If you have formatted your flash device since it last had
the file(s) you are looking for, it's time to bring out the slightly bigger
guns. If you've read PCSTATS critical Beginners Guide on hard
disk data recovery, you'll know that CGSecurity's TestDisk program is one of the best freely available
data recovery programs out there. It's not that easy to
use, but it gets great results.
Unfortunately, TestDisk does not work too well on flash memory devices, but
the good news is that more recent versions of the program come with a second
piece of recovery software called PhotoRec. PhotoRec is especially
designed to recover pictures and other file formats from flash memory devices.
Using CGSecurity PhotoREC
Download the latest version of TestDisk from the CGSecurity site. For the purposes of this article we used version 5.9, but the latest version available is 6.11. Extract the archive to a
directory on your hard drive. Open the directory in
explorer and go to the 'win' subdirectory.
Ensure that your flash memory device is inserted and detected, then double
click on the PhotoREC icon to run the program.
Ahh! No GUI... don't be intimidated. PhotoREC is considerably easier to
use than its sibling program TestDisk, as there are far fewer options.
The main screen displays a list of the physical drives attached to the
system, including your flash memory device. The easiest way to tell which
is which is by looking at the size of each drive, which is listed in
Megabytes. The program will list installed hard drives first though.