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How to Recover Files from Corrupt USB Drive?

Summary: If you have a corrupt USB drive with your precious data in it, you might have tried manual methods which might have not worked. In this article, we have provided some of the easy fixes to resolve the issue. Also, if you are looking to recover your files quickly then we recommend you to make use of a professional USB Recovery tool.

USB Flash drives are storage devices that are commonly known as Flash drives or Pen drives. They are well known for their portability and capability of storing large amounts of data. Because of its portable property, it is easy to transfer data from one device to another.  Having said that, due to this same property USB drives are vulnerable to corruption.

As soon as the pen drive is corrupted, files become inaccessible on the pen drive leaving you with no clue about how to recover files from a corrupted USB.

Table of Contents:

  1. How Does USB Flash Drive Get Corrupted?
  2. Can A Corrupted USB Flash Drive be Fixed?
  3. How To Fix Corrupt USB Flash Drive?
  4. Can you Recover data from Corrupted USB Flash Drive?
  5. How To Recover Files From Corrupt USB?
  6. Few Ways To Fix Physical Damages on USB Drive

How Does USB Flash Drive Get Corrupted?

There are various reasons behind a USB flash drive getting corrupt or damaged or even inaccessible. Some of the most common reasons are as mentioned below:

  • Abruptly ejecting the pen drive from your laptop or PC without using the “Safely remove option”.
  • Sudden system shutdown or any interruptions while transferring data from a flash drive to another storage device or vice versa.
  • Malware or corrupted files present on the pen drive make the data inaccessible.
  • Firmware issues on a pen drive or operating system malfunctions might also lead to data corruption or data loss.

What are the Signs of a Corrupted USB Flash Drive?

Here are some of the signs that show your USB is corrupted.

  • Sometimes if your USB drive is corrupted then your files might randomly disappear.
  • Sometimes when you are trying to open the USB drive, your files might not get recognised.
  • You might receive errors like “Please insert a disk into USB Drive (X:)” or you might receive an error that you need to format the USB drive.

Can A Corrupted USB Be Fixed?

Yes, you can fix a corrupted USB drive but before you go ahead and repair a corrupt USB drive, you need to understand what is the issue you are trying to fix. If you are trying to fix corrupted files on a USB drive, it is quite hard as you will have a wide variety of files. If you have corrupt or damaged files on the USB drive with files like videos, office files like word or rar. You can refer to this article on repairing damaged files. 

However, if you are trying to recover data from a corrupt USB flash drive, you can make use of the methods mentioned in this article to easily repair a corrupt USB drive and recover data from a corrupt drive.

Note: Before trying any of the below-mentioned methods, make sure your device drivers are up to date. Try connecting the flash drive to different ports or computers to confirm the corruption in the USB drive.

How to Fix Corrupt USB Flash Drive?

  1. Check for Any Debris
  2. Assign a New Drive Letter to Your corrupt USB
  3. Update Device Drivers
  4. Enable USB Drive in Device Manager
  5. Fix File System Errors on USB Flash Drive
  6. Restore Missing Files From Corrupt USB Drive Using Command Prompt

Solution 1: Check for Any Debris

First check if your USB drive is properly connected, else try to connect your USB drive to the other USB port. If the issue still persists then you can connect your USB drive to the other computer and see if it is working properly.

Else check if there are any foreign particles stuck in the USB port or in the USB drive. Take a cotton swab and gently try to remove any debris stuck.

Solution 2: Assign Drive Letter 

When a USB drive gets corrupt usually they become unrecognizable or inaccessible. You can fix this inaccessible USB drive issue by making use of Disk Management to assign a drive letter. Follow the below-mentioned methods to assign a drive letter to a corrupt USB drive letter:

  • Right-click on Disk Management, open disk management
    disk management
  • In Disk Management, right-click on the USB disk number and click on the Change Drive letter and Paths
  • Select the drive letter that’s already assigned and click on Change
  • Choose a drive letter from the dropdown list and assign it to the corrupt USB drive
  • Now try accessing the USB drive from Windows Explorer 

Solution 3: Update Device Drivers

Sometimes outdated device drivers can also be a reason behind USB drives not being recognized or corrupt. Follow the below-mentioned methods to update the device drivers and fix corrupt USB drives. 

  • To update device drivers, you need to get to Device Manager by right-clicking on the Start button

go to the device manager

  • In the Device Manager Window, click on Disk Drives, select the USB drive and Uninstall the device.
  • Once you uninstall the device drivers and connect the USB device again, the new device drivers will be automatically updated. The USB device will be recognizable after this. 

Solution 4: Access the Flash Drive by Enabling the USB Drive in the Device Manager

Sometimes, Flash drives can get disabled automatically due to driver installation errors too. Follow the steps mentioned below to access the flash drive and get back the data present within.

  • Open Control Panel, go to Hardware and Sound, and click on Device manager

go to the device manager to fix the corrupted usb drive

  • Expand the Disk Drives list
  • Double-click on your USB drive and click on Enable device
  • Click Next and finish

Solution 5: Fix File System Errors on USB Drive

The file system on a USB drive helps in organizing data and maintaining a directory that will be referred to for any data transaction. Any errors in the file systems also lead to corrupted flash drives and result in data loss. Here’s how to fix file systems errors in pen drives on Windows 10 or Windows 11.

