How do I recover data from a dead USB stick?

Hello, I have an HP 4GB USB stick (drive) that apparently died on me. Windows cannot access the files on the USB drive. When I insert the stick into a USB port, Windows finds the stick and says it is ready for use. However, when I go to MY COMPUTER and click on the drive to access the files, I can see the stick identified there as Drive "E." When I right click on it a screen pops up stating that the USB drive is unformatted and do I want to format it? If I select "yes," another screen pops up asking me to insert a drive into "E." WINDOWS then aborts the process. I tried to use Restore in the backup menu, that too fails. I also downloaded several FREE data restoration programs and tried to restore the data that way. All failed. One did however, indicate that I have failed sectors on the USB. I have over 2 years of valuable files on this USB drive - any ideas on how to retrieve the files? I am at my wits end on this one. I hope that there is a way to do this.
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  1. how important is it?

    I would next try a professional service. Don't be surprised if they quote you several hundred dollars.
    Type in USB Data recovery into google and a bunch of companies pop up.

    Hope lesson is learned to do backup,
    especially on trusting all your data to a consumer level usb stick.
  2. I recovered data off a hard drive that wasn't being recognized using software from EASEUS. Several other tools failed. The hard drive was dying.

    Maybe one of these can help:
  3. I would highly recommend testdisk Its a bit ugly, but its free and great for repairing all types of disk's

    As a side note, if you are ok using Linux you can download the Gparted live CD and run testdisk from there. It works a little better, and recovers failed boot disks :)

    test disk :
    Gparted :
  4. Well you really need a good data recovery tool to get back those precious files. Have a look at this page:
    http://freeware-recovery.blogspot. [...] overy.html
    The information in this blog is quite useful and you will get a free data recovery software in the page as well. It is a professtional software for recovering lost data. Just follow the step written in the blog and be patient because the data you need to retrieve are so many.
    Here is an advice: don't save important data in USB stick any more for it is easy to corrupt. Always make copy for important files.
  5. I just revived my sandisk USB, and this video fix it, hope this helps you.
  6. Power data recovery is good & never lets u down
  7. When the usb drive shows not formatted message, most of the time the files are still on the usb drive. So dont worry, your data should be safe. However, you should not format the usb drive, this is because that format will erase the data. You should follow some step by step guide, here's a good one:

    You may also consider scan the usb drive with an anti-virus software as most of the time, virus may causes usb drive to be inaccessible. Microsoft security essential and free avg is recommended, download from

    If you have to format it, you may right click and then choose "quick format". Quick format is high level format, it only mark the space as free, not going to erase the actual data. After format, run data recovery software like asoftech to scan the usb stick and recover your files. Do not write files to usb stick before you restore all your files.
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