Recovering trapped data from a broken flash drive | Computer Repair of Des Moines

How we saved this customers trapped data

We’re pretty sure that snapping the front off of the flash drive that holds ALL of your important data is the start to a pretty bad day. How are you going to access that customer list you need for work? What about those pictures of your kids that you haven’t printed yet?

As flash drives get bigger and cheaper, the temptation to use it as a container for all of your files is pretty hard to get away from. They are small and easily carried, yet they store tons and tons of your stuff. They let you work between multiple computers. But you should never rely on a single method or place to store your data, especially if you consider that data valuable or important. Next post we will be talking about the importance of backing up your files, and how to do it in a way that protects it no matter what.

So how is this data getting back to the customer without a proper backup? Well, we thought outside the box on this one! No connector on the front of that flash drive? We’ll just add one! But wait… it’s not quite that easy.

In order to get the right connector we cut the cord off of a broken USB keyboard. This left us with 4 wires hanging out of that cut off cable. In order to get the two pieces together we had to solder those 4 wires in the right places. Soldering is basically just gluing two wires or pieces together with some really hot metal. The problem is, everything on a flash drive is tiny.

So how do you solder something that you can’t really see? With a microscope! Not a microscope you’d see in a laboratory, but a very useful tool for repairing and inspecting all kinds of computer equipment.

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So with a very careful touch we were able to get those wires connected in a way we thought would work. The only thing left to do was to test it.

It worked!

Obviously the customer was really happy that they got their data back in one piece. We were pretty happy as well, to provide a solution to a customers problem, and learn something new in the process. We take pride in the fact that we are always learning new things and new solutions.

So what is the moral of this story? Don’t  keep all of your data in one place. Keep copies in at least two places. Invest in a backup drive or even backup software. Use a cloud storage service. And when it comes to the point where you need data recovered that you just have to have, take it to not only an expert, someone with the right equipment, but someone who is willing to fight for it!


PS: Keep an eye out for our next series of posts about backing up your data effectively!


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