How to recover Data from your Damaged Thumb Drive or ZIP Archive

On Monday July 15th 2013 at 4am, the day of the Ban on Smoking in Public Places in Jamaica, the unthinkable happened. My Thumb drive, on which I’ve archived all my Geezam Blog articles and those for my blog My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica, crashed.

Suffice to say I literally blew my top and panicked a bit as it seemed the unthinkable, Murphy’s Law Style, had happened. My 4GB Kingston Thumb was not only inaccessible but was requesting that I format the 4GB Kingston Thumb Drive labeled “STARFIRE” (I’m a big Teen Titans Fan). What the…..

So, eh. It seems the Computer Gods have decided to “Tes me spirit” eh, Bruce Lee Style. The Computer Gods have taken away that which belongs to me and see how long I’d last before I curse God to his face, like Job in the Bible. Like Job, however, I kinda lost my cool. Kiiiiyah!

But I quickly regained my chillax and some of my six senses (more on that later!) by about 5am when I realized that I’d done an article on this VERY same scenario. Little did I realize that this was just only the beginning of troubles….

Bit of a background here: my PC’s running Windows 7 Ultimate SP1, so problems like this should be a cinch to fix. Quickly I started the recovery process based on that article: How to recover a files made invisible by malware using Fedora and Command. That failed straight off the bat as the drive was completely inaccessible and wasn’t mounting. Even CHKDSK failed to work.


It’s now 5:20am. Realizing that I need to get cracking on an article, I decided to turn to my backups. Fortunately for me I make backups every time I do an article using software called 7-Zip 9.20 that’s Open Source and offers higher levels of compression than Winzip or even WinRar. Little did know that the “crosses” just began; the Zip Archive of my Backup failed to open stating it was corrupted. What the…

Calm. It’s 5:45am. After failing to unlock the Zip Archive that held my precious backup, I decided to go to a 2 pronged approach: try to recover the data from the 4GB Kingston Thumb Drive as well as recover the Zip Archive using Freeware software online.

To streamline the recovery process for my precious STARFIRE 4GB Kingston Thumb Drive, I began using the following software, purloined from Torrenting site KickassTorrents as well as from my favourite Freeware site, Softpedia:

To recover the Zip Drive, I was even luckier to find one great freeware software, DiskInternals ZIP Repair 1.0, which finally did the Trick and saved the day! Here’s the list I had to wade through though to get relief:

It’s now 6:15am. After recovering all my Data from the repaired Zip Archive and discovering that the 4GB Kingston Thumb Drive had reached the end of its life, I just chucked it away and transferred STARFIRE to my new 8GB Lexar Thumb Drive. Thumb Drives, I reckon, have a lifespan for a number or read/write cycles, typically 1000. I’ve had this 4GB Kingston Thumb Drive since 2010 so it’s been a great 3 years of service.

I also did a quick backup of STARFIRE using 7-Zip 9.20

Still simple precautions to take when keeping precious Data on these things:

  1. Don’t do work on the Thumb Drive; copy your files to the computer, do work on the files and then transfer them back

  2. Don’t use Thumb Drives as a form of Backup. Get an External Harddrive instead for that purpose

  3. Backup you Thumb Drive regularly. Place one Zipped Archive backup in the Cloud such as Google Drive, now serving a whopping 15GB free as noted in Google Drive, the Dropbox clone, now ups the ante to 15GB of Free Storage during Google I/O and on an External HardDrive

  4. Test your Zipped Archives regularly to make sure they are coherent i.e. can be unzipped without error

  5. Keep copies of Recovery Software on hand in case the unthinkable happens i.e. Murphy’s Law

Guess I showed them Computer Gods a thing or two as this blogger’s got 9 lives like a Cat. If every Murphy decides to strike as above, just take a gander at my article and be like Job…..and Recover it!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.