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Beginners Guides: Flash Memory Data Recovery and Protection

Beginners Guides: Flash Memory Data Recovery and Protection - PCSTATS
Abstract: One of the major benefits of flash memory is that they are compatible with many of the data recovery programs designed to retrieve accidentally deleted files from computer hard disks.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Apr 06 2011   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Attempting recovery of data from a corrupted drive

Your success here will vary depending on what exactly is wrong with the flash memory device in question. If the file system has been scrambled due to a digital camera or other device performing an unexpected action or not reading the card correctly, PhotoRec may well be able to recover your data using the steps listed above.

On the other hand, if your device is failing due to physical damage or wear and tear, data recovery depends entirely on what part of the flash memory is damaged. One positive is that, unlike hard drives, flash devices have no moving parts and thus do not generally fall victim to the 'snowball' damage effect, where data recovery efforts on a faulty drive inflict more damage on it even as they rescue some of the data.

SGSecurity's PhotoREC is an excellent place to start any data recovery effort, but if that fails, there are a few other programs you can try. PC Inspector's Smart Recover program is a free flash data recovery utility with an attractive interface. We would have used it for this Beginners Guide, except it's a bit less flexible than PhotoRec in terms of what it will recover.

Using encryption to protect your data

As we've said, one of the most common causes of lost data with portable flash memory devices is losing the device itself. The smaller portable drives get, the easier they are to misplace. While losing data and hardware is a pain, the thought of that data falling into the hands of the wrong people can be an absolute heartache for business users.

What's needed then, is a method to make sure that even if you lose your flash device (and someday you will), the data on it will be useless to its eventual owner. File encryption is the answer.

There are several freeware and open source file encryption programs available, but our favourite is the open source AxCrypt program by Axantum.

This program adds itself to your right-click context menu, allowing you to encrypt files with a couple of clicks. A password is used for encrypting and decrypting files, and a self-extracting archive can be used, freeing the file's recipient from the need to install AxCrypt themselves.

If you are worried about the damage your data could do in the wrong hands, AxCrypt is a quick and easy remedy. Simply copy files to your flash device as normal, then highlight them all, right click and encrypt them with your password of choice.

If you have any comments or questions, please post them in the PCSTATS Forums. Find out about this and many other reviews by joining the Weekly PCstats.com Newsletter today! Catch all of PCSTATS latest hardware reviews right here.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Flash Memory Data Recovery and Protection
 Pg 2.  The Perils of Portable Memory
 Pg 3.  Flash Data Loss... or Theft
 Pg 4.  Recovering Erased Data From a Flash Memory Device
 Pg 5.  Recovering data from a Formatted Device
 Pg 6.  Using CGSecurity PhotoREC
 Pg 7.  — Attempting recovery of data from a corrupted drive

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