By Emily / Last Updated October 28, 2019

Corrupted flash drive

“Hi, experts. When I plug this USB flash drive into my computer it takes a long time to show up in as a drive in My Computer. When it does show up as removable storage, I have no way of accessing it, since whatever I do, the My Computer file just freezes, it stops responding, and whatever program I try to access it with just ends up freezing as well (I use Windows 10 by the way). Sometimes, it even displays a message prompting to format this flash drive. Is it corrupted? If that’s the case, anyone can tell me how to fix a corrupted flash drive without formatting? I don’t want to lose data on it. Any help is appreciated.”

When the USB flash drive is corrupted or damaged, it will stop working, become unreadable or fail to get recognized, then you will have no access to files within it and be troubled by various error messages such as “X:\ is not accessible the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable”, or “Please insert a disk into Removable Disk (X:)”, etc.

Common reasons that cause flash drive corruption

In order to fix USB flash drive not working issue effectively, it is advised to have a better understanding of what causes corruption. And knowing the main causes can help prevent flash drive corruption from occurring in the future.

  • Virus and malware attack to the partition table.

  • Sudden power failure when you view or make operation on the stored data.

  • Abrupt removal of memory card during the data transfer or read/write process.

  • Bad sector generates in the flash drive.

  • Internal file system errors.

  • Improper or accidental formatting of flash drive.

  • Drive letter conflict.

  • Damaged partition table.

How to fix a corrupted flash drive without formatting?

Basically, users can format a corrupted or inaccessible USB flash drive to make it functional or usable again, but at the same time, the entire data located inside the drive will be erased all well.

So, if you have any important stored on the damaged flash drive, formatting is not the right option. Then, how to repair a corrupted flash drive without formatting or losing data? Well, there are several solutions that you can apply to fix corrupted flash drive in Windows 10/8/7.

Fix 1. Try other USB ports

Connect USB flash drive to your computer and only find it won’t work later? There is a good chance that the USB port has a problem. Then you can connect the device to another USB port. If it works, then the problem is the first port; if not, please try the below fixes.

Fix 2. Check disk and fix errors

To check disk error and fix it, you can use CHKDSK.exe tool.

Step1. Type “cmd” in the “Search” box and hit “Enter”.Right click Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”.

Step 2. Input “chkdsk g:/f” and press “Enter”. Replace “g” with the drive letter of your corrupted flash drive.

Chkdsk Disk Error

Note: If you get the message reporting “Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restart? (Y/N).”, please type “Y” on the keyboard to make the flash drive to be checked the next time the system restarts.

If your flash drive has become RAW file system, and the CHKDSK tool pops out “The type of the file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives” message, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard (free and compatible with Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista), it can check RAW partition for bad sectors.

Step 1. Download the freeware. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Right click the flash drive partition and select “Check Partition”.

Check RAW Partition

Step 2. For RAW partition, here you can only choose “Check whether there is bad sector on the partition” and click “OK”.

Check Bad Sectors

Step 3. You can tick “Quick Check” and click “Start” to execute the bad sector checking process.

Start Check RAW Partition

Fix 3. Reassign the flash drive with new drive letter

If your USB flash drive is not detected or accessible due to drive letter conflict, you can assign a different new drive letter to it. Steps are as follows.

Step 1. Right click on “This PC/My Computer” and click the “Manage” option to open “Computer Management” window.

Step 2. In the left pane, click the “Disk Management” under “Storage”.

Step 3. Right click on the flash drive volume and select the “Change Drive Letter and Paths”.

Step 4. Click the “Change” button. From the drop-down list, choose an available drive letter and click “OK”.

Assign Drive Letter

Fix 4. Enable or update USB drive

If the USB flash drive is disabled in Device Manager, then it will malfunction, you can enable it in the following steps.

Step 1. Input “Device Manager” in the Search box and hit “Enter” to enter Device Manager window.

Step 2. Expand “Disk driver” and right click the USB flash drive. Select “Enable” in the given options.

Enable Driver

Besides, the outdated device drivers could also result in flash drive not working normally, in such case, you can choose “Update Driver Software…” in the list and follow the prompts to update the disk driver.

Update Driver

Fix 5. Rebuild damaged partition table/MBR

If it is the damaged partition table/MBR that causes the flash drive corruption, you can run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard to rebuild MBR directly, easy and fast.

Step 1. In the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant, right click the USB flash drive and select “Rebuild MBR”.

Rebuild Data Disk MBR

Step 2. Choose an appropriate MBR type for your operating system and click “OK”.

Choose MBR Type

Step 3. Click “Apply” and then “Proceed” to execute the pending operation.

Apply

Final Words

Above is how to fix a corrupted flash drive without formatting. If all methods do not take effects, you can use data recovery software to restore your important data, and then format it directly. If Windows cannot format corrupted USB flash drive, you can switch to AOMEI Partition Assistant as well. To enjoy more amazing functions including recovering lost/deleted partitions, enlarging system drive, etc, you can upgrade to Pro edition.