How to Fix USB Flash Drive Issues Without Formatting?

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In this write-up, we have talked in-depth about how to fix the corrupted USB flash drive or unrecognized flash drive without formatting it. However, if you have faced an unexpected and unforeseen data loss on your USB flash drive. We have also provided you with a foolproof way to recover your valuable USB files without breaking a sweat.

USB flash drives are the best means for data storage in comparison with internal hard drives. This portable storage device makes the data transfer process easy and trouble-free. So, computer users often save important files like pictures, videos, documents, et.,. on USB drives or use them as a bridge for data transfer needs. Here we have depicted the data that gets saved based on the various sizes of the USB.

Size of the USB

Images that can be stored

Audio files that can be stored

Video files that can be stored

Documents files that can be stored

16 GB

Approx 3,800 images can be stored

Approx 4,000 audio files can be stored

Approx 250 HD video files can be stored

Approx 3,20,000 documents can be stored

32 GB

Approx 7,600 images can be stored

Approx 8,000 audio files can be stored

Approx 500 HD video files can be stored

Approx 6,40,000 documents can be stored

64 GB

Approx 15,200 images can be stored

Approx 16,000 audio files can be stored

Approx 1000 HD video files can be stored

More than one million documents can be stored

128 GB

Approx 30,400 images can be stored

Approx 32,000 audio files can be stored

Approx 2,000 HD video files can be stored

More than 2 million documents can be stored

Usually the USB can store the data mentioned in the above section. The USB drives can withstand 10,000 to 1 million write/erase cycles. This means that you can add, remove, or replace data on the flash drive 10,000–10,00,000 times without encountering any data corruption or errors.

Sometimes due to catastrophic scenarios your pen drive might get corrupted, resulting with few errors while you are trying to access the files. We have stated a similar user case scenario to help you relate to the issue and provide solutions to it. 

I was getting a few errors while accessing my files on my Pendrive. Now I am stuck in the formatting process. Please tell me how I can fix a corrupted flash drive without formatting? How can I recover all my files?

You might have encountered a similar scenario while trying to access the files from the USB drive. Sometimes we typically make a hasty decision by formatting a corrupted or inaccessible USB flash drive in order to make it usable. At the same time, we know that the formatting action erases entire files located inside the drive.

So, if you have any important data stored on the USB drive that is not recognized, turns inaccessible, or got corrupted then, formatting is not the right solution. Then, how to fix a USB flash drive without formatting? Well, here are a few easy and effective resolutions to fix a USB flash drive without formatting.

Why is my Flash Drive Showing “It needs to be Formatted” error?

format the drive

Sometimes you might receive an error ‘You need to format the disk in drive H: before you can use it. Here are some more errors you might encounter.

  • You might receive "Please Insert Disk into Removable Disk"
  • Your USB drive might show 0 bytes/ “folder is empty” error.
  • Sometimes you might also encounter this error message “You need to format the disk before you can use it”.

The could be due to the following reasons like:

  • Malware attack
  • There might be chances that your file system might be corrupted
  • There are chances that your USB might not be formatted properly.

Table of Content:

Part 1: How to Fix Flash Drive Without Formatting Using Manual Methods.

  1. Try Other USB Ports.
  2. Enable USB Drive.
  3. Use Check Utility
  4. Change USB Drive Letter.
  5. Repair USB Drive.
  6. Run CHKDSK Command

Part 2: How to Recover Data from Flash Drive Without Formatting?

How do I Fix a Corrupted Flash drive without Formatting?

You can easily fix a corrupted USB flash drive without formatting by following the givens solutions below. In case, you have saved any sensitive or important data on the USB drive that is corrupted or turned inaccessible then, it is suggested to restore files from it first and proceed with the troubleshooting techniques mentioned in the Part 2 section of this article. It is important to recover all important files before trying the manual methods.

If you are sure, the corrupt USB drive has no vital files then directly start fixing it by following the methods explained in the next section.

Part 1: How to Fix a Flash Drive Without Formatting?

