Is it possible to recover a Shattered USB?

While many of us use cloud storage nowadays (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox etc.), USB drives (or flash drives) are still popular. Small enough to fit in your pocket, cheap, and easy to use, these are a dependable form of storage. But what happens if you drop one from height, or accidentally sit or stand on it? Your shattered USB may be ruined. Does this mean all of your data is lost?

Broken and Shattered USB Flash Drives

Broken USB Flash Drive

Not necessarily. There may yet be hope.

Some people make the mistake of assuming otherwise. So don’t toss the drive in the trash. This eliminates any chance of recovering your files. They should check if it’s in working order. No matter what level of damage the shattered USB has taken, it’s worth investigating the chances of getting your data back.

There are two types of damage your USB drive may face: physical, and logical.

USB Drive Physical Damages

Physical damage is easy to spot. If your USB drive is shattered, or the metal USB port connector is broken off, you’ll be unable to connect it to your computer to access files. Instead, you’ll have to try another route. Depending on the level of technical prowess you have, you may be tempted to perform a little DIY operation. But this is best avoided if you want to recover your lost data. Instead, you may want to take it to a professional data recovery firm. Professionals will be able to recover the components and ensure your lost files lives on in another form.

On the other hand, if the shattered USB drive has been broken so severely that the NAND memory chip (visible as a little black silicon wafer) is damaged, then you may need to face the sad fact that your data is lost. However, it’s still worth your time (and expense) to consult a professional group of data-recovery experts – they may still be able to work some magic.

Broken or Shattered USB Drives & Proper Care

If your flash drive is broken by such technical problems as file corruption, or it simply doesn’t work without you being able to know why. A recovery service may be able to access your data by fixing the USB controller connections. A USB drive which is physically fine but not working may be fixed by removing its capacitors (outer casing should be taken off). Each file recovery professional will have their own preferred methods.

If your drive is encrypted, then recovering data may be a little more difficult. While your files may be recovered from a shattered USB, a technical failure may make it more difficult. Because of the way in which the data is stored, failures can lead to complex damages.

Data recovery on USB drives is common in the industry. That being said, you should then have access to your files again in no time. Prevention is better than cure. However, make sure your USB drives are safe and secure. If you carry them in a rucksack, or drop them into smaller pockets, avoid leaving them loose with various heavy items or drinks bottles. Liquids could leak causing water damage to your USB drive. Keep them in a zipped pocket (in a coat or your trousers) to prevent them from falling out if you go jogging or are active. Be sure not to confuse your USB drive with your lighter. Keep the drive in a dry area.

Also, embrace cloud storage. Open an account with a reliable provider (check around to find the best choice for you) and back-up your data on a regular basis. Ideally, whenever you make changes to a document, save a copy.