Initial Thumb Drive Information

PNY LogoPNY 16Gb Monolithic Thumb Drive
Customer describes that drive was working fine one day.  The next day when he plugged it in, the computer prompted to format it (which he didn’t).  Brought to Best Buy and was told they couldn’t recover from it.

Data Recovery Diagnostic

Drive ID’s, shows correct size, and reads sectors.  (Looks promising at first glance)

Customer quoted $175 labor cost.  (approved)

Data Recovery Update 6/10/2014

Step 1: Image file of drive is created (all sectors read without a single read error)

Step 2: Analyze filesystem (unrecognizable – contains some scattered FAT entries in various sectors, however none are valid)

Step 3: Run raw recovery scan (only partial files found – data appears to be completely incoherent.  Possible controller failure or malfunction ???)

Result: After consulting with a company in Poland specializing in monolithic flash drive recovery, it is determined that a controller failure within the monolithic chip has caused the data to become scrambled (likely a result of an XOR glitch).  Though it may be theoretically possible to piece the data blocks back together, no current software solutions are available to automate or assist with the process meaning it would have to be done 100% manually.  After discussing the situation with the customer, recovery efforts were aborted.  Due to the low financial value of the data and lack of known methods to recover from such a case it wasn’t practical to pursue it any further.

Customer recommended to hold on to the drive as future data recovery technology may make this type of recovery viable (or at least possible)

Total billed to customer: $0 (covered in free evaluation phase)

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