How to Recover Files from Unreadable USB?

Wondering how to recover files from unreadable USB? This article is for you. In this article, we will discuss some of the signs and reasons for unreadable flash drives and methods to recover data from an unreadable USB drive. If you are looking to recover files quickly then we recommend you to make use of an USB recovery tool.

Written by John Harris, Updated on June 22, 2023

USB drives are reliable and have the advantages of being portable, lighter, smaller, etc. when compared to hard drives and other data storage mediums. But, there are still mishaps that are inevitable which makes USB drives unreadable and in turn making their data inaccessible to the user. In such situations, USB drive formatting is the only way to make it readable again. It will fix the unreadable USB drive issue, but the files will completely get deleted. Now before we head to the recovery process let us understand some of the symptoms of an unreadable USB.

  • Windows will display a pop-up stating “the disk is not formatted”.
  • USB drive shows up as RAW
  • Windows will display the drive as inaccessible.
  • Your Windows will display Invalid RAW file system.
  • Your flash drive partition will start showing unallocated space.
  • Your Windows might report the drive is not accessible/ the file or directory is corrupted or unreadable.
  • Sometimes USB might not be detected by Windows even after connecting.

Why USB flash drive becomes unreadable?

  • Abrupt removal of USB flash drive from system while file transfer is in progress may corrupt the flash drive and makes it unreadable
  • If the USB drive is infected by virus, then it will not allow you to access the USB drive
  • Sudden system shutdown due to power failure when USB flash drive is connected to it causes corruption of the file system and makes it unreadable
  • If the file directory structure is broken, then files stored in it becomes inaccessible

Can you retrieve data from an unreadable USB drive?

Getting the data back from unreadable USB is not impossible. Not anymore, you can recover files from an unreadable USB drive even after formatting by using Remo USB recovery software. The tool is built with a deep scan engine that can scan the entire drive to recover lost data. Additionally, the tool can recover more than 500 file types and it allows you to preview the recovered files to evaluate the recovery results.


How to Recover data from an Unreadable USB Drive?

To recover data from an unreadable USB flash drive we recommend you to make use of an USB Recovery tool. There are various USB recovery tools in the market like Remo Recover, Stellar, Recuva, Data Numen, etc.
Remo with more than 10 million users across the globe is one of the leading professional USB recovery software. The tool can recover more than 500 file types like images, audio, video, Office files, etc. So, this is your best bet at recovering data from an unreadable USB drive.

Steps to Recover Files from Unreadable USB:

  • Download and install Remo Recover Windows and launch the software.
  • Connect your unreadable USB drive and select the drive from the home screen.
  • If you are unable to locate the USB drive, click on the Can't find drive option and choose the USB drive and click on the Scan option.
  • Cant find Drive
  • The tool will complete Quick Scan within seconds and then automatically initiate Deep Scan to recover data from an unreadable USB. Open the Dynamic Recovery View to view the recovered files.
  • Scanning Process
  • Select the files which you want to recover and Preview them to verify the files.
  • Recover
  • After completion of the Deep Scan you can Save the files to the desired location by clicking on the Recover option.

NOTE: Remo Recover tool does not allow you to save retrieved files and folders on the same drive from where it's been recovered to avoid further corruption. Hence save the recovered files on any other secure drive.

How to Fix Unreadable USB Drive?

Fix 1: Repair Unreadable USB using Error Checking tool

Once you have recovered your data from a corrupted or unreadable flash drive, you can try the below method to fix the damaged or unreadable USB. Windows has a built-in tool “error checking tool” to fix any minor corruption on the file system.

  • Connect your USB jump drive to the computer.
  • Navigate to This PC and select your unreadable disk from the list of removable drives.
  • Now right-click on your unreadable USB drive and select Properties.
  • Go to the Tools tab click on the Check button.

error checking tool

Wait for the process to complete. Now you will be able to access and recover your files on USB. In case, if you are still unable to access the files the only option left is to format the drive. Any interruption while formatting the drive will result in permanent data loss. It is recommended to always recover the data from the drive using Remo Recover, then format the drive.

Fix 2: Format the Flash drive to Fix the Unreadable USB

Caution: Formatting the flash drive will result in data loss hence before formatting the drive take a backup or recover your data using Remo USB recovery tool.

  • Go to the Run box and type diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter.
  • Now in the Disk Management go to your USB drive which will be showing RAW, Right click on it and select the Format option.
  • Now choose the File System which you want to format your USB drive with and select Quick format checkbox and click on OK option.

quick format

How to Fix USB Drive Not Showing up in File Explorer?

If your USB device isn’t showing up then follow the steps below to fix the USB drive not showing up on File Explorer.

  • Go to Disk Management by simultaneously selecting Windows + X keys.
  • Now go to your RAW USB drive and Right click on it and select New Simple Volume.

How to Fix a Broken USB Port?

If your USB is not working try blowing in the USB port or check if any debris is struck. If not, try connecting to the other USB port or check if your USB is working fine on another Windows computer’s USB port.

Prevent data loss from USB drive by Following These tips:

  • Always keep a backup of vital files stored in your USB flash drive on other storage devices
  • Scan your USB drives on regular intervals using antivirus software
  • Avoid abrupt ejection of USB flash drive from computer / laptop

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