Storage forum


Corrupted USB flash drive

by thiusernameisnottaken / February 1, 2016 10:06 AM PST


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 (the pop-up window doesn't even appear). When it does show up as removable storage, I have no way of accessing it, since whatever I do (double click, right-click on it) 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 7 by the way). When I unplug the USB drive everything comes back to normal. I tried accessing it via CMD and tried to run the chkdsk as well, but nothing happens. I have also tried plugging the drive in different ports and different computers, the same issue arises everytime. Formatting the drive is out of question since everything just ends up freezing, so I have no way of doing so.

Any ideas? I would like to make the flash drive functional again.

Any help is appreciated!

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Clarification Request
Did you try formatting it?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 1, 2016 10:14 AM PST

You'll have to try formatting it with other than Windows. I like "HP USB Formatter" (see google) and of course formatting in Linux (all hail the most powerful?)

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Yes, I have tried.
by thiusernameisnottaken / February 1, 2016 12:04 PM PST

I tried formatting it with that HP USB Format tool, but the program just ended up freezing. I don't really have an actual Linux OS laying around, so I have to find another method. I do have, however, a Linux OS (Zorin) in VirtualBox, but it doesn't recognize the flash drive at all.

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This is a sign the drive has a hard failure.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 1, 2016 12:41 PM PST
In reply to: Yes, I have tried.
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This Video Won't Help
by Jared Palmer / February 24, 2016 10:18 AM PST

If the thumb drive is causing the system to hang it's definitely not an issue with the USB connector having a broken contact. In such a case it just wouldn't do anything.

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Having seen such hang Windows
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 24, 2016 10:25 AM PST
In reply to: This Video Won't Help

And repairing a cracked solder joint then it working in Windows, I'll have to disagree. Windows is odd like that.

All Answers

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Read this
by jackd1839 / February 10, 2016 11:00 PM PST
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it's not possible to fix it
by michaelshepard2015 / February 23, 2016 6:13 PM PST

the USB drive must have been phycially damaged, and it's hard to fix it. there must be many bad sectors on it. if there are not important files on the drive, you can buy a new one and replace it.

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by Jared Palmer / February 24, 2016 10:36 AM PST

If you're hoping to "fix" the drive in hopes of continued use, then you're out of luck. If you're hoping to just be able to get the data back, then you might have a shot. It's possible that it's freezing because of bad sectors in the file system. Yes thumb drives get bad sectors too.

You can try to image the data out of the drive using a tool called ddrescue: tutorial here

I would first clone it forward, then use the reverse direction trigger to clone it in reverse. You may have to power cycle in between passes as it'll likely become unresponsive. Then you may have to run some data recovery software against the copy you create. It's a bit of a pain, but if the data is worthwhile it may be the only option short of professional recovery.

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