USB Memory Stick wants me to format it

By donkeyfly
Jul 7, 2008
  1. ...well not me, but my friend.

    He removed it today from a computer and when he put it back in and clicked to open, it came up saying to format it.

    How can he recover all the data he had on it or get it back as it was?

    Any programs that'd do the trick?

  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    See if you can access the files connecting it to your PC
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    You might have to go to the website of the manufacturer of that USB module.
    Sounds as if he withdrew the device before its work was done, and without clicking on "Add and Remove hardware" button.
    USB flash drives mainly use the FAT file system while memory cards for a PDA or Camera use FAT-16.
    Mostl operating systems will work with the FAT file structure. This is why they are so compatible with so many devices. All flash storage devices must use the Master Boot Record, Boot Sector, and File Allocation tables. They exist in duplicate on most devices, and are composed of lists of files, details on their sizes and where they are located in memory.
    If you damage the table by withdrawing the device too rapidly or without permission, the data becomes useless. The second copy of the data file structure helps, but both can be corrupted or damaged.
    Sometimes there is not much one can do except send the device to a data recovery specialist.and pray.
    When you withdraw the device without clicking the removal button, the data is not fully sent, and the file allocation tables have not been writ, or had time to update.

    You can use a recovery software, such as or others you will find with a Gurgle search. But the risk is great.

    Using a recovery specialist can easily cost your friend $250 and may take a week to obtain the data.

    If the data is not quite that valuable, you can try resetting your USB drivers that are not working properly.

    This is risky, but usually works. Do not use it on valuable data. Hire somebody.

    Try going to your Device Manager (Start->Control Panel->System->Hardware->Device Manager) or you can right click "My Computer" then on the left side of this new screen, select "Device Manager" under "Computer Management".

    You should see "Universal Serial Bus Controllers" down low. Right click on your USB flash drive which has the problem, and select "Uninstall".

    Next choose <Ok> to remove the USB flash device.

    Click on the <white space> in the same window and select the icon at the top of the screen <Scan for hardware changes>. The resulting scan maybe will reinstall or reload your defective drivers and data.

    Sometimes you can remove all of the USB storage drivers with this method so that all drivers are reset.

    Let us know what happened.
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