Fix/Repair Corrupted USB Drive Without Formatting

Abby Haines updated on Sep 16, 2019 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

Summary

On this page, you can learn how to fix or repair a damaged USB flash drive or pen drive without losing data. If your computer can recognize the corrupted USB, please refer to [Case 1]. If your USB cannot be detected, refer to [Case 2]. Test these USB flash drive repair solutions one by one and fix your USB flash drive, pen drive or hard drive without formatting. EaseUS data recovery software comes handy when you need to recover lost data after fixing the USB.

A USB flash drive, pen drive or hard drive is a portable storage drive that stores data in its memory space. It's convenient for people to carry their data anywhere, using it across multiple devices. Hence, the more frequently you use one USB drive on different devices, the more likely it arises problems, like USB corruption, which can lead to consequences beyond repair.

In fact, over 90% of computer users who report a USB drive issue is able to fix it aright, all by themselves. Following are some conventional symptoms of a repairable USB drive in Windows.

  • Connect a USB flash drive to Windows 10/8.1/8/7, it is not showing up in Explorer.
  • Windows detects the USB flash drive but it cannot open, reporting drive is not accessible.
  • Windows asks you to format the removable disk before you can use it when double-clicking on the drive.
  • Other unfamiliar errors like RAW, no media, etc.

In conclusion, when a USB removable disk or external hard drive that shows signs of corruption, we can divide it into two scenarios: Windows can or cannot recognize the connected USB drive, and the solutions vary.

PAGE CONTENT:
1. Windows Can Recognize the Corrupted USB Drive
2. Windows Cannot Recognize the Corrupted USB Drive

Case 1The USB Device Can Be Recognized

If your USB can still be detected or recognized by your computer, you can try to fix the logical error by using the native Windows tool, CMD or third-party fixing tool. Then you will be able to access your USB.

Method 1. Windows Utility - Check and Fix the Error on the Damaged USB

If your flash drive is not actually PHYSICALLY broken, your computer can recognize it, and your computer assigns it a drive letter, follow the methods below to check and fix the logical error. Theoretically speaking, the provided methods won't cause data loss.

Step 1: Connect the USB to your PC

Step 2: Go to My Computer>The USB Drive.

Step 3: Right-click the USB drive and open its Properties.

Step 4: Click on the Tools tab.

Step 5: Click the "Check" button.

check and fix the usb error

Step 6: Let the scan process complete, then close the scan window. 

Step 7: Right-click the icon of the USB flash drive on the desktop and click "Eject". Then remove the drive from the USB port.

Method 2. CHKDSK CMD - Fix Corrupted File System Error on USB

This is essentially the same process as above, but it will provide you with more feedback in the end that will help you determine whether the problem has been fixed or not.

Step 1: Plug in your USB flash drive or pen drive to your computer.

Step 2: Go to the start menu, type in "cmd" in the search bar, hit enter and then you can see something named "cmd. exe" in a list of programs. 

Step 3: Right-click "cmd. exe", run as administrator, and type "chkdsk /X /f G:" or "chkdsk G: /f" (replace G: with the drive letter corresponding to your USB drive). The chkdsk operation will then start to repair the damaged USB drive.

repair the damaged usb with cmd

This operation will make Windows check and fix the file system on the flash drive. If the repair process works properly, it will show you, "Windows has made corrections to the file system" in the command window. This suggests that the corrupted USB pen drive has been successfully fixed and can be accessed again.

Method 3. Third-party Fixing Tool - Repair Corrupted File System Error on USB

If you don't have any technical know-how and want to minimize data risks, using third-party software could be a better choice. The Command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause severe problems. Therefore, we strongly recommend you to try an automatic command line alternative.

EaseUS Tool M is a practical computer fixing tool that is safe and light-weighted. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to solve your computer issues.

To fix file system error or disk error:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tool M for Free and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select "File Fixing" on the left pane. 

On the right pane, choose the drive and check off the box at the bottom - "Check and fix file system error". Then, click "Fix" to start repairing the error.

