How to recover files from an USB flash drive on a Mac?

  • Posted: 06 May 2012 02:12 PM

    I have a flash drive that was used primarily on a Mac, and it was ejected improperly.

    Now when I put it back in, the computer does not even register the flash drive - it does not show up in Finder.. I am really in really in deep trouble and would need some urgent help, please recommend a software that at least can recover my files. I’m assuming most of you think this is a duplicate of some old questions here, but data recovery isn?t cheap, and i don’t know what should i do to recover deleted files, seek professional data recovery service or software.
    Thanks in advance for any help!

    [ Edited: 25 April 2013 10:59 PM by Intruder ]      
  • Posted: 06 May 2012 09:59 PM #1

    I believe you are going to need drive recovery software at this point, presuming you have a drive that isn’t physically damaged but rather simply has corruption serious enough that OSX isn’t seeing it as a mountable volume. 

    To check that, take a look and see if Disk Utility sees the device.  While it may not mount, the device should still show up in there, as OSX simply sees it as an unformatted drive.

    I believe ProSoft sells a product to recover corrupted data on a drive attached to a Mac.  As I recall it runs $99 and how well it’s going to do depends on just how much got damaged on the drive.  They do have a demo that will allow you to recover one small file and show what it does find.

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    Posted: 07 May 2012 04:27 AM #2

    When you say not recognised, do you mean you get an error message popping up telling you there is a problem, or there is 0 activity whenever you plug this in?
    Because with a bad file system, you have a chance, but with a dead key, you have no chance, unless you take it to a specialist. If the flash drive is still recognized on the hardware level, you can use Disk Drill. It’s not inexpensive though so I suggest to try their free version first.

    Next time make backups and don’t trust a USB drive.

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    Posted: 09 May 2012 10:28 AM #3

    Indeed, Disk Utility is the best place to check because, as Santi Mascaro points out, if it shows up there at least the system still sees it as a *disk*. But if it doesn’t show up there, check System Profiler (Apple Menu > About This Mac > More Info > System Report > USB) to see if it appears here. That will tell you if your USB bus even sees it, too.


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    Posted: 09 May 2012 03:31 PM #4

    Had a flash drive that would freeze my system. It was formatted FAT32 and my Mac had a hard time with some directory construction errors. I took same drive and tried it on a newer version of OS X that apparently was more robust. It mounted the drive and I was able to recover everything from it. I was fortunate.

    Otherwise, open your Console log and insert the bad drive to see if you can determine exactly what is happening when the system tries to mount it. You can then Google the error message from Console and you may get an answer there.

    SanDisk makes file recovery software (RescuePro) that generally gets good reviews and ships with some of their devices. (Mine came on mini-CD with a micro SD card.) It’s a .bin file so you’ll need Stuffit Expander (free) or equivalent to mount and install.

    You’ll be wanting a new flash drive anyway, correct?

    I can empathize. Best of luck sorting it out.


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  • Posted: 09 May 2012 06:11 PM #5

    Try Disk Warrior.  I had a drive two days ago that was not recognized by Disk Utility.  Disk Warrior rebuilt the directory and now it is good as new.

    Good luck!

  • Posted: 11 May 2012 03:09 AM #6

    You can do the following

    1) Check the drivers of your flash drive. If the drivers are gone corrupt then you need to re-install them.

    2) Try to connect your flash drive on another system to check whether it is detected or not.

    3) If nothing working I would suggest you to download the demo version of Stellar Phoenix Mac data recovery software. Install it on your Mac and plug in your flash drive. The Mac data recovery tool automatically detects any external device and display it in the interface. If your flash drive has not recovered any serious physical damage and shows up in the interface of the tool, then you can proceed with the data recovery. However you are running a demo version so it will preview only the recoverable files. To do actual recovery you have to purchase it at the cost of $99.

    Please let me know if any of three works in your case.

  • Posted: 27 January 2013 02:54 AM #7

    I recovered my lost data with the help of third party tool, given here:

  • Posted: 25 April 2013 01:13 AM #8

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