When a USB memory stick becomes unresponsive and a simple soldering iron repair doesn’t produce positive results then we have another recovery option called a nand read.
This method of recovery is very complex and involves several stages each very dependent on its proceeding stage.
Stage 1 is the removal of the nand chips. The number and style of nand chips varies with manufacturer, the chips must be unsoldered paying attention not to damage the delicate pins and then cleaned in an ultrasonic bath to remove flux residues.
Stage 2 is making dumps of the chip content. The data must be read from each nand chip, to be entered into software. This involves setting correct parameters for dump number, page sizes and any timings unique to the nand chip. This may have to be repeated if too many errors are detected at the end of the reading process and the settings tweaked.
Stage 3 involves reassembly of dumps. Once all the dumps are made they can be entered into software to start the long process of recreating what the microcontroller did when in charge on the USB device. Getting the data to line up within the dumps is a complex task involving a Xor pattern with many parameters to change that unfortunately isn’t automated. Once this process has been completed successfully the integrity of the data is checked and if good copied off... Stage 3 may have to be repeated several times to get good data.
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I was delighted with the service from the R3 team. My daughter, a teacher, had two years of lessons on a USB stick. She had tried another company after being told the charge would be either around £100 or around £200. But when they received the stick, they said they needed to buy a widget to sort out the problem, and that the cost would be around £385. So I asked them to send me the stick back.
Then I went to the team at R3 Data Recovery. They gave me an order number over the phone and I then wrote a letter, enclosed it with the stick, and sent it off to Sheffield on a Friday. R3 told me it would be either £79 plus VAT or £149 plus VAT. They notified me on Monday that it had arrived, and on Tuesday morning that they sent me a list of files they could recover. The charge was £79 plus VAT. I paid by bank transfer, and later that day they uploaded all the files into a Dropbox folder. So a hearty recommendation from me.
What impressed me particularly, their success apart, is that if R3 had said it was £149 plus VAT I would have paid without questioning them. But they didn’t. Excellent service.
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