Step 3: Wait until the operation completes. Wait until the operation completes. After the operation completes, click the "View" button to check the drive. 

select the drive and check off file system error

Supplementary: How to Recover Data from Inaccessible or Unreadable USB Drive

After you have checked and fixed the logical error on the pen drive, you can scan your device to see if any data was lost in the process. EaseUS file recovery software can search for any lost files on the device and, if there are any, recover them. 

Recommendation
Recover deleted, formatted, and inaccessible data in different data loss situations.
Recover photos, audio, music, and emails from any storage effectively, safely and completely.
Recover data from the recycle bin, hard drive, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorder.

The program is capable to conduct USB data recovery for all data loss cases. Before purchasing the full version, you can download the free version first to scan the device and check what files it can recover. If you don't think you can get a satisfactory result, just don't pay for it! You have nothing to lose. So, you can try it without hesitation whenever you are faced with data loss after repairing a corrupted USB pen drive.

Step 1. Connect USB to your PC and run USB data recovery software.

  • Connect the USB flash drive on which your files to your computer and launch EaseUS USB data recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard on your PC.
  • Select your USB drive under External Devices and click Scan to start finding your lost files.
Select USB to scan and find lost files.

Step 2. Scan to find all lost files from USB.

  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive and find all your lost data on it.
Scan USB drive to find lost files.

Step 3. Restore all lost files from USB.

  • After the scanning process, you can check and preview found USB files in this program.
  • "Deleted Files" is for you to find deleted files. And "Lost Partition Files" is quick access to find formatted data.
  • Double-click the files to preview and choose available ones, click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices
Restore lost USB data.

Case 2Windows Cannot Recognize the Corrutped USB Drive

If your USB drive is physically damaged and cannot be detected or recognized, follow the directions of reinstalling USB driver or fix a broken USB drive on your own.

Method 1. Reinstall driver

Most unrecognized USB issue results from a corrupted driver. You need to reinstall a new driver by following the steps.

Step 1: Press Win + X keys and click Device Manager.

Step 2: Expand Disk Drives, right-click on the name of your removable disk, and click Uninstall.

reinstall usb driver to fix corrupted usb drive

Step 3: Click OK. Disconnect the SD card from your computer.

Step 4: Restart your computer. After a while, connect the SD card to your computer again. Windows will install the latest driver automatically and make the SD card detectable.

Method 2. Manually Repair the USB Drive

Here is some information you need to get to know before taking this measure to fix a broken USB flash drive on your own.

  • Physically repairing a flash drive is unlikely to work unless you have professional experience in repairing physically damaged flash drives.
  • If the flash drive's internal storage is damaged, your only viable option is to take the drive to manual repair service.
  • The prices for data recovery can vary from $20 - $850 based on the severity of damage done to the drive, and the type of recovery required. 

If you decide to have a try on your own, you can follow the details below.

Preparations:

  • Soldering iron with solder and flux
  • An old USB cable
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • A small flathead screwdriver
  • A magnifying glass or jeweler's loop

Now, follow the details to repair the flash drive.

Step 1: Remove the flash drive's casing. Do so with your flathead screwdriver.

Step 2: Use the magnifying glass to inspect the circuit board (PCB) and solder pads. If the PCB (the green circuit board) itself is damaged or the solder pads are lifted, you will probably need the help of a professional.
Solder pads are the 4 bits of solder that connect the prongs of the USB connector to the copper lines in the circuit board. If the connector has broken away without causing damage to the PCB or solder pads, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Set the flash drive on a hard surface. Do so with the connector end facing toward you and the solder pads facing up.

manually repair the USB

Step 4: Use wire cutters to cut one end off of the USB cable. Make sure you cut the USB end if the flash drive cable is an adapter.

Step 5: Strip away a section of the USB cable's wire. Try to expose about 0.25 inch (0.6 cm) of each of the four wires inside the cable that's attached to the USB cable.

Step 6: Solder each of the four wires to the four solder pads. Take your time while doing this, since failing to adequately secure the connection will most likely render your flash drive inoperable.

Step 7: Plug the other end of the USB cable into a computer. It should fit into one of the rectangular slots on your computer's housing.

Step 8: Then you are able to open your USB drive. If your flash drive is recognizable by the computer, open it and move your files to a safe place as soon as possible. If the files are missing you can move to Step 2.

 
 

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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.

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