A USB drive is indeed handy but vulnerable in some ways. Somehow it's malfunctioning all of a sudden. Your USB drive may be corrupted, unrecognized, or unreadable, resulting from a virus attack, file system corruption, hardware malfunction, or improper shutdown.
In such cases, particularly when crucial files are stored on your USB drive, it is necessary to safeguard the data during the repair process. Therefore, this post will start with a USB drive data recovery tool to extract files from the problematic flash drive, then cover 5 free flash drive repair tools to fix your drive back to normal. Here we go.
Typically, we repair corrupted USB drives to salvage important data. However, many USB repair tools just format the drive while repairing, resulting in data loss. To safeguard your important files, consider using a USB data recovery tool before applying a repair utility.
FonePaw Data Recovery is what you need. It can easily recover files from a corrupted or formatted flash drive. And FonePaw offers FOREVER FREE scanning and a preview of the data that can be recovered on your USB flash drive. With its user-friendly interface and powerful recovery capabilities, FonePaw is a reliable solution for retrieving your valuable files.
It takes only 4 steps to get back files from a USB drive with the FonePaw utility.
Step 1. Run Broken USB Data Recovery Tool
Download FonePaw Data Recovery to your Windows or Mac computer. After installation, launch the utility.
Step 2. Recognize the USB Flash Drive
Plug the corrupted flash drive into your computer. The FonePaw tool will recognize the connected storage device and show it under Removable Device. Tick the checkbox before the USB drive and tick the types of files to recover. Click Scan.
Step 3. Restore Data from Corrupted USB Drive
The utility will scan the corrupted USB drive to restore data from it.
If your needed files can't be found after a quick scan, click Deep Scan to get more files detected from the flash drive. Note that Deep Scan will cost a much longer time than Standard Scan.
Step 4. Save USB Data to Computer
The files from USB drive will be organized in categories. For convenience, you can also use the Filter function to quickly sort out the deleted data from USB.
Select the files and click Recover to save them on your computer. With all your data back to your computer, you can use a flash drive repair utility to fix the corrupted USB drive.
The approaches to repairing a pen drive fall into two categories:
- Utilize system-provided USB repair tools to detect and fix USB errors.
- Formatting (It's essential to ensure you have a backup of the crucial data on the USB before formatting to prevent data loss.).
Here we will introduce the 5 best USB repair tools covering the above 2 approaches, you can choose one USB fixer according to your needs.
No.1 Disk Error Checking (Windows)
Windows computers are equipped with a Windows USB repair tool known as Disk Error Checking. This default utility can scan and fix file system errors of damaged sectors on your computer. So far, it can troubleshoot bad partitions and fix a corrupted flash drive. Let's get to know how it works.
- Plug the USB drive into your computer running Windows 11/10/8/7.
- Find the USB drive in File Explorer (Windows + E) > This PC, right-click on it and select Properties.
- Under the Tools tab, click Check in the Error Checking section.
- A new pop-up window appears. Click Scan and repair drive to scan the USB drive and repair USB drive errors if you can find any.
- 5The tool will scan the USB drive and repair USB drive errors if it can find any.
No.2 CHKDSK Command (Windows)
CHKDSK is a Windows command that checks and fixes file system errors. With specific parameters, it can repair and restore readable data from corrupted USB drives. While it may involve codes, the following steps simplify the process of using this USB fixer for beginners.
- Enter "cmd" in the search bar. Right-click Command Prompt from the results, and select Run as administrator.
- Plug your USB drive into the computer and remember the drive letter of the corrupted USB drive.
Assume F: is the USB drive letter, and enter
chkdsk F: /f /r /xin the Command Prompt.
- /f: Fix errors in the USB drive.
- /x: Dismount the USB drive.
- /r: Locate bad sectors on the flash drive and recover data from it.
No.3 HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool (Windows)
Launched by HP in 2014, the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool is a recommended choice for formatting USB drives on Windows. This USB fixer offers compatibility with nearly all flash drives utilizing FAT, FAT32, and NTFS file systems. Below is how it works.
- Download the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool package and run the tool as administrator.
- Connect your corrupted flash drive to your computer.
- Launch the tool. Select the drive in the "Device" column in the software.
- Select the file system(FAT, FAT32, NTFS) that you want to format the USB drive to.
- Continue to select the "Format" options. You can tick "Quick Format".
- Click "Start". When the HP USB repair tool warns you that the process will delete all data on the USB drive, click "Yes" to proceed.
No.4 Disk Utility (Mac)
Disk Utility is a built-in disk manager in macOS that works as a USB flash fixer to examine and repair USB drives that are malfunctioning. You may use this USB repair tool to format your flash drive with the following steps:
Boost your Mac into macOS recovery mode.
- For Mac with Apple silicon: Turn on your Mac and press down the Power button until startup options show up. Then, click the Gear icon and select Continue.
- For Mac with Intel chips: Turn on your Mac and press down Command + R until entering macOS recovery mode.
- Select Disk Utility and click Continue to launch it.
- Plug your USB drive into the Mac and choose the device from External on the left panel.
- Select First Aid and click Run on the prompt to start checking the selected device for logical errors. Then, Disk Utility will automatically start repairing USB drive to normal status.
No.5 TeskDisk (Windows & Mac)
TeskDisk is a free USB repair tool that works for Windows and macOS. It features powerful functions including fixing problematic partitions, undeleting data from a hard disk, rebuilding a boot sector, and supporting all types of filesystems.
However, TeskDisk doesn't have a graphical user interface, so it could be difficult to use in an old-school command prompt. To fix the corrupted flash drive, let's follow the instructions below.
- Download TeskDisk to your computer and run it as an administrator. Then, connect your USB to the computer.
- Select Create to record information and choose your USB device to Proceed.
- Select the partition table type and press Enter to go on. Then, select Analyze to scan your device and examine partition problems.
- Choose Quick Search to scan or Deeper Search after the first routine scan is completed.
- TeskDisk will show all the readable partitions in the list. Now, click Write to rewrite the partition structure and see whether your USB drive is successfully fixed.
Is there any USB flash drive repair tool online?
If you're looking for an online USB fixer, I'm afraid that there isn't one. Since a corrupted USB needs to be scanned and checked for partition errors, that's impossible to do over the cloud nowadays. If you mean the way you don't need to go offline to a local repair store, then you can repair your USB online on your Windows or Mac with the help of the best USB repair tools introduced above.
Why can't I see my USB drive in Windows 10/11?
If you cannot see your USB in Windows File Explorer, it’s likely that there is a problem with your USB (like showing up as unallocated space under Disk Management) or your system settings for USB.
Here are some methods to fix an unreadable USB flash drive:
- Update unallocated USB drivers and create a new volume;
- Change the USB drive letter;
- Change the USB connection;
- Take your USB to a device repair center for manual repair.
Above we provided you with the 5 best USB repair tools. You can choose one of the USB fixers that best fits your computer and flash drive. You should note that repairing a USB flash drive may have to format it, so data loss is usually inevitable. But don't worry, you can use FonePaw Data Recovery to retrieve data from the corrupted USB drive before/after the repair.