How to Recover Files from Corrupted USB Flash Drives? [2024]

With the appropriate techniques and tools, you can effortlessly recover files from corrupted USB flash drives. Check out the detailed info and guides here.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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“How do I recover a corrupted USB?”

Thumb drives have revolutionized the world of computers, surpassing the limitations of floppy disks and time-consuming CDs. With a flash drive, you can effortlessly save and share files with friends and colleagues by plugging them into a USB port.

However, there comes a dreadful moment when you insert the flash drive into your device, hoping to access a crucial file or enjoy a movie, only to discover that the drive is unreadable. The need to recover those files becomes urgent.

Why did your USB flash drives go corrupted?

USB flash drives can become corrupted due to various factors, and it's crucial to grasp these causes to determine the most effective data recovery approach.

✐ File System corruption: When the file system on your USB becomes corrupted or displays as RAW, accessing it becomes impossible, leading to potential file loss. Thus, you need to recover data from RAW USB.


✐ Power issues: Insufficient power supply or sudden power outages can result in data corruption during file transfers.

✐ Improper removal: Modern operating systems emphasize safely ejecting flash drives to prevent corruption caused by abrupt interruptions to read/write processes.

✐ Bad blocks: Flash-based storage devices consist of numerous small blocks with a limited lifespan. When these blocks exceed their capacity, they may malfunction and cause data corruption.

✐ Physical damage: Physical damage like jolting/dropping can influence the USB flash drive's stability, leading to corruption.

Is it possible to recover files from a corrupted flash drive?

Absolutely! You can recover files from a corrupted USB flash drive. The first action upon discovering a corrupted flash drive is to stop using the device immediately. This increases your chances of successfully retrieving the missing data.

Continually using the drive can worsen the corruption or overwrite the intended files for recovery. So please cease using the USB and then check the following methods to perform USB data recovery.

Simple methods to recover files from corrupted USB drives

This section explores two feasible solutions to retrieve files from corrupted USB drives.

The first method introduces a data rescue app that is suitable for file recovery on damaged or inaccessible flash drives. The second method involves leveraging CMD commands to regain access to the data on the corrupted drive.

Method 1. Recover data from corrupted USB drive efficiently & safely

When it comes to USB recovery software, our preferred choice is MyRecover. This robust tool provides a reliable solution for recovering data from corrupted USB flash drives, even if they do not appear in File Explorer.

MyRecover supports scanning RAW USB drives and recovering files from drives that prompt for formatting. With its versatility, it proves valuable in various data recovery scenarios.

Let's delve deeper into the features and usage of MyRecover for retrieving files from a corrupted USB drive.

  • Easy: The software automatically initiates quick and deep scans to maximize file recovery.
  • Fast & Secure: MyRecover offers fast recovery speed and boasts a high success rate.
  • Convenient: Recovered files retain their original names, formats, and paths.
  • Wide File Type Support: It enables the recovery of images, audio, videos, Word documents, Excel files, and more from USB flash drives. Additionally, it extends its capabilities to SD cards, internal or external hard drives (HDDs or SSDs), and other storage devices.
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To recover your deleted files, download MyRecover, the reliable data recovery software. For unlimited file recovery, consider upgrading MyRecover. Currently, you could choose from 3 subscription plans: Monthly, Yearly, and Lifetime.

Due to the frequent use of USB flash drives (such as data writing, reading, and deleting), files on the USB are majorly fragmented. Thus, MyRecover uses Deep Scan to locate them. You could find them under the Other missing files folder.

Step 1. Launch MyRecover, the top data recovery software > Hover the mouse over the USB drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. The program will conduct a deep scanning process to promptly locate all the deleted files on the USB drive. You can even begin file recovery without waiting for the scanning process to complete.


Step 3. All detected files will be categorized into different types. Check and choose the wanted files and click Recover x files for easy recovery. It is advised to store the recovered files somewhere safe other than the original location.


Thus, you could successfully recover files from corrupted USB flash drives.

Method 2. Recover data from corrupted USB drive using CMD commands

When dealing with a corrupted pen drive and the need to access its stored data, the "chkdsk" and "recover" command in CMD can prove valuable. These Windows inbuilt apps fix potential file system issues and recover readable info. Thus, it can help you regain access to data on a corrupted USB flash drive.

In this section, we will guide you through how to retrieve files from corrupted USB drives using "chkdsk" CMD commands.

If meeting CHKDSK not working issues, check the tutorial to fix it.

Step 1. Start the Command Prompt by inputting “command prompt” in the Windows search bar. Remember to choose Run as administrator.


Step 2. In the prompt, type "chkdsk H: /f /r" (replace H with the drive letter of the corrupt USB drive) and press Enter.


Also, there are some more available parameters.

  • The "/f" parameter is used to fix any found errors.
  • The "/r" parameter can fix errors, search for bad sectors, recover readable info, and mark the space as usable.
  • To forcefully dismount the corrupted disk, add the "/x" parameter.
  • Without any parameters, the command displays disk status without fixing errors.

Method 3. Data Recovery from Corrupted Flash Drives using Windows File Recovery

While local drives allow for file restoration through backup tools and restoring previous versions, USB drives directly delete data, making it seemingly unrecoverable.

What’s more, the functions of “CHKDSK” and “recover” are too limited and inconvenient. However, file recovery tools such as Windows File Recovery can be a solution.

This tool enables users to recover deleted and missing files from healthy, corrupted, or formatted hard drives in batch using commands.

It employs recovery modes and switches to scan for the desired files. The appropriate recovery modes depend on the file system of the hard drive.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

To determine the file system, right-click the USB flash drive in This PC and select Properties.


With the file system and recovery mode determined, you could use switches to target your files.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment

For detailed instructions on how to use Windows File Recovery and understand recovery modes and switches, refer to the provided guide. Now, learn how to retrieve files from corrupted USB devices via Windows File Recovery.

This app is only available for Windows 10 2004 (Build 19041) and above.

Step 1. Go to Microsoft Store, search for Windows File Recovery, click "Get," and then open the software.


Step 2. Input the recovery command: "winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]."


If you receive the message: “Windows File Recovery failed to create destination folder”, it might indicate that the command syntax is wrong. Please check the tutorial to correct the syntax.

Ensure that the source drive differs from the target drive. For example, using the command "winfr F: D: /extensive /n *.jpg" enables the recovery of all pictures from the USB drive.

How to avoid USB flash drive corruption?

Taking proper precautions to protect your flash drives can minimize data loss. Common portable USB drives are not particularly durable and can easily be damaged if not handled correctly.

Here are some tips to help preserve your USB flash drives and the data they contain:

  • Use a container or closure to protect the USB from being dropped or broken.
  • Avoid exposing the drive to extreme heat or moisture, as both conditions can lead to drive failure or data corruption.
  • Remove the drive from your computer or mobile device when not in use and cover it or cap it to protect the connector and contacts.
  • Safely eject the drive from your computer by using the appropriate option in the operating system. Do not forcibly remove the connected devices.
  • Limit the computers you connect the drive to ones that you know are free of malware and viruses.
  • Prevent directly editing files on the USB drive. USB drives can be damaged by defragmentation and do not benefit from this process.
  • Back up your important files using professional data backup software regularly.

Following these practices can help keep your flash drives safe and minimize the risk of data loss.


While a damaged or corrupted USB flash drive may initially seem like a major problem, there are solutions available to restore functionality and recover data.

By following the tips provided and utilizing tools like MyRecover, Command Prompt, or Windows File Recovery, you increase your chances to recover files from corrupted USB flash drives. These tools are free to download, so give them a try, and good luck in recovering your files.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.