Flash media devices can resist impact damage much better than most digital storage devices, but they can take on physical damage when mishandled in extreme cases. Flash media is also susceptible to logical damage such as data corruption and accidental formatting.
Some flash devices can suffer from memory wear, which occurs when users write excessive amounts of data over long periods of time. Eventually, the flash chip loses its ability to store data, and files may appear corrupt or unreadable. This failure scenario is particularly common with older memory cards.
If your flash drive is physically damaged, your computer may have trouble recognizing it. Your computer may also regularly freeze or lock up when a flash drive is attached. Many failure scenarios have similar symptoms, and diagnosing the exact cause of data loss can be difficult. To keep your files safe, disconnect your flash media as soon as you notice signs of data loss. Do not attempt to read or repair your media under any circumstances.