4 Simple Ways to Recover Files from Corrupt USB Flash Drive


Were you unable to access any data on your USB? The reason behind this is, if your drive is corrupted or damaged, you will be unable to access any data saved on it. The only way to open your important files on corrupt USB is to perform USB drive recovery. With the help of various methods explained in the article, you will be able to access and recover your files without any hassle.

When a drive becomes corrupt, it becomes unresponsive and data stored on the drive cannot be accessed. This could either be due to physical damage on the drive or logical issues. Losing your important files due to USB corruption could be devastating. Let us know the causes that lead to USB corruption.

What causes USB corruption?

If you are wondering how a USB can become corrupt, here are a few common reasons that lead to USB drive corruption.

    1.   Removing USB before ejecting it could lead to USB corruption. When the OS runs read/write actions in the background, improper removal of USB can lead to file system corruption. Therefore, it is always suggested to eject the flash drive before disconnecting it.
    2.   Sudden power loss can cause damage to the drive as all the active operations performed on the drive will be abruptly stopped.
    3.   Too much exposure to harsh conditions such as excess temperature or exposure to water can damage USB physically.
    4.   USB flash drives use NAND flash memory chips to store larger set data in a limited storage space. However, multiple read/write operations limit the functions of NAND in the long run and can make USB susceptible to corruption.
    5.   Using USBs on various devices without running anti-virus can corrupt USB flash drives and create shortcut files on pen drives. Therefore, it is always recommended to run anti-virus software to keep your USB free from Virus or malware.

Indications or Signs of USB Corruption

Below listed are few errors that are encountered when USB becomes corrupt:

    •         USB device not recognized:  When OS fails to read the USB file system, it displays the error device not recognized.
    •         Problem ejecting USB mass storage device: The error is encountered when there are programs running in the background even after ejecting the USB.
    •         Disk is not formatted Error: Usually appears when data cannot be read by OS and trying to access RAW drive.
    •         Error copying files and folders: The error is caused due to various reasons like corruption in the file, file size limitation and virus intrusion.
    •         Error 0x80071AC3 volume is dirty: The error appears when there are bad sectors on the drive or due to damaged/corrupt USB ports.
    •         The file or directory is corrupt and unreadable: The error is mainly due to corruption in FAT or MFT partitions [ File allocation table, Master file table] on USBs.

Sometimes, not only errors, the drive also shows used space but no files on it.  When you encounter any of the above-mentioned errors, it’s likely that your USB is corrupted and you need to repair the corrupt USB. However, repairing the drive would lead to data loss from the USB. Therefore, t is suggested to recover data from USB and then repair the drive.

Is it possible to recover files from a corrupt USB flash drive?

Yes, it is possible to recover files from a corrupt USB drive. All you have to do is, stop using the drive immediately and perform USB data recovery.

Accuracy of recovering data from USB is generally based on the type of corruption. 

    • Data from physically damaged USB cannot be retrieved as it damaged the drive completely.
    • You can recover files from USB when the drive is logically corrupted.

      Methods to recover data from corrupt USB
      1. Assign a drive letter
      2. Update the USB drivers
      3. View hidden files using CMD
      4. Recover Files from corrupt Drive using SFWare USB Data Recovery Software

Therefore, if your drive has no external damage, you can go ahead with recovering files from the logically corrupt USB drive explained in the next session.

First three methods help you clear certain errors caused by corruption on USB but don’t assure complete recovery of your data. In such a situation, all you need is a trusted data recovery software that is proficient with unique algorithms to recover data from a corrupt USB drive. SFWare USB data recovery software is one of the most trusted and secure software to recover corrupt USB without causing any damage to your important files.

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4 Ways to Recover Corrupt USB Drive

As mentioned above, if your drive is logically corrupt and displaying errors, these methods will certainly help you access your data from corrupt USB.

Methods 1: Assign the Drive Letter

If you thumb drive is not assigned properly or assigned with an incorrect drive letter, you end up receiving USB errors and cannot access data on it.

    1.  First, right-click Start button -> Click on the Disk ManagementDisk Management to fix corrupt USB
    2. Right-click on your corrupted USB drive -> Select Change Drive Letter and Paths…
      Disk management to recover corrupt USB
    3. Now, click on the drive letter -> Change button. Select a different letter from the drop-down list and Click OK.Disk management- change drive letter
      Once the process is completed, try to access your USB using Windows explorer and see if you are able to access the files from USB.

Method 2: Update the USB Device Drivers

Sometimes, when drivers are not updated, you might end up encountering errors like USB not recognized. Reinstalling or updating would solve the issue.

    1. Right-click the Start icon and click on Device ManagerDevice manager to recover corrupt USB
    2. Click on Disk drives, right-click your USB, and click Uninstall device.Device Manager-update disk drivers

Once you complete the steps, remove your USB then plug it again, this automates the latest drivers to be downloaded and installed automatically.

Methods 3: View hidden files using CMD

If your files are hidden due to viruses or any bad sectors on USB, this will help you fix the bad sectors and enable you to view the hidden files.

    1.   Type CMD on search bar >> Run as Administrator
    2.   Type the following commands on the command prompt window and Replace D with your USB Drive letter

      a. To Check bad sectors: type chkdsk D: /f /r and press EnterCHKDSK to corrupt USB recoveryb. To unhide the files: type attrib -h -r -s /s /d D:*.* and press EnterCHKDSK to unhide files in USB

Make sure, your USB is not write protected, if the USB is write protected, you will not be able to access the drive via CHKDSK as well.

Method 4: An Absolute Way to Recover Files from Corrupt USB Drive

To recover files from corrupt USB all you need is, download and install the USB data recovery software on your computer. Connect your USB drive to the computer and launch the application.

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    1.   Select Recover Drive/Partition options from the main screen, click on Drive/Partition Recovery option.Recover data from corrupt USB
    2.   Select your corrupt USB drive from the listed disks option and click nextSelect corrupt USB drive to recover files
    3.   The algorithm initiates the scan process as soon you select your drive. Once the scanning completes, you will be able to see the recoverable files from the drive.
      Recover files from corrupt USB drive

Select the files you want to recover from the corrupt USB drive and click next. Preview the files and Save them in a desired location. Make sure you save them in a different location as saving the files on the original location might damage the existing files on the drive.



Data loss due to corruption is inevitable. With the help of above-mentioned recovery methods, you will be able to recover data from a corrupt USB drive without any hassle. A few methods will help you access the data from the drive but cannot assure complete recovery. In such a situation, you can rely on SFWare data recovery software to retrieve corrupt USB. Also, it is recommended to always keep backup of your important data to avoid any data loss conditions. 


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