6 Methods to Recover Files From Broken USB Drive

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In today’s digital age, USB drives are ubiquitous tools for transferring and storing data. However, they’re not immune to issues, and a broken USB drive can be a nightmare, especially if you have important files stored on it. But fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore six effective methods to recover files from a broken USB drive and get you back on track.

Understanding the Problem

The Dilemma of Broken USB Drives

A broken USB drive can manifest in various ways, from physical damage like bent connectors or a cracked casing to logical issues such as corrupted file systems or unrecognized drives by the operating system. These problems can render your USB drive inaccessible, making it seem like your files are lost forever.

Potential Causes of USB Drive Breakdown

  1. Physical Damage: Dropping the USB drive, exposing it to extreme temperatures, or mishandling can lead to physical damage.
  2. File System Corruption: Improper ejection, power surges, or malware attacks can corrupt the file system of the USB drive.
  3. Manufacturing Defects: Sometimes, USB drives can fail due to manufacturing defects, although this is relatively rare.

Solutions to Recover Files

1. Data Recovery Software

Data recovery software can be a lifesaver when it comes to retrieving files from a broken USB drive. Programs like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, Disk Drill, and Recuva are popular choices. These tools employ advanced algorithms to scan the drive for lost or inaccessible files, allowing you to recover them with ease.

2. Professional Data Recovery Services

In cases of severe physical damage or complex issues, seeking the help of professional data recovery services may be your best bet. Companies like DriveSavers and Secure Data Recovery specialize in recovering data from damaged storage devices, including USB drives.

3. Utilize Command Prompt (Windows)

Windows users can leverage the Command Prompt to attempt data recovery from a broken USB drive. Using commands like CHKDSK (Check Disk) or DISKPART can help repair file system errors and recover files from the drive.

4. Try Disk Utility (Mac)

Mac users can use Disk Utility to diagnose and repair issues with their USB drives. This built-in tool can help you verify and repair disk permissions, as well as fix disk errors that may be causing the drive to malfunction.

5. Manual Repair Techniques

For physically damaged USB drives, you can try DIY repair techniques such as straightening bent connectors or replacing the USB connector altogether. However, proceed with caution, as improper handling can further damage the drive.

6. Backup and Restore

Prevention is always better than cure. Regularly backing up your files to cloud storage or an external hard drive can ensure that you never lose important data, even if your USB drive becomes inaccessible.


Q: Can I recover files from a physically damaged USB drive?
A: Yes, in many cases, data recovery software or professional services can retrieve files from physically damaged USB drives, depending on the extent of the damage.

Q: How long does data recovery take?
A: The time taken for data recovery depends on various factors such as the size of the drive, the extent of damage, and the method used. It can range from a few minutes to several hours.

Q: Can I recover files from a USB drive with a corrupted file system?
A: Yes, data recovery software often includes features to recover files from drives with corrupted file systems by scanning for lost or inaccessible data.

Q: Will formatting the USB drive erase my files permanently?
A: Formatting a USB drive will erase all data on it, but it’s still possible to recover files using data recovery software before new data overwrites the old ones.

Q: What should I do if my computer doesn’t recognize the USB drive?
A: Try connecting the USB drive to a different USB port or computer to rule out port or system issues. If it still isn’t recognized, it may be a sign of a more significant problem with the drive.

Q: Are there any free data recovery solutions available?
A: Yes, some data recovery software offer free versions with limited features. However, for more comprehensive recovery, you may need to invest in a paid version or professional services.

Technical Terms

  1. File System: The structure used by an operating system to organize and store files on a storage device.
  2. CHKDSK: A Windows utility used to check the integrity of the file system and fix errors on hard drives and external storage devices.
  3. Disk Utility: A built-in macOS tool that allows users to manage disks and volumes, including formatting, partitioning, and repairing disk errors.


  1. Regular Backups: Always back up your important files to prevent data loss in case of USB drive failure.
  2. Handle with Care: Treat your USB drive gently to avoid physical damage that can lead to data loss.
  3. Use Reliable Recovery Software: Invest in reputable data recovery software or services for the best chance of successful file recovery.


Recovering files from a broken USB drive can be a challenging task, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s often possible to retrieve your valuable data. Whether you opt for data recovery software, professional services, or DIY methods, don’t lose hope – your files may still be within reach. Remember to handle your USB drives with care and implement regular backup strategies to minimize the risk of data loss in the future.