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I have a problem with my usb flash disk. It's a Kingston Datatraveler. I use it intensely, and since yesterday it has become corrupted. I can't remember that I took it out before dismounting (or safely removing, since I mostly use it on a Win7 - VM Ubuntu machine), but that seems to be the most likely cause.

I searched and searched, but it seems everyone gives up eventually on trying to rescue data in this situation. However, I'm stubborn and I need your help.

These are the diagnostics that I did so far:

walle@earth:~$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sdb 
walle@earth:~$ sudo fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 21.5 GB, 21474836480 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 2610 cylinders, total 41943040 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0009a95f

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *        2046    41943039    20970497    5  Extended
/dev/sda5            2048     6000639     2999296   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6         6002688    41943039    17970176   83  Linux
walle@earth:~$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 80ee:0021 VirtualBox USB Tablet
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 0c76:0005 JMTek, LLC. Transcend Flash disk
walle@earth:~$ ls -laR /dev/disk
/dev/disk:
total 0
drwxr-xr-x  5 root root  100 Sep 21 12:22 .
drwxr-xr-x 16 root root 4180 Sep 21 12:22 ..
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root  240 Sep 21 12:22 by-id
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root  160 Sep 21 12:22 by-path
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   80 Sep 21 12:22 by-uuid

/dev/disk/by-id:
total 0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 240 Sep 21 12:22 .
drwxr-xr-x 5 root root 100 Sep 21 12:22 ..
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   9 Sep 21 11:08 ata-VBOX_CD-ROM_VB0-01f003f6 -> ../../sr0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   9 Sep 21 11:29 ata-VBOX_HARDDISK_VB0f06d815-0d4e855f -> ../../sda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:28 ata-VBOX_HARDDISK_VB0f06d815-0d4e855f-part1 -> ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:08 ata-VBOX_HARDDISK_VB0f06d815-0d4e855f-part5 -> ../../sda5
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:08 ata-VBOX_HARDDISK_VB0f06d815-0d4e855f-part6 -> ../../sda6
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   9 Sep 21 11:29 scsi-SATA_VBOX_HARDDISK_VB0f06d815-0d4e855f -> ../../sda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:28 scsi-SATA_VBOX_HARDDISK_VB0f06d815-0d4e855f-part1 -> ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:08 scsi-SATA_VBOX_HARDDISK_VB0f06d815-0d4e855f-part5 -> ../../sda5
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:08 scsi-SATA_VBOX_HARDDISK_VB0f06d815-0d4e855f-part6 -> ../../sda6
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   9 Sep 21 12:07 usb-GENERIC_USB_Mass_Storage-0:0 -> ../../sdb

/dev/disk/by-path:
total 0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 160 Sep 21 12:22 .
drwxr-xr-x 5 root root 100 Sep 21 12:22 ..
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   9 Sep 21 11:08 pci-0000:00:01.1-scsi-0:0:0:0 -> ../../sr0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   9 Sep 21 12:07 pci-0000:00:0b.0-usb-0:1:1.0-scsi-0:0:0:0 -> ../../sdb
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   9 Sep 21 11:29 pci-0000:00:0d.0-scsi-1:0:0:0 -> ../../sda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:28 pci-0000:00:0d.0-scsi-1:0:0:0-part1 -> ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:08 pci-0000:00:0d.0-scsi-1:0:0:0-part5 -> ../../sda5
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:08 pci-0000:00:0d.0-scsi-1:0:0:0-part6 -> ../../sda6

/dev/disk/by-uuid:
total 0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  80 Sep 21 12:22 .
drwxr-xr-x 5 root root 100 Sep 21 12:22 ..
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:08 1587b411-663d-4b75-93e0-06ed4f76f55c -> ../../sda5
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Sep 21 11:08 28c80af8-f546-46ec-9b63-38cbd7c0b9f2 -> ../../sda6

GParted doesn't detect the device, gnome-disk-utility does, but under "Capacity" it says "No media detected".

testdisk doesn't detect it either.

Additionally, the symptoms on Win 7 are that the drive is visible, but not accessible in explorer ("Please insert a disk into Removable disk F:" when trying to browse it, and "Cannot open volume for direct access." when trying to run chkdsk).

