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Thread: USB drive appears unformatted.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    51

    USB drive appears unformatted.

    Hi-

    I have got this usb drive that has exhibited the following behavior a few times:

    Format drive (different fs types, sometimes 1 sometimes more partitions)
    use drive 3-5 times with no issues
    Drive appears unformatted and is useless.
    Can't run recovery software.

    Plugging in the device results in nothing but a stub:
    There's an entry in the dev folder, /dev/sdb
    and lsusb shows the device.

    That's it.
    Gparted doesn't detect the device at all.
    Disk Utility shows the device as an unformatted "memory bar"
    dd, ddrescue and the like say "no medium found"

    Now, I am stupid for having used the device more than twice. Twice of the same sort of error and no solution should have made me move on to a different device.

    Currently there are (were) couple of large files on the drive. I'd like to be able to try and recover them.

    But with no partitions showing up and only disk utility with it's basic "reformat it" tool available do I have any possibility of bringing those files back?

    Thanks,
    wigout

    INFO:
    I'm running 11.10 64bit, usb drive is 8gb vfat.

    dd if=/dev/sdb of=sdb.test
    dd: opening `/dev/sdb': No medium found


    ddrescue /dev/sdb test
    ddrescue: Can't open input file: No medium found


    sudo mount /dev/sdb mountpoint
    mount: no medium found on /dev/sdb


    lsusb
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
    Bus 001 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
    Bus 002 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
    Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0408:2fb1 Quanta Computer, Inc.
    Bus 002 Device 010: ID 090c:1000 Feiya Technology Corp. Flash Drive
    Bus 002 Device 004: ID 8086:0189 Intel Corp.


    dmesg
    [80217.424224] usb 2-1.2: new high speed USB device number 11 using ehci_hcd
    [80218.144915] scsi16 : usb-storage 2-1.2:1.0
    [80220.035727] scsi 16:0:0:0: Direct-Access USB MEMORY BAR 1000 PQ: 0 ANSI: 0 CCS
    [80220.035976] scsi: killing requests for dead queue
    [80220.036297] scsi: killing requests for dead queue
    [80220.043423] scsi: killing requests for dead queue
    [80220.049077] scsi: killing requests for dead queue
    [80220.055408] scsi: killing requests for dead queue
    [80220.055727] scsi: killing requests for dead queue
    [80220.059436] scsi: killing requests for dead queue
    [80220.059760] scsi: killing requests for dead queue
    [80220.063759] sd 16:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
    [80220.063769] sd 16:0:0:0: Embedded Enclosure Device
    [80220.065382] sd 16:0:0:0: Failed to get diagnostic page 0x8000002
    [80220.065395] sd 16:0:0:0: Failed to bind enclosure -19
    [80220.071077] sd 16:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk

    sudo gparted /dev/sdb
    ======================
    libparted : 2.3
    ======================
    Error opening /dev/sdb: No medium found


    hdparm /dev/sdb

    /dev/sdb:
    HDIO_DRIVE_CMD(identify) failed: Bad address
    readonly = 0 (off)
    readahead = 256 (on)
    geometry = 1024/0/62, sectors = 0, start = 0
    Last edited by wigout; January 8th, 2012 at 05:36 PM. Reason: added command outputs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    51

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is possible for recovery?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    12,425

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    Some folks have had good results using testdisk:

    http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

    If you have access to a Windows PC, you can also try using GetDataBack for FAT from Runtime Software. Their downloadable trial version doesn't do actual recovery -- but you can see how good a job it does at detecting directories and files.
    Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17; MS Win 8.1.
    Will not respond to PM requests for support -- use the forums.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    51

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    I have used testdisk successfully in the past- in this case though, just like ddrescue and gparted, testdisk simply doesn't "see" the drive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Wherever I go, Here I am
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    I have Windows XP in a VirtualBox and recovered and reformatted a thumb drive Linux couldn't 'see'
    Please mark your thread as Solved when appropriate || My WIKI
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    51

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    I can format the drive in "Disk Utility" but I don't want to- I want to save the files that are still on there using something like testdisk or ddrescue... but for whatever reason they refuse to work on the usb device.

    -wigout

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    12,425

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    Quote Originally Posted by wigout View Post
    I have used testdisk successfully in the past- in this case though, just like ddrescue and gparted, testdisk simply doesn't "see" the drive.
    Sorry to hear that. Then, if you still want to recover the files, read my second suggestion in my post. It's some work, but I've had the product recover files from unmountable partitions.
    Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17; MS Win 8.1.
    Will not respond to PM requests for support -- use the forums.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    London, UK
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    604
    Distro
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    Quote Originally Posted by wigout View Post
    I can format the drive in "Disk Utility" but I don't want to- I want to save the files that are still on there using something like testdisk or ddrescue... but for whatever reason they refuse to work on the usb device.

    -wigout
    I've had luck with recovering data from failed sd cards before using photorec(not just photos) so it can't hurt to try?

    photorec live
    Last edited by Double.J; January 10th, 2012 at 12:04 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Beans
    51

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    Thanks to everyone's suggestions so far.

    I guess I am puzzled as to why all recovery software fails to even detect the drive. It seems like I should be able to make a dd dump of the drive even if it had nothing on it- even if it was unformatted.

    I can't figure out how to force the issue- and that seems to be a real stumbling block for possible file recovery.

    This has become more academic at this point- I get that the files are effectively gone. But I remain perturbed that I can't use any rescue software on an apparently partitionless drive. It would seem that there would be a tool for this challenge in the ever functional linux arsenal.

    I won't be using this drive for anything in the future- except to try and figure out desperate recovery measures.

    I am still interested in alternative rescue suggestions, so please keep them coming if you have any.

    I will get around to trying windows, but I have had zero luck accomplishing any recovery in windows- I have put my faith in linux.

    -wigout

    PS: photorec is awesome and have used it before. Just like testdisk by the same author, however, it doesn't find the device/partition of the usb drive so no dice.
    Last edited by wigout; January 11th, 2012 at 04:07 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Beans
    12,425

    Re: USB drive appears unformatted.

    I join you in your disappointment ...

    Maybe there's something specific about USB sticks and memory cards that makes file recovery a lot harder. I've had ZERO successful results with any of these -- and I've used a variety of Windows and Linux tools.

    I recently had an SD card go bad (Windows would no longer assign a drive letter to it), so I tried using a specific Windows-based memory card recovery tool -- and it failed to even "see" the card because, apparently, Windows wouldn't assign it a drive letter.

    I also tried another recovery program, and although it "saw" the drive and files, and appeared to work, from a sampling of the files, they all appeared to be corrupted. Filenames and sizes were correct, but the contents were useless.

    I've gone through a half dozen USB sticks and cards now, and not been able to successfully recover files from any of them.
    Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17; MS Win 8.1.
    Will not respond to PM requests for support -- use the forums.

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