The problem of the unusable and non-formattable key happens more often than you might think . In these cases the USB stick is impossible to use and even to format. So far we have focused more on how to recover any data from keys that are no longer recognized than how to repair them. For example, we have seen how to recover data from non-formattable USB flash drives and also looked at how to extract data from USB flash drives not recognized by the PC. However, below we will see how to repair a USB device that is in such conditions and then make the USB stick usable again .
Do you have an unusable USB stick ? If for some reason it has stopped working, you will likely find yourself in one of the following scenarios: either the memory is completely exhausted even if there are no files or Windows won’t let you format the drive. In the worst case, the name of the USB drive refuses to appear on your computer.
If you find yourself in any of these scenarios you should know that it may not be entirely the USB drive’s fault. There are many reasons behind these errors. Sometimes there are partition errors which can consume the storage space.
Follow the detailed steps outlined below to repair a non-formattable and unusable USB drive . The goal is to permanently erase the old data and give you a new USB stick.
Note: The following steps are performed on a Windows computer.
1. Detect the damaged drive
If your computer is still able to detect the USB stick, you may know if it has been damaged. Select “Properties” in the drive folder and check the device status. If it says “ This device is working properly “, this USB drive is worth saving.
Don’t worry if you can’t see the USB drive folder. Pay attention to the next steps as they will help you make the USB stick usable again.
2. Clean up USB stick via Diskpart command line
Windows provides a built-in function to format and erase everything on a USB flash drive. This feature is accessed by a simple right click, but at this stage it will probably not work.
If you no longer need the data on the USB stick, the command line tool is the best way to help you get to the root of the problem and fix storage problems once and for all.
On Windows 10, go to the search box and run the command prompt as an administrator.
Make sure that the USB key has already been inserted into a USB port on the computer. As soon as the command prompt window opens, enter the command “ diskpart ” as shown below. It will load a program called “Diskpart”, which is basically Microsoft’s disk partitioning utility. It allows you to view, create, delete or edit any disc.
Write the command ” list disk ” to see the list of every single disk connected to your computer. Here you can easily identify the USB stick based on its size.
Then enter the commandselect disk#. Instead of #, you need to enter the numeric value of the removable drive as shown in the following screenshot. Then you should see a success message like ” Disk # is now the selected disk .”
Warning : do not accidentally select your computer’s hard drive number – in this case it is “0”. You will regret it.
To clean removable media, enter the CLEAN command . This will completely empty the contents of the USB stick. You can check the free space again using the list disk. The USB drive will now be ready for further editing.
3. Reallocate Volume of USB disk from Disk Management
Even after cleaning the USB drive, the computer may not be able to display it. Therefore, you will need to open the DISK MANAGEMENT tool, which is easily accessible from the search menu by typing “disk management” or by typing ” diskmgmt.msc “.
As soon as the console window is open, you will be able to see the disk number of the USB stick. Right click on it and select ” create simple volume “. A pop-up window with the “simple volume wizard” will open.
If the USB drive was identifiable on your computer, you will never see this option. Instead, you will be able to format the disk directly from this menu. There is a reason we had to run “ Diskpart ” in the command prompt before.
After clicking Next, you can specify the volume size for your stick. Select the maximum volume, which is displayed as the default drive in MB.
As soon as the next step appears, select “ Assign Drive Letter “, which allows you to view the pen drive again. We chose “F” in our example.
Format the partition in the next step. This may just be one more step because you have already deleted the data. But it’s always better to be sure.
Click ” Finish ” to complete the simple volume wizard which will now be assigned to the USB drive.
After reallocating the unallocated USB drive space, you will be able to view the USB drive storage again.
4. Use Partition Assistant to optimize the USB drive
You will now be able to use your USB stick again but it is recommended that you use a third party tool to get the USB drive working and optimize disk storage space. For this, there is a good software called “ Partition Assistant “. This tool can help you align to manage any type of disk and also create multiple partitions on USB stick .
Download and install the software.
On the main screen, you can see all the discs and USB drive connected to your computer. On the left you will find all the functions (which are many) for an optimal management of your key or your discs.