Fix/Repair Corrupted USB Drive Without Formatting

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

Table of Contents

Overview of Corrupted USB Drive Repair

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 shows signs of corruption, we can divide it into two scenarios: Windows can or cannot recognize the connected USB drive, and the solutions vary.

Case 1. The 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 try an automatic command line alternative.

EaseUS Tools 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 Tools M for Free and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select the "File showing" option. 

Step 3: Choose the drive and wait for repairing. 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. Run USB data recovery software.

Connect the USB flash drive to your computer and launch EaseUS USB data recovery software on your PC. Select your USB drive which marks as a removable disk, and click "Scan" to start finding your lost files.

Select USB to scan and find lost files

Step 2. Scan all lost files from USB.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive and find all your lost data on it. After the scanning process,  use the Filter feature to filter a specific file type. You can check and preview found USB files in this program.

Scan USB drive to find lost files

Step 3. Restore all lost files from USB.

A double-click will allow you to preview the file results. Choose the target files and click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

Restore lost USB data

Case 2. Windows Cannot Recognize the Corrupted 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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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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