How to Fix Corrupted and Unreadable USB Flash Drive and Recover Data

The unreadable USB flash drive or pen drive is usually with a corruption issue. When a flash drive becomes unreadable, you need to determine first whether it results from a logical corruption or physical corruption. This page has answers to how to fix corrupted and unreadable USB flash drive and recover data efficiently.

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Written By

Tracy King

Updated on

16 May 2024

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9 Min

USB flash drive corruption would result in inaccessibility and unreadability issues. When your USB flash drive becomes unreadable, first of all, you need to understand the causes of the damage and take different actions to fix the corrupted and unreadable USB flash drive.

Why Is USB Corrupted and Unreadable

You can try to determine how seriously your storage device has been corrupted by observing symptoms and using disk check tools to run for errors. Usually, it's about Master Boot Record (MBR), Partition Boot Record (PBR), or directory structure corruption that comes with error messages. In this case:

  • Windows reports the disk is not formatted continuously.
  • Your drive shows up as RAW, with an invalid RAW file system.
  • Your flash drive partition has been lost, showing as unallocated space.
  • Windows reports the drive is not accessible and the file or directory is corrupted or unreadable.

While some common physical corruption issues are from broken stems and connectors, dead drives, broken circuits or NAND gates, etc. In this case:

  • The flash drive's light starts blinking and makes noise or unpleasant whirling sounds.

How to Fix Unreadable Flash Drive - Solutions Overview

One of the most common causes of USB corruption is not properly disconnecting the device from the computer. When your device is removed from your computer or laptop, there is no safe eject of the device first. So, you should plug and unplug your device correctly every time. In addition, there are many useful measures in the table below.

Scenarios Solutions
🔃USB corrupted Recover data from unreadable USB flash drive
👨‍💻USB data recovery failed Use data recovery services to recover data and fix corrupted USB
💿USB not readable Check disk errors and repair the corrupted file system
💾RAW USB Format the USB drive or pen drive
🚩USB device not showing Create a new volume on the USB flash drive
🙁Virus attack Install genuine antivirus software to remove viruses from your USB flash drive

Recover Data from Corrupted USB Flash Drive in Advance

Before you start to repair the corrupted, unreadable, or unresponsive USB flash drive, it's highly recommended that you back up all your present data on the USB drive first. However, most people did not create a regular backup until it's not accessible at the moment.

Since you're not allowed to open an unreadable flash drive, the only way to fetch data is to find some professional USB file recovery software to help. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard supports data recovery in most commonplace scenarios. For example, it supports RAW drive recovery, lost partition recovery, and formatted recovery. 

Download it for free, install and run it like a breeze, and follow the guide below to recover data from USB when Windows cannot read it.

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Step 1. Run USB Data Recovery Software

Connect the USB drive or pen drive to your computer and launch EaseUS USB data recovery software on your PC. Select the drive which is labeled as a External drives, and click "Scan for lost data" to start looking for lost files.

Select USB/pen drive to scan and find lost files

Step 2. Scan and Search Lost Files on a USB Drive

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive/pen drive and find all your lost data on it. When the scan process completes, use the Filter feature to find wanted files.

Scan USB flash drive/pen drive to find lost files

Step 3. Restore All Lost Files from USB

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

Restore lost USB/pen drive data

Video Tutorial: Restoring Files from a Corrupted USB Flash Drive

Be a part of the tutorial! Share this useful file recovery software on your social media and let others know your thoughts.


Fix Unreadable USB Flash Drive with Data Recovery Services

Sometimes, you will encounter situations where you cannot recover data with software. Don't worry. You can still ask the experts for help. EaseUS data recovery services help you quickly recover data from inaccessible USB drives and fix the RAW drive. 

EaseUS Disk Repair and Recovery Services

Click here to contact our experts for a free evaluation

Consult with EaseUS data recovery experts for one-on-one manual recovery service. We could offer the following services after a FREE diagnosis.

