Portable data storage devices, especially thumb drives and memory sticks present different challenges for data recovery experts. Custom variants, propietary formats and cheap components mean that no two data recoveries are ever the same.

To recover data from a failed USB thumb drive we have two options – to either repair with donor parts, or interrogate the NAND memory directly using a chip reader. Which option is best for the user depends on the media and the failure. Some recoveries are easy to perform without any expert assistance and there are many helpful software options available online. However this assumes that the root of the drive itself is accessible.

Physical damage and PCB failure will require a rebuild with donor parts. Breaks and cracks to the circuit boards must be bypassed with microscopic soldering tools. Snapped interfaces must be replaced and prorietary memory chips must be soldered onto an idenitical donor PCB.

Where a donor cannot be sourced or the damage is extensive, we may elect to interrogate the NAND memory directly using JTAG or chip off technology. The NAND chips are carefully removed under a microscope and inserted into a chip reader, bypassing the controller to access the low level code. Data parameters are then calculated and we can begin the data recovery process.