Fix/Repair Corrupted USB Drive Without Formatting

On this page, you will 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 the section in the following guide. And, if you end up losing data, there's a tool named EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to help you get your lost data back.

 Recover for Free Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Recover for Free Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Table of Contents

Overview of Corrupted USB Drive Repair

A USB flash drive, pen drive, or hard drive is basically a portable storage device. This device is convenient for people to carry their data anywhere they go and use it with various devices. Sometimes, this frequent use of the USB can cause issues, like lead the USB drive to go corrupt.

The good news is that over 90% USB users can usually fix these USB issues by themselves. If your USB has an issue, the issue has to be one of the following for it to be self-treatable:

  • Connect a USB flash drive to Windows 10/8.1/8/7 but the drive won't show up in File Explorer
  • Windows detects the USB flash drive but it won’t open saying the 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.

Basically, there are two scenarios when there's an issue with your USB drive: either Windows detects your USB drive or it doesn't detect it. The solutions differ for each issue type.

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 physically broken, your computer should recognize it and assign it a drive letter. In this case, follow the methods below to check and fix the logical errors on your USB. These methods shouldn't cause any data loss.

Step 1: Connect the USB to your PC

Step 2: Go to My Computer/This PC and then the USB Drive.

Step 3: Right-click the USB drive and select 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 this will provide you with more feedback in the end that will help you determine whether the problem has been fixed or not.

Warning
Running chkdsk can hopefully fix the file system errors, however, it can also result in total data loss. So, perform data recovery in advance, and then continue with the CMD method.

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

Step 2: Go to the Start menu and type cmd in the search box. You'll see Command Prompt in the search results.

Step 3: Right-click Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. Then, type chkdsk /X /f G: (replacing G with your USB's drive letter) in the Command Prompt window and hit Enter. The chkdsk operation will start to repair the damaged USB drive.

repair the damaged usb with cmd

This command makes Windows check and fix the file system on the flash drive. If the repair process works properly, it will show 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

EaseUS CleanGenius is a user-friendly computer fixing tool that is both safe and lightweight. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to fix the damaged file system easily.

Step 1.  DOWNLOAD EaseUS CleanGenius on your computer and complete the installation. 

Step 2. Run the software. Click "Optimization", and then choose "File Showing" . 

select the file showing option

Step 3. Select the drive with a corrupted file system. Tick the "Check and fix file system error" option and click "Execute".

fix file system

Step 4. Wait the tool performs the repairing task. After that, click the "here" button to check the drive.

fix file system

Bonus Tip: 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 of conducting USB data recovery for all kinds of data loss cases. And, you can just use the free version of the tool to get your data back. Only go for the pro version if you really need it.

 Recover for Free Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Recover for Free Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Step 1. Connect USB flash drive to your computer. Open EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and hover on USB device. Click "Scan" button to start looking for lost files on PC.

Step 2. When the scan completes, you can apply the "Filter" feature or the click the search box to quickly find the lost files from USB.

Step 3. Preview the files you want to recover. Click the "Recover" button to restore files. Check video tutorial here.

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Case 2. Windows Cannot Recognize the Corrupted USB Drive

If your USB drive is physically damaged and cannot be detected or recognized, it’s worth reinstalling the USB drivers to see if this fixes the issue. Or, you can try and fix the broken USB drive by yourself.

Method 1. Reinstall USB driver

Many strange USB issues usually results from a corrupted driver. You need to reinstall a new driver by following the steps.

Step 1: Press the Windows + X keys and select Device Manager from the menu.

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

reinstall usb driver to fix corrupted usb drive

Step 3: Select OK and disconnect the USB drive from your computer.

Step 4: Restart your computer and connect your USB drive to your computer. Windows will automatically install the required drivers for you.

Method 2. Manually Repair the USB Drive

Here are a few things you should know before attempting to fix a broken USB drive by yourself:

  • 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 give this a try, follow these instructions:

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

Once you have these required items, follow the following steps to start repairing your broken USB drive.

Step 1: Remove the flash drive's casing. Do this 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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Approved by Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh is an experienced computer tech writer. He's been writing tech how-to guides for about 8 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to teach people how they can get the most out of their devices.

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