When the USB flash drive was created, it made our lives a lot easier, didn’t it? Anyone who lived through the era of diskettes knows how limited they were! With USB flash drives getting smaller and with more capacity, it has become much simpler and safer to store and transport files.
Unfortunately, however, it is still common to have a corrupted USB flash drive. These storage devices, although much more powerful than diskettes, are fragile and vulnerable to falls, electronic problems or virus attacks. And what happens to the data stored on it? You could lose everything…
Well, we know you don’t want to lose any files, do you? That’s why in this article we are going to talk about what to do with a corrupted USB flash drive and how to recover the files. Follow us to find out everything!
How to check if a USB flash drive is corrupted?
A corrupted USB flash drive often has some common symptoms. See if this has ever happened to you:
- You insert the USB flash drive into the USB port, but the computer or laptop does not recognize the device;
- You try to access a folder or file on the USB flash drive, but the computer gets a busy status and can’t open it;
- You open a file on the USB flash drive to edit it, but the program crashes while it is open.
If these situations have already happened to you, your flash drive is faulty… But what could have caused it? After all, why does a USB flash drive get corrupted? Well, there are several reasons why a USB flash drive can become corrupted.
First, think about the physical structure of the flash drive. The device is small and light. Although it has a protective casing, it is also fragile. So a fall on the floor or a strong impact can damage the parts and corrupt the files.
The USB flash drive can also suffer from electronic failures. The device uses flash memory technology, which exchanges data via an electronic board – unlike the old diskettes, which used magnetic memory.
As a result, it can end up burning out the electronic circuit in some situations. One of the most common is the abrupt removal of the USB port.
Operating systems recommend ejecting the device from the system before removing it from the port, because failure to do so can corrupt the USB flash drive.
In addition, when the USB flash drive is exposed to water, humidity or heat, the electronic components can also be damaged.
USB flash drives can handle low and high temperatures, but when they heat up above the limit, the components can burn out. This can happen when exposed to the sun, but also with excessive demands, such as transferring very heavy files or editing images directly from the flash drive.
Another common problem is malware infection. As USB flash drives make it easy to transport files, it is common to plug them in at various locations – at school, at work, at the internet home, etc. However, this makes the device more vulnerable to viruses.
That’s why it is important to keep your computer’s antivirus always active and only connect the USB flash drive to reliable equipment.
How do I recover a corrupted USB flash drive?
So, if you have a corrupted USB flash drive, what should you do? You can try a few solutions to recover the device and access to the files stored on it.
We will give you some tips, but be careful when carrying out any procedure. Ideally, you should get expert help so that you don’t run the risk of making the recovery completely impossible.
Here are some options for recovering a corrupted USB flash drive:
With Error Checking
The Windows Error Checker tool can identify and fix flaws in the USB flash drive that are preventing access to files. To access it, connect the USB flash drive to the computer and follow the steps:
- Open Windows File Explorer and click on This Computer;
- Under Devices and Drives, identify the USB Drive to which the USB Flash Drive is connected;
- Right-click and open Properties;
- Click on the Tools > Error Checking tab;
- Click Scan > Scan and repair the drive.
That’s it: Windows will now scan the drive and, if it finds any corrupted areas, it will fix them.
However, this process doesn’t always work, okay? So you can try other options for recovering the corrupted USB flash drive.
With Administrative Tools
In Windows, you can also try to fix USB flash drive problems with the administrative tools. Here’s how to do it:
- Right-click on the Start Menu and go to Computer Manager;
- Click on Disk Manager and find the USB Flash Drive;
- Right-click on it and click on “Change drive letter and path”;
- In the new window, click Add and assign a new drive letter.
With these steps, Windows can recognize your USB flash drive again. However, this procedure does not solve burnt-out board problems, which require physical intervention on the device.
ChkDsk is a Windows tool for diagnosing and fixing bad sectors. It is like Error Check, but capable of making more detailed corrections. To use it, do the following:
- Open the Windows Command Prompt (type “cmd” in the search bar or press “Win + R” and type “cmd”);
- On the black screen, type “chkdsk /r/fPenUSBDriveLetter:” and hit Enter. Use without the quotes and replace with the letter of the USB drive you are using (for example: chkdsk /r /f d:).
This command will check and correct the drive’s file system. If Windows displays the message that it has made the corrections, it means that the USB flash drive has been recovered.
But be careful when running these commands, okay? A wrong procedure can lead to unrecoverable problems.
Reinstall the drivers
Another option is to reinstall the drivers that run your USB flash drive. They may be corrupted, so they can’t detect the storage device. Follow these steps:
- Right-click on the Start Menu and go to Device Manager;
- Under Disk drives, right-click on the USB drive of your USB flash drive;
- Click Uninstall and OK.
- Unplug the USB flash drive and restart your computer.
Then you can plug the USB flash drive back into the USB port and the computer will probably recognize it.
Often, when a USB flash drive is corrupted, Windows displays a notification recommending that you format the drive. You can resort to this solution too, but be aware that formatting the USB flash drive means losing all the data on it.
To do this, simply right-click on the USB flash drive and select Format.
Formatting is intended to “clean” the device, including errors and storage problems, so that you can reuse it. But it also takes your files with it. So be aware of that, okay?
Ideally, you should save the files elsewhere before formatting. But if you can’t access them, it gets difficult, doesn’t it? We’ll show you how to recover lost files from a USB flash drive.
How do I recover corrupted files from a USB flash drive?
If you have tried the above procedures and still can’t find a solution, you need to look for other solutions to recover your files. If you choose formatting, it is also important to save your files first.
To do this, you can use file recoverers, called data recovery software. Tools such as EaseUS Data Recovery and Recoverit are good examples.
They can be used when Windows still recognizes the USB flash drive, but can’t access the files. These tools then try to recover the data and fix problems and bad sectors. After saving the files safely elsewhere, you can format the device.
Data recovery tools try to reassemble the device’s index to give you access to the files again. However, this process is quite complex, can take time and may not always recover everything. So be patient and careful.
To be on the safe side when recovering corrupted files, we recommend looking for a specialized company.
Data recovery is a complex job, dealing with important data that cannot be lost. In the case of USB flash drives, it is often necessary to open the device and carry out certain procedures directly on the electronic board.
But only qualified and trained professionals, in clean and controlled environments, can do this safely. And when data recovery is done professionally, the chances of success are close to 100%.
So you can recover your files and USB flash drive, ready to be used again!
How Bot can help
We have experienced and qualified professionals who have worked with the most diverse data loss situations. We work in laboratories with complete sanitization, according to strict standards, and we use the latest equipment to carry out the procedures.
So you can count on a specialized company, with total security for your files and the best chances of recovery.
You can contact us at a Bot location in various cities in Portugal, or request a free collection of your device for an assessment.
Now, fill in this form and start recovering data from your USB flash drive!