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I have a USB drive that I think is broken because all the files on it keeps getting corrupt. So I tried to format it and see if it helps. But just before the format is done I get an error that the drive could not be formatted.

Is the USB-drive broken or should I just make a quick format?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

USB drives are cheap. Is it really worth putting your faith in a drive that has already shown signs of unreliability?

It does sound like the drive is toast, but even if there are things you could do to potentially "fix" it, it's safer to just get a new one than to risk your data all over again.

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Thanks, I'll get a new one. Was going to do it nonetheless but I was thinking of returning this for store credit which is why I wondered if it was positively broken :) –  Oskar Kjellin Jun 22 '10 at 8:34

If you have linux, you could use dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb or whatever the USB is shown as, and then gparted to create a new partition table on it.

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often you can also just open the usb case, take out the internal harddrive and connect it directly through IDE or SATA to your PC. I managed to get back my data once using this way.

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I've recovered a supposedly broken flash drive by deleting the partition table and creating a new one. Then I created a partition and formatted it, and that worked OK.

Having said that, they're quite cheap, so I'd return it as broken and get a new one.

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Quick formats usually just write over the partition table whereas a full format will supposedly check each sector (or unit or whatever).

If its failing, you might have a problem somewhere that can't be skipped. Usually, they just mark that area as unusable and you have less space, but overall its still functional.

You may try wiz-loz's answer, but if that doesn't work or the drive is cheap, just get a new one.

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Many vendors provide a low level formatting utility. However I tried them two times (trascend and dikom) and both times even the low level formatter wasn't able to restore the device... when the flash is broken, the pendrives is just a useless silicon and plastic brick...

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