where you can just take out the flash chip and pop it into another reader

Having had some "mission critical" (ie important stuff for which I had no backup) go through the washing machine on more than 1 occasion, I use nothing else. MicroSD card + throw away adaptor is the way to go. The adaptors may not survive but microSD cards don't seem to object to the odd tumbledrier experience wink

Also a sensible way of recycling 1 / 2 GB cards that come as stock with many mobile phones tongue

Last edited by satanselbow (2013-11-15 16:09:13)

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#9 2013-11-15 17:15:55

nomorewindows
Member
Registered: 2010-04-03
Posts: 3,319

Re: My mum needs files off her USB flash drive. My mum needs you!!!

Alcor?  There's a windows utility you need to get the thing to read correctly.


I may have to CONSOLE you about your usage of ridiculously easy graphical interfaces...
Look ma, no mouse.

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