How to Fix a Corrupted Pen Drive or USB Stick [Windows 11, 10]

fix corrupted pen drive

A Pen Drive, or a USB stick as some may call it, has become part of our daily lives with being able to store files and transfer from and to them seamlessly. But everything has its share of disadvantages. A pen drive is prone to get corrupted sometimes, with fixing it becoming a daily task for some. So let’s list a few methods that might help you get your pen drive back to its original state.

fix corrupted pen drive

What Causes a Pen Drive to Get corrupted?

  1. Physical Damages: Pen drives are usually small to make it easy for the users to carry them around, making them weak and prone to damage.
  2. Ejecting the Pen Drive incorrectly: Sometimes, in a hurry, we might remove the pen drive from the PC, which can cause the pen drive to get corrupted. Always remember to Eject your pen drive from My computer before removing it from the PC.
  3. Virus/Malware Infection: A virus/malware that might find its way into your pen drive can cause the files within it and the pen drive itself to get corrupted completely.
  4. OS corrupting the Pen Drive: An Operating system is what carries out the functions relating to a pen drive like reading/writing. If the OS is corrupt, it may also corrupt the pen drive.

Fix Corrupted Pen Drive or USB Stick

Before you go into the steps or methods to fix the pen drive, the first and foremost step is to try a different USB port or test the pen drive on another laptop/PC. Yes, as silly as this sounds, it is one of the basic fixes that can work when one’s pen drive isn’t working as expected. Just try plugging in the pen drive in a different port or on a different PC/Laptop if one has access to the same. If this doesn’t work out, move on to the other fixes below.

1. Re-installing USB Drivers Using Device Manager

Sometimes a faulty/outdated driver can be the reason behind your corrupted pen drive. You can fix this by re-installing proper drivers best suited for the pen drive using Device manager.

Step 1: Connect your pen drive to a working USB port on your PC/Laptop

Step 2: Right-click on the “My Computer” or “This PC” icon, which is present on your desktop, and click on “Manage” on the list that pops up.

Step 3: Proceed to click on “Device Manager” on the left-handed menu. Another easy way to open Device manager is to search for the same on Windows Search Bar.

Step 4: On the list of devices that appear on the screen, double-click on “Disk Drives” and find your Pen drive in the dropdown list.

Step 5: Right-click on your Pen Drive from the list and Choose “Uninstall Device.”

Step 6: Remove your pen drive and Reboot/Restart your PC.

Plug the pen drive back into the USB port on your PC, and it should start working now.

2. Running Error Checking On The Corrupted Pen Drive

Error checking is a pre-installed tool on Windows which checks the drive for file system errors. To access this tool, follow the steps mentioned below.

Step 1: Connect your pen drive to a working USB port on your PC/Laptop

Step 2: Navigate to “My computer” or “This PC.” 

Step 3: Right-click on the corrupted pen drive and click on Properties.

Step 4: In the tab that pops up, click on “Tools.”

Step 5: You can spot the Error Checking tool here. Proceed to click the Check button to find out and fix the issues in the pen drive.

3. Formatting The Pen Drive

Sometimes a simple format of the pen drive can fix the issue, but please note that this will erase your pen drive data completely.

Step 1: Connect your pen drive to a working USB port on your PC/Laptop

Step 2: Head over to “My Computer” or “This PC.” 

Step 3: Right-click on the pen drive and click on “Format” on the menu that pops up.

Step 4: On the new tab that appears, click “Restore Device Defaults.” Then, start the formatting process by clicking on “Start.”

Restore device defaults
Restore device defaults

Once the formatting process is complete, the pen drive should start working.

4. Changing The Drive Letter

Sometimes our PC assigns a wrong letter to the drive which may cause the pen drive to get corrupted. A fix for this is manually assigning a letter for the drive. To do so, follow the steps mentioned below:

Step 1: Connect your pen drive to a working USB port on your PC/Laptop

Step 2: Right-click on the “My Computer” or “This PC” icon, which is present on your desktop, and click on “Manage” on the list that pops up.

Step 3: Click on “Disk Management” under “Storage” on the left-handed menu.