By following the listed methods you will effortlessly fix the corruption on your Flash drive. However, with the help of the right data recovery utility, you will be able to recover the data from the corrupt flash drive.

Method 1: Try Other USB Ports

Try connecting your USB flash drive to other USB ports of your computer. And, make sure you have updated device drivers.

Method 2: Enable USB drive

  • Open Control Panel and select Device Manager
  • Expand Disk Drives list
  • Double-click on the arrow of your USB drive and choose Enable Device

select the usb drive and click on enable option

  • Click Next and Finish

Method 3: Use Check Utility

As the pen drive is not physically broken and the PC is able to recognize and assigned a letter by your computer, the Check utility option can fix the damage.

  • Connect the USB drive to your computer.
  • Click on This PC/My Computer
  • Right-click The USB Drive and Click on Properties.

go to the properties

  • Click on the Tools tab, then click the Check button.

  • Then your computer will automatically start a recovery process for bad sectors.
  • Once it is finished, go back to the desktop, right-click the pen drive icon and click Eject, finally remove the drive from the USB port.

Method 4: Change the USB Drive letter

  • Go to Control Panel, select System and Security, then Tools
  • Click on Computer Management
  • Right-click on the USB flash drive and select Change Drive Letter and Paths

click on USB flash drive and select change drive letter and paths option

  • Click on Add button and then OK
  • Assign a new (available) drive letter to the USB drive and complete the process

Changing the USB drive letter is very simple yet one of the most effective ways to fix the USB drive says no media problem. Click on this article to find out other ways to fix USB shows no media in disk management issue. 

Method 5: Repair USB Drive

The easiest way to fix a flash drive that has gotten corrupt is by repairing the USB drive.

Follow the steps below to know how to fix the USB.

  • Go to My Computer/This PC
  • Right-click on the USB flash drive and select Properties

go to the properties

  • Switch to the Tools tab and click the Check (or Check Now) button

navigate to the error checking tool

  • Enable Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors checkboxes
  • Hit Start and wait till the repair process gets completed.

Method 6: Run CHKDSK Command to fix the corrupted flash drive without formatting

How to fix a USB that has gotten corrupt? CHKDSK command can help you fix your flash drive.

  • Go to the Start menu and type cmd in the search tab
  • You will see the Command Prompt application
  • Right-click on it and select Run as administratoropen command prompt application and click on Run as administrator
  • Next type chkdsk U: /r and hit Enter key (replace U with your USB drive letter)

type the chkdsk command

Now, Windows will start repairing your corrupt USB flash drive. Wait for a while, until the process is done. After completion, you can use your USB drive without any issues

Part 2: How to Recover Data from Flash Drive Without Formatting?

Connect your USB drive to another working computer and try to copy files from it. If the USB drive is not recognized or fails to show up on your computer, then go to Disk Utility (Mac) or Disk Management (Windows) and check if the drive is shown up there. If the drive is listed in your system utility, then recover data from it using the USB recovery tool by Remo.

Recover USB drive without Formatting with Remo Recover

Remo Recover is your go-to data recovery software that allows you to restore deleted, lost, hidden, inaccessible, corrupt, or formatted USB flash drive data in just a few simple steps. You can even use this tool to restore deleted files from a pen drive, external hard drives, or other USB devices in a few steps.

Step 1: Connect the USB flash drive to your computer using a USB cable. Download, install and run Remo Recover software.

Step 2: Now, choose the USB flash drive from which you want to recover data. Click on the Scan button. If you are unable to find the connected USB drive. Click on the “can’t find the drive?” option.

select the drive

Step 3: Once the pages are recovered you can double click on them to Preview the files to verify the recovery results.

preview the files by double clicking on them

Step 4: Select the files that you want to save and click on the Recover button. Browse and select a folder where you want to save the recovered files.

select where you want to save the recovered files

Step 5: Done!!! The files have been successfully saved.

data saving process has been successfully completed


Here we end our discussion on “how to fix USB flash drive”. Hope this article was helpful in fixing a flash drive without formatting. If you have any more questions or looking for something that was not mentioned in the article. Feel free to drop a query in the comment section below.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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