As a newcomer, I mistakenly posted the thread under the XP thread. So I am posting it here again.
The computer that I am using has just been upgraded to Vista. One day I plugged in an USB flash drive to transfer some data but I forgot to take it out and it was left there for a few days. When I realized there was still an USB flash drive in the computer, the safely remove icon on the task bar was gone already. So I just unplug it without thinking.
Later when I plug the flash drive back in, to my surprise, the computer asked me to format the flash drive. I quickly checked the property of the drive and there was nothing on it. I took it to an xp machine and it does the same thing, that is it wanted me to format the drive and indicate there is nothing on the drive.
So I lost a whole bunch of data that I have not backed up. It looks like any attempt to get into the drive involves formatting the drive which means cleaning the drive up and deleting all the contents, which is not what I want.
Unfortunately there isn't much you can do... unless you know how to break down the drive and reattach the data storage part to a new USB plug assembly—or you know someone who can—I don't what you can do to recover the data.