Solutions to fix a damaged USB

In the scenario where Windows 10 does not recognize the USB that has been connected to the port, this usually indicates that something is wrong with the storage device and following the recommendations of experts, it is best to repair the pen drive, in order to access your stored files.

If windows doesn’t recognize a USB, don’t worry. In most cases it is not a problem without a solution and there is the possibility of recovering the information you have stored. In this context, the cases of users who encounter some inconvenience when connecting a flash drive or external disk to their computer are not isolated. This has caused searches like “the USB does not recognize me” to be more common than many imagine.

There are several causes that can affect reading on an external USB drive, which is why one of the most popular operating systems, Windows, has several tools by default that you can take advantage of before formatting a pen drive, since this action could make it inaccessible the files it had stored. In such a case, we can say that formatting a damaged USB would be one of the last options to choose.

How to format a flash drive?

If you find that your desktop computer does not recognize the USB when you plug it in and you are not worried about losing what you have stored, or it is a new device, here are several methods for you to learn how to repair a USB stick using the option. of format:

  • With the formatting tool

One of the direct methods to try to repair a USB drive is to format it with the Windows default options , which even allow you to change the file system.

1) Click on the Start button of your PC and type File Explorer, so that the option appears in the list. Press Enter to run.

2) When the new window opens, look in the sidebar on the left for the USB icon and the name of the drive you are trying to format.

3) Right-click on the name and this will bring up a pop-up menu where you will find the Format option. Choose it and wait for a small window to appear.

4) Here you will only have to press the Start button and wait for the process to finish.

  • With the Windows 10 troubleshooter

When connecting a USB with reading problems, a warning window will appear almost instantly on your screen indicating that there are problems with the drive . This is the best option if you want to recover data from your storage device.

1) When the window appears in the bottom right corner of the screen, click on it to open the dialog box.

2) Here you will see the option to Scan and repair (recommended). Click on it to start repairing the flash drive.

3) After scanning, a new prompt will be displayed with the option to Repair Drive. Tap on it to try to recover data from a damaged USB and wait for the process to finish.

  •  with cmd

CMD is a Windows application also known as Command Prompt and it is where you can run Diskpart , to try to repair the damaged files on your USB. In a nutshell, Diskpart is a more powerful function than simple formatting, but it does require some knowledge. This action is irreversible. Therefore, if it is executed, it will erase what is on your storage unit. In any case, we explain how it is done.

1) Click Start and type in the search bar Run, so that the application appears in the list and press Enter.

2) When CMD starts, enter the Diskpart command on the keyboard and hit Enter again, to run the app.

3) Now enter the command list disk, tap Enter and this will display the list of disks or memory units connected to the computer.

4) Identify the number that corresponds to the damaged USB and type select disk X where “x” will be the disk number.

5) Now you will need to type clean, to start the disk cleanup process.

6) Then it’s time for the create partition primary command, which will create a clean partition on the disk, to try to boot it.

7) On the next line enter select partition 1 and again Enter.

8) To finish, use the command format fs=ntfs and wait for the confirmation from the system indicating that the process has finished.

Common problems when repairing a damaged USB

Now we will review a list of the error messages that may appear when trying to repair a USB and what each of them means:


“Windows could not complete the format”

When the OS shows you this message after trying to format the drive, there are most likely more complex issues that need to be taken care of. In general, it can be a virus or physical damage that prevents the correct operation of the USB.

“The volume does not contain a recognized file system”

This message can scare any PC user, as it indicates that the memory drive does not contain files that can be read by the system , so they could be corrupted.

In these cases, the system automatically offers a direct option, to access the Windows format tool, so that you can try to repair the sectors, even if it means losing the content.

“The file or directory is damaged or unreadable”

If you manage to connect a flash drive to your computer and this message appears, the device is indicating that the files saved on the drive are no longer accessible , so they cannot be opened on the PC.

Unfortunately, when this happens, practically the only solution is to opt for formatting, in order to continue using the storage drive.

Now that you have learned the techniques and methods that you can try on your PC, to try to recover a USB drive that has been damaged, you will be able to avoid throwing away a pen drive that is still useful.

If you run into any error messages like the ones mentioned above or any issues during the formatting process, we advise you not to leave the drive’s hardware behind.

Check its connectors and ports, as well as the gold pins, since any alteration in this area will affect the connection capacity between the USB and the computer.

Also, before trying to format or repair it, take a look at the physical switch on the drive. Sometimes it can slip inadvertently and this forces the flash drive to be recognized as a “read only” drive and does not allow modifications.

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