[Answered] How to Recover USB Drive without Formatting?

Learn how to recover USB drive without formatting using five efficient fixes on this page. Besides, there’re related tips about formation and data loss prevention tips.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Why does my USB drive suddenly needs formatting?

If your computer reminds you to format your USB drive, which suggests the file system of your USB drive has become corrupted/damaged. And it’s no longer readable by your Windows OS.


In this scenario, many users choose to follow this suggestion to repair bad USB sectors or file systems by performing disk formatting.

How to recover flash drive without formatting?

Since quick format can wipe out all the pen drive data and automatically generate a new file system for further use, plenty of users prefer to recover data from USB stick without formatting. 

To increase the chances of fixing corrupted flash drives without formatting, you’d better avoid taking newly written performances to your USB drive.

Fix 1. Repair bad USB drive sectors via CHKDSK

When it comes to flash drive repair, using CHKDSK is the most straightforward method. Because CHKDSK can examine your disk space and usage and generates a status report for each file system. Discovered/found errors can be displayed in the latter status report.


Without parameters, CHKDSK only displays the status of the volume and doesn’t repair any errors. To repair volume errors, please type command prompts with the /f, /r, /x, or /b parameters.  

Step 1. Connect the USB stick to your Windows and type “cmd” in the search bar. Then select “Run as administrator” to open the command prompt window.


Step 2. Type “chkdsk” in the window.


Step 3. Type “chkdsk d: /f” or “chkdsk d: /r” as you need.


Fix 2. Fix corrupted flash drives via Windows Disk Check utility

If the above complex steps have discouraged you from using CHKDSK, you can make good use of Disk Check to detect and fix corrupted file systems of your connected flash drive. These steps describe how to recover USB drive without formatting.

Step 1. Connect the pen drive to your Windows PC. Then press “Win + E” to open File Explorer.

Step 2. Right-click on your connected USB stick and select Properties. Under the Tools tab, click the “Check” button.


Step 3. Click the “Repair this drive” button and wait patiently.   


Fix 3. Recover data from USB stick without formatting using data recovery software

Wondering how to recover USB drive without formatting? If your needed USB data are not corrupted, you can salvage recoverable USB files from healthy sectors using a professional Windows data recovery tool, MyRecover.

In brief, this fix only can recover deleted files from USB drives without formatting. This case is a little similar to recovering data from hard drives with bad sectors. If you need, please get more details on another page.   

Highlights of MyRecover:    
Powerful features: Recover deleted & lost MS Office files, folders, compressed files, photos, songs, videos, audio, websites, and 200+ file types from HDD, USB, SD cards, etc.
Easy-to-find: During Quick Scan and Deep Scan, you can quickly locate your desired files by Path, Filename, Date, Size, etc.
Convenient: Retain the original Path, Filename, and Format for the deleted files.  
Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.

Don’t hesitate to install MyRecover on your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Windows Server PC now!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Insert your pen drive into your Windows. After running MyRecover, hover the mouse over your connected USB and click Scan.

Choose the RAW Partition Start Scan

Step 2. Filter your needed USB data according to Name, Date, Document Type, or Path. You can also type the file names of your desired USB files in the search bar to quickly locate them.

Scanning RAW Drive

Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Recycle Bin/Other Missing Files folder and select the files you want. Then click “Recover x files” to start Windows data recovery.

Choose Files from RAW Partition to Restore

  • After recovery, please remember to save these retrieved files in another location.
  • To recover a large number of deleted/missing files from your USB, please consider upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition.

Fix 4. Enable, update, or uninstall USB via Device Manager

If your USB flash drive is disabled, it may begin to malfunction. So you need to enable your USB first, after that, you can update or uninstall this driver as you prefer.

Step 1. Type “Device Manager” in the search bar and open it.


Step 2. Go to Disk drives and right-click on your targeted USB drive. Then Enable it.

Step 3. Please select “Update driver” or “Uninstall device” according to your needs.




Fix 5. Assign a new drive letter for USB via Disk Management

An unlettered USB flash drive is one of the possible reasons for the USB not recognized because the Windows OS cannot detect unlettered drives or partitions.

So you’re supposed to make your Windows recognize this pen drive by assigning a new drive letter using Disk Management. Then you’re ready to perform USB data recovery.

Step 1. Connect the USB flash drive to your computer, then press “Win + R” and type “diskmgmt.msc” in the Run box. You can press “OK” or hit “Enter” to open the Disk Management utility.


Step 2. Right-click on your USB drive and select the “Change Drive Letter and Paths” option.


Step 3. Select “Add” to assign a new drive letter to this unlettered USB flash drive.  

Step 4. Select the “Assign the following drive letter” option. Please ensure the newly chosen drive letter is different from all the existing drive letters.


Related Q&A about formation & data loss prevention tips

How to recover USB drive without formatting? You can get five feasible approaches to solve this issue. If you’re interested in disk formatting, please find more details below.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.