USB flash drives – user beware!

The ubiquitous USB Flash drive is everywhere and has been with us for a long time.  Everyone probably has at least one or two laying around.  There is quite a discussion going on in the industry about the life and security of your data on that Flash drive.  What most don't know is that these Flash drives can be some of the most unreliable pieces of hardware in general PC use today.  Most of the early drives were made by reputable and recognized memory manufacturers.  (Flash drives are memory chips with no moving parts.)  These were quite durable and reliable (ran a few through the wash machine - heh - and they continue to work today) and could store your data for years, if not tens of years.  But as generic Flash drives appeared on the market they were made with increasingly cheap and dubious electronics. Longevity and security of your data was/is never a prime consideration.  Some of these cheap generic drives can start losing data in as little as a few months and if left in a hot environment (car or window) can start losing data in a matter of weeks. Also, there is the physical issue of USB drives where one misplaced bump while inserted in your PC can break the connections inside the Flash drive rendering it useless.  Pulling it from your computer before Windows gives the all-clear can result in data loss. There is the problem that the firmware (Flash drive operating system) was never designed with security and can host viruses and malware. The list goes on....

Our recommendations:  If you must use USB Flash drives, use name brand drives. Use them as a transport mechanism only.  Keep files on the Flash drive only as briefly as possible and use the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) in place of where you would have used a Flash drive in years past. If you do have a USB Flash drive failure we may be able to help.  Our favorite diagnostic and recovery software runs in command line Linux and we hopefully can salvage your files and return them to you via the cloud, DVD or another USB Flash drive (irony).

We can handle Flash drives with some physical damage, but if your drive is heavily damaged, then you will need a specialized recovery service like FlashDrivePros that can access the memory modules on the little circuit board inside the drive and more.

One year of failed Flash drives for FlashDrivePros.  Too many people put too much faith in these drives and end up disappointed.

Let us know if there is anything we can do to help with your Flash drive or hard drive recovery problems.