Format USB Flash Drive without Losing Data

Roxanne updated on Jul 03, 2019 to Format Recovery | How-to Articles


When USB flash drive becomes corrupted, inaccessible and even RAW, you can format the device to make it usable again. Here, EaseUS software will guide you to format corrupted/damaged/RAW USB drive without losing data. If you lost all saved data on the USB drive by formatting, apply EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for instant help.

If I format a USB, will it erase data
Is it possible to format USB flash drive without losing data
How to format USB flash drive without erasing or losing data
Bonus tip to protect USB data from formatting

Like SD card, USB flash drive is widely used to store personal files including pictures, videos files, documents, etc. But sometimes, the USB drive can be get corrupted and become raw or inaccessible due to certain reason. In some special cases, you have to format your USB to repair corrupted or RAW USB, SD or external hard drive and fix some issue. 

If I format a USB, will it erase data

Have you ever asked yourself this question: if I format a USB, will it erase the save data? The formatting operation is a process of preparing a storage device like USB available for initial use, creating new file systems. Normally, formatting has three stages:

Stage 1.  Low-level formatting: performing basic medium preparation - reset the device to the factory settings.

Stage 2. Partitioning: making storage devices visible to an operating system by dividing a disk into regions and writing data structures. 

Stage 3. High-level formatting: generating a new file system for a storage device, making it recognizable and reusable again.

Based on the above information, we can figure out that both Low-level formatting and Partitioning process will erase all data. And High-level formatting also removes the saved data on a hard drive, USB or memory card. Then, finding a safe way to protect data before or after fixing a damaged USB flash drive by formatting become quite important.

Is it possible to format USB flash drive without losing data

When you encounter USB not formatted error, USB not accessible nor readable and some other problems, the best way to fix the issue is to format the USB flash drive. But most people can not do it, as formatting will cause all files lost on the device.

So, is it possible to format a USB flash drive without losing data? Of course. 

If you have created a backup of USB files, you can directly format the device. You won't lose anything. If you didn't have a backup, read on to get the solution about how to format USB drive without losing data. 

Here, we recommended you to perform fast data recovery on USB before formatting it if you want to keep all your files. EaseUS file recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard is capable of resolving all data loss cases, for example, to recover files from flash drive not recognized, recover data from a raw drive, etc.

Download and install this software on your Windows or Mac computer, and follow guidelines in the next part to learn how to do the format without losing data.  

How to format USB flash drive without erasing or losing data

To format USB flash drive without erasing or losing data, you'll have to go through the below two stages with the USB drive which you want to format. Here we'll take how to format USB on Windows PC without losing data as an example.  

# 1. Recover data from inaccessible or RAW USB flash drive before formatting 

Apply EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and follow through the below steps, it will fully restore files from your USB flash drive.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. See if the USB drive appears in the drive list. Select the USB and click "Scan".

select the usb drive and click scan

Step 2. During the scan process, more and more data will appear in the scan results. When the scan is over, you can click "Filter" to quickly filter a specific type of file.

select wanted files

Step 3. Preview the files by double-clicking them one by one. Select the wanted files and click "Recover".

recover files from the formatted usb

Note: While restoring the file, navigate a secure new location on your PC or another external storage device to save the restored data. 

And then you can try the Windows disk management tool to format USB flash drive without worrying about data loss problem. Now, just try it by yourself! 

Do You Need Specialized Data Recovery Services?
You may need further help for tough data loss situations like format errors, RAW disk, partition loss, repartition failures and system boot error. Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts to retrieve lost data in time.

# 2. Format USB flash drive without erasing or losing data

If you need to perform a low-level format, it can only be done by professional Low-level formatting tools. Since low-level formatting will not only destroy all existing data but also will cause damage to the storage device itself. We don't recommend you to do so.

A safer way of formatting is to use high-level formatting on the USB drive. You can use Windows Explorer on your PC and follow the steps below to right-click format your USB flash drive with ease:

Step 1. Connect USB to PC and click to open "This PC/My Computer".

Step 2. Find and right-click on the USB flash drive, select "Format".

Step 3. Reset the file system to NTFS or FAT32, click "Start" and click "OK" to confirm.

Format USB with file explorer.

After this, you can transfer restore data back to the USB drive and reuse USB flash drive to save and store data again. 

Bonus tip to protect USB data from formatting

Knowing useful ticks of protecting USB flash drive, SD card, and external/internal hard drive data from being formatted is also necessary. Here we've listed some useful tips to help you protect data on the USB or other storage devices.

# 1. Create a backup of useful USB data

It's always necessary to create a backup of important files on USB or hard drive, etc. storage devices. You can choose to copy files one by one from USB to another storage device or apply professional file backup software like EaseUS Todo Backup to back up all files in USB at once:

You'd better create the backup file on an external disk or on the cloud in case the local backup gets corrupted or destroyed.

Step 1: Launch EaseUS Todo Backup software and then choose "File Backup", "Disk/partition Backup" or "System Backup" for different backup purpose.

Step 2: Choose the system, disk partition, files that you want to back up. Then select a destination where you want to store the backup file.

Step 3: Click "Proceed" to start the data backup process.

back up data with easeus todo backup

# 2. Check and fix USB errors regularly

By checking and repairing existing file system errors in USB will effectively prevent USB inaccessible or RAW issues. You can either check and fix USB errors by using CMD or use Error Checking in Properties as listed here:

Step 1. Connect the USB to your PC and open File Explorer.

Step 2. Right-click the USB or storage device that you want to scan, click on Properties.

Step 3. Go to the Tools tab and click on the Check button under the top Error checking section.

check disk errors in USB in Propertities

Step 4. Scan drive and Repair drive if errors were found.

When the scanning finishes, click on the Show Details link to see the Chkdsk log in Event Viewer. You'll see the detailed errors USB that have been fixed. 


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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