Tag Archives: USB Flash Drive

Recovering Data From a Broken USB Flash Drive

Last year I was able to extract all the data from a friend’s 16GB USB flash drive that was broken in half when the laptop it was still plugged into was put in a knapsack. It was broken almost cleanly through, so I broke it all the way to expose the guts, cut open a USB cable and soldered wires to the power connector PC board traces. The exposed parts of the traces for the data connectors, however, were torn off and what remained was too small to solder to. So I stuck two sewing pins through a piece of 1/4″ lauan, lined up the pins with the data traces, wiggled them through the insulating coating and after a few tries had a slow but steady transfer of the nearly 16GB of critical, non-backed up data. On my first try, I was holding the board and the pins (needed enough weight to make contact), but my hand cramped up before it could finish. After that, I steadied the board with two finishing nails and weighted it down. All I had to do then was tip toe and keep the cats away from it. Kinda surprised it worked.

Hotwiring a USB Drive