A while back I lost a flash drive during a road trip. Amazingly, someone found it, contacted me, and offered to return it--even going so far as to cover the cost of postage. (Who says there are no good Samaritans?)
The embarrassing part is that she obtained my e-mail address by digging through various documents on the drive. Nothing mission-critical, mind you, but I wished she'd had an easier (and less-intrusive) means of finding me--like, say, a simple, easy-to-spot text file with my contact info.
Taking a cue from smart cell-phone owners who add an "@IF FOUND" entry to their address books, I created an "@IF FOUND" text file that sits in my flash drive's root directory. In theory, it'll be the one of the first things someone sees upon accessing the drive.
Here's what it says inside the file: "You found my flash drive! Thanks a million for being honest and returning it to me. Please call me at [phone number] or e-mail me at [e-mail address]. There's a reward waiting!"
Offering a reward is optional, of course, but I think a $5 Starbucks card (or equivalent) would be the perfect gesture for something like this.
Certainly there's no guarantee this will help you recover a lost drive--but I think it'll improve your odds considerably. At the same time, consider slapping on a "found me" sticker like the ones offered by SendMeHome.
This story, "Flash Drive 101: Recovering Lost Drives" was originally published by PCWorld.