  • Go to This PC and right-click on the inaccessible pen drive and select Properties
  • Click on the Tools tab and select the Check option
    repair pen drive using system checker tool
  • Check both the Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors boxes
  • Click on Start and the scanning process will start. Wait till the process is complete and click on Close

Note: If your system is running on any previous version of Windows like Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc. Follow these steps to fix your file system errors on the USB drive.

  • Go to My Computer and right-click on the inaccessible pen drive and select Properties
  • Click on the Tools tab and select Rebuild
  • Once the scanning process is started, wait for the scan to complete and click on Close
  • Eject your pen drive using the Safely Remove Option and then plug it in again.

If you are being prompted to format your corrupt USB, do not format. Instead, know how to fix flash drive issues without formatting with free methods given in the highlighted informative write-up.

Solution 6: Restore files from corrupted USB by using Command Prompt

Command Prompt could be a quick yet effective resolution to recover corrupted USB. Follow these steps carefully to fix errors and recover files from the corrupt USB drive.

  • Insert your pen drive into the computer and press the Windows button on the keyboard
  • In the Type here to search box, type cmd and click on the Command Prompt app
    command prompt to repair corrupt pen drive
  • In the Command window, type or copy-paste chkdsk G: /f. Replace G: with your USB drive letter,
    chkdsk f command
  • Once the process is complete, eject your pen drive using the Safely Remove Option and plug it in again.

In case you are unable to fix the corrupted USB drive, then the only option left is to format the USB. Formatting the flash drive using Disk Management might result in the data loss. In case you have formatted the drive accidentally then don't worry you can still recover the data if the USB drive is not overwritten with the new data.

Can you Recover data from Corrupted USB Flash Drive

Yes, you can recover data from the corrupted USB. The data on a USB will no longer be accessible if the entire USB becomes corrupted. This does not mean that the files have been corrupted; rather, it means that the USB has been physically or logically damaged, preventing you from accessing your files. 

If you have tried the above method using chkdsk, then the ability to recover data from a corrupt flash drive by using chkdsk is very less. The chances of damaging the files are also high. Hence, we recommend you to make use of an effective USB Recovery tool by Remo.  

How to Recover Files from Corrupted USB Flash Drive using USB Recovery Software

To Recover files from corrupted usb flash drives, make use of a powerful professional USB recovery software. Speaking about professional tools, we recommend you make use of a USB recovery software by Remo Recover.

trust pilot reviews for usb recovery

Source: Trust Pilot

So, what are you waiting for? Quickly download Remo Recover now to recover files from your corrupted USB effectively.

Steps to Recover Files from Corrupt USB Drive?

  • Download, install and launch the Remo USB data recovery tool.
  • Select your corrupted USB drive and click on Scan to start the process of recovering data from the corrupted flash drive. If you are unable to find your USB, click on the “Can’t find the drive?” option.
    select the drive from where you want to recover data
  • The tool starts scanning the drive to recover files from corrupt USB. Remo Recover lets you have a look at the files recovered even when the scan is in progress, simply click on the Dynamic Recovery View.
    click on dynamic recovery view
  • Once the Deep Scan is complete, you can Preview your recovered files from the corrupted USB. Just double-click on the file that you want to view.

    preview the files by double clicking on it

  • Now navigate to the Lost Partition folder and select the files that you want to recover. Click on the Recover button and select the location where you want to save the restored data.
    select a location to save the recovered files

Once the data-saving process gets successfully completed. You can view the recovered files in the location which you have selected.

The time duration for the scanning process depends on the amount of data present on your pen drive.

Fix USB Drives with Physical Damage

If you think your USB drive is not showing up or not getting recognized due to physical damage, then you have to try these quick fixes.

  • Try and plug USB drives onto other USB ports
  • Remove debris from the ports that might be potentially blocking your USB connection
  • If none of the above methods works you might have to contact a professional recovery service

Final Words:

All the above-mentioned methods are most likely going to help you fix corrupt or damaged USB flash drives. However, it is recommended to be prepared for future data loss scenarios by taking regular backup of data. If you liked the article, do make sure you share the word and comment below if you have any queries. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to Open files on a Corrupted USB Drive?

When your USB flash drive gets corrupt. Most of the time you won’t be able to access the drive. Following the methods mentioned earlier in the article such as assigning a drive letter makes your drive accessible. Opening or accessing corrupt files can only be done using any good data recovery software such as Remo Recover.

2. How Do You Fix a Corrupted Flash Drive Without Formatting?

Formatting is the only option left to revive any corrupt flash drive if all other methods fail. Formatting completely erases the file system of your drive and reinstalls a fresh copy of the file system.
If you don’t want to format your flash drive, then we suggest you go through this article to find out other ways to fix a USB flash drive without formatting.

3. Can I fix a Corrupted USB Flash Drive Without Losing Data?

The answer is almost always “NO”. Depending upon the severity of the corruption the manual methods might or might not work. Data loss is almost bound to happen, incase you don’t have a backup. So we recommend you recover data from your corrupted USB flash drive first using Remo Recover. Then, try the above mentioned methods. 

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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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