How to Completely Repair Your USB Flash Drive

What if you need to get your data off of a broken USB flash drive? 

What should you do? 

There are a few different methods for repairing a USB flash drive which I am going to cover in the following article. 

Before we begin, let’s first see some of the variables so that you can understand how the repair process works. 

Why does USB Flash Drive Data Recovery exist?

There is no standard method for formatting a USB Flash Drive so each manufacturer stores their data on their devices differently.

The manufacturers have created some standards as to how files should be represented and stored on a device but even then, there are new developments being made all of the time.

 A file system or disk image may work with one version of a device but fail with another based upon changes made by the manufacturer. 

It’s not always possible to get the device repaired and re-imaged, so we’ll show you how to access the data from a broken USB flash drive. 

You can find out how by reading our blog post below.

Fix/Repair Your USB Flash Drive

There are common reasons for data loss on USB flash drives that may not be immediately detectable. 

If these issues are not resolved, it will require additional measures to access your data. These issues usually revolve around physical damage caused by dropping, water submersion or power surge accidents. 

On the other side of the spectrum is logical damage which can cause corruption of important metadata. 

Logical damage can also occur when a computer accidentally formats the drive instead of using the proper software tools for deleting files and formatting a drive. 

All types of damages can be recovered with our USB Data Recovery software products which are available both as an online solution and as a bootable media version that works without needing any software on your PC first.

1. USB Flash Drive Not Detected/Unreadable By Computer – How To Fix It?

In order to fix undetectable USB flash drives, we need to quickly understand the reason behind the Unreadable by Computer or USB Drive Not Detected error.

If your device gets corrupted due to any cause, this problem occurs.

No matter if you format it (accidentally) or your system crashed and whenever you connect it back, you get this type of error. 

And in most cases when connecting via USB port computer detects at least one time after which it stops detecting it again.

This can be a common issue with many devices but no need to worry about that as there is a simple solution for fixing formatted/damaged/unreadable USB flash drives without losing data from it.

All you have to do is just follow these steps:

Step 1: Download Fix Recovery Software and launch it.

Step2: Connect your corrupted USB drive to the computer and click on the Scan button.

Step3: The software will start scanning for all USB drives connected to the PC. It will find your device listed in the window.

Step4: You can preview files by clicking on the “File Type” option present at bottom of the screen.

After selecting the file type you need, click on the “Recover” button to get back all your precious data from inaccessible/corrupted/unreadable/formatted USB flash drives.

2. Use Command Prompt To Format Your USB Flash Drive

If Disk Management is not detecting your USB flash drive, you can use the ‘diskpart’ command in Windows to format it.

The diskpart command has many uses but formatting a USB flash drive using the command is pretty easy. 

Here are the steps that you need to follow:

Step1: Open Command Prompt by typing cmd in the search box of Start menu or Start screen and then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys together. 

Step2: Now type list disk in the command prompt window and press enter key to see all connected disks including USB flash drives. 

Note down its number which is next to its description. 

Step3: Type select disk n in the command prompt where ‘n’ is the number of your USB drive. If it’s not detected, you will see the ‘Diskpart has encountered an error – Access is denied.’ message. 

You need to type select disk <number of your USB drive> to select your device and then press enter key again. 

Example: If your USB flash drive’s number is 1, you need to type select disk 1 and then press enter key again. 

Step4: Now simply type clean and then exit command prompt and reconnect your USB flash drive to PC and check if it works now. 

Remember that formatting a USB flash drive using this method also erases all data stored on it make sure that you have already saved the data from it.

3. How To Fix USB Flash Drive Not Detected Error On Mac

If you are a Mac user and facing this problem, don’t worry we have got something special for you. Just follow these steps:

Step1: Launch Disk Utility from the utility folder or use Spotlight Search (press Command + Space). 

Step2: Select your USB flash drive from the list on the left-hand side of the Disk Utility window. Click on Erase button at the top right corner.

It will open erase options dialog where you need to type a name for your pen drive and select a Volume Format as ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled)’.

Then click on Erase button present near the bottom to start the formatting process. 

Note that formatting a USB flash drive using the command usually takes around ten minutes to complete.

Once it has been done, you can now use your pen drive as usual and enjoy fixing the not detectable errors on Mac without losing any data from it.

4. How To Fix Formatted/Damaged USB Flash Drive Without Data Loss On Windows

Step1: Go to this link and download iCare Data Recovery software. 

Step2: Once your download is complete, launch the program. It will automatically detect any kind of storage device connected to the computer.

Now select your USB drive from the list and click on the “Next” button.

Note that if no external storage devices are found by the software, it means there is some error with your USB drive like it not getting detected or showing up as a RAW file system (I will send you to this guide where you can solve ‘not detected by PC’ problem). Skip the first two steps and follow Step 3 directly after that.

Step3: The software will show you all the partitions found on your USB drive. Select any one of them and click on the “Scan” button to start the scanning process.

After completion, you can preview all recoverable items from where you can select those you need to get back and click on the Save button.

Now save the file in a safe location so that it does not get lost again after repairing/formatting or whatever error your pen drive is facing. 

Note that this guide also teaches you how to fix damaged USB flash drives without losing data at home by yourself easily.

