Here's all the info I've posted on other support forums before being recommended TestDisk:
* * * * *I'm having an issue with my USB thumb drive. I'm on my dad's computer; an old but serviceable thing running XP Home with SP3. The thumb drive is a Kingston DataTraveler 111, 16GB USB 3.0. It has worked perfectly on this computer and others for the past year (got it in January of 2013) and has not seen any abuse or accidents. It's been used quite a lot, but not excessively so (whatever that means) and certainly hasn't had to work any harder than could reasonably be expected of it, especially considering it's a quality brand.
The problem specifically: In the past two days or so, on two occasions, there's been the issue where you're "in" the drive file structure in Explorer and have been using the thumb drive for a bit, but suddenly the next double-click you do prompts you to insert a disk in DRIVE G: (the assigned letter on this computer). No huge thing: I just remove the thumb drive, reinsert it and am good to go again.
Just a short while ago, however, the problem took a turn for the worse. The same thing of Explorer (after me trying to open a file) suddenly saying there's no disk in drive G: and prompting me to insert one (you probably know the little window I'm talking about). Any text documents and what have you stay open however, and it's not until I try to save them that the problem shows itself.
This time, removing and reinserting the thumb drive didn't work as well, because what happened was that Windows after recognizing that something had been plugged into the USB port (which I suppose is "good" seeing as the last thumb drive that died on me didn't even elicit that much of a response from the system) didn't realize that it was the old familiar one, and instead started installing drivers for it, and they weren't even the drivers for DataTraveler111, but rather for "USB DISK 30X USB Device" which I've never heard of before. Anyway, once it was installed and done I tried to access it, but that had the same result as before the new driver install, which is that when I click "Removable drive (G:)" I get a prompt to insert a disk in drive G:. So basically the thumb drive shows up in Explorer as a drive but cannot be accessed because I'm prompted to insert a disk upon double-clicking it.
So, could this be a problem that TestDisk or PhotoRec might help with?1. I went into the Device Manager in XP (I'm assuming it ran with admin rights because there's only one account on this computer, and it's the admin one) to have a look. Expanded the USB-branch but found no yellow icons signifying a problematic entry. Same in Win 7.
2. Then I checked out Disk Management in Windows XP. I'll just attach a link to a screencap of the Disk Management window. It's in swedish, but I think you'll get the gist of it. Sorry for the rubbish quality.
In the topmost list, the thumb drive doesn't show up. It only shows the internal HDD (in three partitions: C through E) and the external one Seagate (H: ). But I think that's as it should be.
In the list below, the thumb drive is listed, as Disk 2 (G: ). Removable. It also says "No media" meaning (I think) that Windows treats it as a drive which is connected but into which it thinks a disk is required to be inserted. Like a DVD-reader, basically, I suppose. But on some level it must know it's a USB-device because it installed it as USB DISK 30X USB Device. It's all a bit peculiar.
3. I used a tool called USB Oblivion that erases all history of USB flash devices on the system. Having done that and restarted the system, the thumb drive was installed as USB DISK 30X USB Device once again. Same issue as before.
Thanks in advance for all and any help!