  • Fix HDD, SSD, external hard drive, USB flash drive errors, and restore data from all RAID levels
  • Recover lost partitions that cannot be restored by data recovery software
  • Fix disks that cannot be read or accessed because of bad sectors
  • Fix disks that become GPT-protected partitions
  • Wipe data, unformat hard drive, install/uninstall software or driver, etc.

Check USB Errors to Fix Corrupted USB or Pen Drive

Windows has an in-built repair tool, and it's able to scan common error issues on a disk drive and hopefully repair the found errors.

Step 1. Connect the flash drive to your computer system. Open My Computer/This PC.

Step 2. Right-click the Removable Disk representing your flash drive, then choose "Properties".

Step 3. Navigate to the "Tools" tab, and click "Check". Select the "Scan drive" option.

Step 4. Wait for the Error Checking tool to scan and repair your USB drive. If any error is found, you can proceed with the wizard to fix it. 

Step 5. Safely eject the flash drive. Re-connect it again. See if it's now readable.

repair unreadable usb flash drive in windows disk check utility

Format Unreadable USB Drive in Disk Management

Another way to make a corrupted or unreadable USB drive work again is to format it:

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys to bring up the Run box. Type: diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter.

Step 2. In Disk Management, locate the unreadable flash drive, and check its disk information. If it's shown as a RAW file system, right-click on it and choose "Format".

Step 3. Choose a file system like NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT and perform a quick format checkbox. 

Do not skip the quick format option. Performing a quick format will erase data, but it's recoverable by using the specialized data recovery software as mentioned.

format usb drive to fix unreadable issue in disk management

Delete and Create a New Partition on the Corrupted USB Drive

No luck with the former methods? Take it easy. Proceed with this method. The Disk Management tool will help you delete and create a new partition on the corrupted USB drive and restore it to normal.

Step 1. In Disk Management, locate the corrupted USB drive, and right-click on it, select "Delete Volume".

Step 2. Confirm to delete the volume on the USB drive by following the onscreen guide.

Step 3. After the USB drive has become the unallocated space, right-click the unallocated space and select "New Simple Volume".

create a new drive to fix unreadable issue in file explorer

Step 4. Then Rename the drive, set the file system to NTFS or FAT32 on the USB drive, and follow onscreen guidelines to create a new partition on the USB drive. After this, you will be able to use the USB drive normally again.

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Fix a USB Drive That Is Unreadable with Malware

When a USB flash drive is infected with a virus, its file system will receive corruption, and it becomes corrupted and unreadable. What's worse, if you link a virus-infected USB stick to your computer, it will also be infected, causing more serious data security problems.

Therefore, be sure to install genuine anti-virus software for your external disk and computer daily anti-virus.

USB Corrupted and Unreadable FAQs

Why is your USB suddenly unreadable and corrupted? Get additional help here.

1. What causes a USB to be corrupted?

  • USB Flash Drives can be corrupted because of the causes below:
  • Unsafe ejection
  • Physical damage
  • Virus attacks

2. Can a corrupt USB Be Fixed?

Yes, you can repair a USB drive with simple solutions:

  • Repair USB errors with a manual repair service
  • Run CHKDSK to repair corrupt USB flash drives
  • Use a third-party fixing tool to fix USB errors
  • Reinstall USB drivers

3. How do I recover a corrupted USB?

You can recover corrupted files from USB with these steps:

  • Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
  • Choose your USB drive where you lost important files
  • Click Scan to start
  • Locate a specific type of file by using the Filter feature
  • Find lost USB drive files, and click Recover to restore them

4. How do I uncorrupt my USB?

  • Connect the USB to your PC
  • Go to My Computer/This PC and then the USB Drive
  • Right-click the USB drive and select Properties
  • Click on the Tools tab
  • Click the Check button
  • Let the scan process complete, then close the window
  • Updated by

    Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization. …
  • Written by

    Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.…
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