Disk Management
Disk Management

Step 4: Right-click on your pen drive, which is visible at the bottom named Disk #  ( Here # being your Disk number)and click on “Change drive letter and paths.”

Change Drive Letter and Paths

Step 5: A popup box will appear on the screen, select your drive, which is signified by a letter, and once it’s selected (highlighted in blue), click on Change.

Change Drive Letters and Paths

Step 6: Click the checkbox next to “Assign the following drive letter” and in the dropdown box, choose any letter not being used by other storage media and click on “OK.” 

Enter New Drive Letter or Path

Step 7: You will receive a popup message saying, “Some programs that rely on drive letters may not run correctly. Do you want to continue ?”, Proceed to click on Yes.

After a few seconds, the drive letter will be changed accordingly, and you can access your pen drive.

Some Programs may not run

5. Checking For Bad Sectors Within The Pen Drive

In some situations, a few sectors within the pen drive gets corrupted, making the whole pen drive completely unusable. To check and fix these factors, Follow the steps mentioned below.

Step 1: Connect your pen drive to a working USB port on your PC/Laptop

Step 2: Search for “CMD” on your Windows Search bar and click on “Run As administrator” in the menu on the right side or RIght click on CMD and click on “Run as administrator”

Search Command Prompt

Step 3: Type chkdsk #: /f /r /x (Replace “#” with the letter of your pen drive, which you can find from My Computer or This PC) in the Command Prompt window and press Enter to check and fix for errors.


6. Reformatting The Corrupted Pen Drive Using CMD 

We have listed a set of solutions above in this article. If you are still unable to fix your pen drive, you can try reformatting the corrupted pen drive using CMD.

Step 1: Connect your pen drive to a working USB port on your PC/Laptop

Step 2: Search for “CMD” on your Windows Search bar and click on “Run as administrator” in the menu on the right side, or right-click on CMD and click on “Run as administrator.

Search Command Prompt

Step 3: In the Command Promot, type Diskpart and press Enter, which should open up Diskpart within CMD.

Command Prompt Diskpart

Step 4: Now Type List Disk and press Enter, and a list of disks should appear starting from Disk 0.

List Disk in Command Prompt

Step 5: After ittype in Select disk # ( Type the Disk number of your pen drivefrom the list instead of #) and press Enter. Be extra careful while Selecting the Disk, as you don’t want to format your Internal Hard Drives.

Select Disk 1

Step 6: Next uptype in Clean and press Enter, successfully cleaning the pen drive.

List Disk

Step 7: Again, type Create Partition Primary and press Enter to create a partition successfully.

Step 8: Type Active and press Enter to mark the created partition as Active.

Disk Part Complete

Step 9: Type Select Partition 1 and press Enter.

Disk Part Process On

Step 10: lastly type format fs=fat32 and press Enter. Please wait a while to let Diskpart format your pen drive, after which it shows “Diskpart successfully formatted your volume.”

Disk Part Process

After the formatting process completes, close CMD, and the pen drive should be working now.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a corrupted Pen Drive be fixed?

Yes, a corrupted pen drive can be fixed. This article explains several ways to fix a corrupted pen drive above. Try the methods mentioned above to fix your pen drive.

How does a Pendrive get corrupted?

As mentioned above, it can get corrupted for various reasons like Physical damage, Removing the pen drive incorrectly, Virus/Malware infection, or the OS corrupting the pen drive.

How do I know if my Pendrive is corrupted?

There are several ways to find out if your pen drive is corrupted. The PC might not detect the pen drive; you might not be able to access the pen drive, an error message being shown while inserting the pen drive or accessing it.

How do I prevent my Pendrive from getting corrupted?

Always ensure to Eject the device from My Computer or This PC before removing it from the PC. Do not remove the pen drive nor shut down the PC when the pen drive is in use.

Bottom Line

A corrupted pen drive can be a real headache, and we hope with this detailed guide, we were able to fix your pen drive using your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC. Have any more questions, or Did this guide help you out? Let us know in the comments below.

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Posted by
Bhanu Pratap

Hi! I am Bhanu Pratap, co-founder of Yorker Media Group. A die-heart fan of tech and keeps track of every little happening of the same. When not writing, I usually keep myself busy on YouTube making and exploring new and awesome tech content.

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