My hopes sprang up when I plugged it into a Vista computer: it detects it and can dismount it. I still cannot access anything on there, but when I search for some files by name they show up in results, although I still can't open them.

Please help if you have any idea on how I can recover my data.

Any help would be much appreciated.


share|improve this question
    
When you plug it in using Ubuntu, type dmesg in a terminal window; this often helps debug the problems. –  January Sep 21 '12 at 11:41
    
dmesg output: [10778.425630] usb 1-1: new high-speed USB device number 9 using ehci_hcd [10779.096325] scsi13 : usb-storage 1-1:1.0 [10780.147528] scsi 13:0:0:0: Direct-Access GENERIC USB Mass Storage 1.00 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2 [10780.181067] sd 13:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0 [10780.219493] sd 13:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk –  earthling Sep 21 '12 at 12:14
    
If the HDD is inside of a case, I suggest you to take it out from the case and use a USB-to-IDE/SATA Cable to run the testing. This one will do the trick: manhattan-products.com/en-US/products/… but any of its kind will also. In certain cases, the case itself is having a controller card wich manages the data in the hard disk drive via connector/cable, this controller card can be damaged and the data in your disk can be safe but unreachable by the controller card. Please report your results. –  Geppettvs D'Constanzo Sep 21 '12 at 15:50
    
If you don't have access to a USB-to-IDE/SATA Cable, try -if possible- plugging the HDD in another computer (for 3.5" HDD's) and using your laptop's HDD bay (for 2.5" HDD's) to run the testing, which can be achieved via Live USB/CD Session. –  Geppettvs D'Constanzo Sep 21 '12 at 15:52
    
this is not an HDD, it's a USB stick. Do you have any pointers on how to go about rescuing the chipset? I'm still trying out the less risky solutions, but just in case I get to that point. –  earthling Sep 21 '12 at 20:47
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2 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

You should try to obtain an image of your drive with

ddrescue Install ddrescue

(see the GNU ddrescue Manual on how to use this tool). Drives should not be mounted. For your machine a command similar to this may be able to create an image of the memory stick:

sudo ddrescue -f -n /dev/sdb /home/earthling/rescue.dd /home/earthling/logfile.dd

After sucess we can now try to recover files from this image without any further damage or risk to the data that still reside untouched on your USB drive.

We may try to repair the filesystem with tools depending on the format we had there (ext4, NTFS, FAT32,...?).

Alternatively photorec from the

testdisk Install testdisk

suite you obviously already had installed may be able to recover individual files (but not filenames) from such an image. See the nice PhotoRec Tutorial for details.

photorec /home/earthling/rescue.dd
share|improve this answer
    
ddrescue unfortunately reports >ddrescue: Can't open input file: No medium found PhotoRec doesn't detect my device either, just the hard disk –  earthling Sep 21 '12 at 12:23
    
Its what I was afraid of from your logs :/ - but it was worth a try. There also is Photorec for Windows (just mentioning as you said you could access the drive from there). –  Takkat Sep 21 '12 at 12:39
    
So you think it can't be recovered at all? I also tried e2fsck and it reports corrupt superblock. –  earthling Sep 21 '12 at 12:45
    
@earthling: I have no further idea atm - looks like some hardware issue as dd should still work even when a partition table was bricked. Weird is that e2fsck recognized the drive when dd could not. You could also try with different USB ports on different machines, try cleaning contacts with isopropylic alcohol, wait overnight (no kidding)... –  Takkat Sep 21 '12 at 13:11
    
I will try that. I'll let you know how it goes. Takkat and @maythux thank you both for your time. –  earthling Sep 21 '12 at 13:42
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Try a program named r-linux. Download from here

share|improve this answer
    
I installed it, and tried it. The "Recover all files" is not active on this drive. Sector size, and partition size and type properties are missing. –  earthling Sep 21 '12 at 12:32
    
It seems that there is a hardware problem("maybe in the chipset"). try to get help from recovery professionals –  user61928 Sep 21 '12 at 12:48
    
ok, thanks. i was hoping it wouldn't get to that –  earthling Sep 21 '12 at 13:17
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