5. Flash the USB Drive with a new Firmware

Step1: Download the firmware that is compatible with your USB flash drive. If you are not sure which one to use, go for the latest version (it will be written on its download page).

Step2: Unzip the files and search for an executable file within it. For example, if you downloaded Rufus software for this job, look for the rufus.exe file in the unzipped folder.

Rufus comes in both x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit) versions so make sure you download the correct one according to your Windows OS architecture. 

Note that Rufus does not work on MAC at all while there are other programs like Pen Drive Linux Format in the market which let you format a USB flash drive from a Linux bootable ISO image.

Step3: Follow Rufus’ instructions and make sure your USB is plugged in correctly before proceeding with it.

Note that if it asks to connect the removable disk such as your pen drive, do so before clicking on the OK button otherwise you will get an error while updating/fixing it.

Step4: Once done, reboot your computer and see if that helped or not. 

If this method did not help then try formatting it with the Disk Management tool of Windows (as told in Method 2).

After doing so use iCare Data Recovery to scan and recover data lost during the reformatting process of any storage device including USB flash drives.

6. Repair/Replace/Change a USB Flash Drive’s Circuit Board

Step1: This solution is only possible if your pen drive has a removable board inside it where you can change its circuit board and make a new connection with the port of the computer.

Just open up the case, detach the PCB from the board carefully without damaging it and try to fix its pins by applying some solder or glue on it once you have inserted those pins correctly into their corresponding places as shown in this guide for Kingston DT100G3 pen drives.

And that’s it! Now attach its cover, plug it into any available USB port and see whether it works properly or not. 

Note that before doing so, please remember that this is a tricky process that can go wrong while you reassembling the whole thing so there is a possibility of losing the data permanently, hence use iCare Data Recovery to recover deleted/lost files from all kinds of storage devices including USB flash drives.

7. Use Third-Party Hard Drive Repair Software

There is much third-party software available in the market that let you fix USB flash drives without any trouble but one of the best I have come across is Remo Recover (I will send you this guide if your pen drive shows the RAW file system error).

Step1: Launch its demo version and select your pen drive’s storage device (use Remo Recover’s Deep Scan option to make sure it finds all lost/deleted files on it even if they are fragmented or broken).

Step2: Once the scanning process is complete, click on the Drive Recovery button.

Step3: Then follow its steps to repair your USB flash drive. Note that this software can fix all types of data loss issues including file deletion/corruption/formatting so feel free to use it without getting worried about anything else.  

8. Fix Corrupted Pen Drive using PC In-built Disk Management Tool

If you are not able to access your pen drive’s files after checking its circuit board and updating its firmware then try running disk management tool in Windows (right-click on the My Computer icon and select Manage option) to scan and repair it (do not forget to disable your antivirus software before opening this tool).   

Also, make sure it has at least 5% of free space on its volume to avoid data loss during the repair process.

If nothing seems working then just use iCare Data Recovery Pro to do it for you after making a disk image of both RAW and healthy partitions that is found in your pen drive. 

It will automatically detect, scan and recover lost/deleted files from all kinds of storage devices including USB flash drives which are shown as removable disks under My Computer.

And don’t forget to share your feedback below about whatever method worked for you so that others can fix their USB flash drive too if they face this issue. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why cannot I access my USB flash drive even after repairing it?

If your pen drive shows RAW file system error then just format it with the Disk Management tool of Windows (as told in Method 2). After that, use iCare Data Recovery to scan and recover lost files from all kinds of storage devices including USB flash drives.

Why is my USB flash drive not detected by Windows or any other computer?

Please make sure you have inserted your pen drive properly into a free port of your computer before doing anything else while some computers show this issue if there are more than one type of removable disk connected at the same time which can be fixed easily but if nothing seems working then try reformatting it with the Disk Management tool of Windows (as told in Method 2) and then try to access it again. If you are still unable to fix this issue then use iCare Data Recovery Pro to scan and recover lost data from all kinds of storage devices including USB flash drives.

How do I repair my USB flash drive if Windows cannot recognize it?

A. One way is by saving its disk image using PC In-built Disk Management Tool which can be done if your pen drive shows RAW file system error while another way is by updating the firmware on its circuit board after opening its case.
But before that just make sure your antivirus software has been disabled because many computers show this issue when there are more than one type of removable disk connected at once so if nothing seems working then download iCare Data Recovery Pro and recover lost data from all kinds of storage devices including USB flash drives.

Q. What is RAW file system error?

A. It happens when your pen drive’s files become inaccessible or unreadable due to various reasons ranging from virus attack to bad sector on its disk surface etc so just use one of the methods mentioned in this guide to fix it easily even if you are not able to access your pen drive’s files after checking its circuit board and updating its firmware with the help of third-party software like Remo Recover (I will send you this guide if your pen drive shows RAW file system).


This tutorial covers various solutions that we have tested and found working so you can try any of them to fix your USB flash drive.

However, if nothing works then just use iCare Data Recovery Pro to recover lost/deleted files from all kinds of storage devices including pen drives that are showing ‘USB not recognized’ or ‘Unknown Device’.

PS: If the pen drive shows an unmounted notification when connected then click on the safely remove hardware icon in the system tray and eject it before removing it.

Also, avoid using the device while it’s being scanned by Windows because this may result in incomplete scanning that may lead to permanent data loss during the recovery process. 

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