How to Repair a Flash Drive

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How to Repair a Flash Drive

Given the prevalence of technology in modern society, flash drives have become a common and almost necessary object for people of all ages and occupations. Whether a person is a working adult or a child working on a homework assignment, flash drives make file sharing and storage incredibly easy, thanks to their small size and simple format. However, flash drives are prone to damage, sometimes at the most inopportune times. Although flash drives are inexpensive at many electronics stores and on eBay, it is sometimes necessary to attempt to repair a broken flash drive. For users who need to repair flash drives, there is some hope.

Are the Files Valuable?

When it comes to repairing a flash drive, the first and most important step is to determine if the user's files on the drive are of great value. This question is important because an at-home solution to fix a flash drive comes with a certain amount of risk. The possibility exists that an unprofessional approach to fixing a flash drive could permanently damage the drive to the point that the files become unrecoverable. Of course, the possibility also exists that a simple error or misalignment occurred when connecting the flash drive, in which case the drive repair is very easy.

Reformatting and Reinstalling the Drive

One of the options available to a flash drive owner is to reformat the flash drive. This option works when the computer recognises the flash drive, but the user cannot access the files. The only downside to using this method is that it erases any files on the drive. This option is best for a user who does not require the retrieval of files on the drive and merely wants to restore the drive for future use.

The first step for reformatting the drive involves clicking on the flash drive when it shows up on the computer. A message may appear telling the user to reformat the drive. When the message appears, the user clicks 'Reformat' to go to a panel of options for the drive. A warning message usually appears to warn the user that reformatting the drive erases all the contents.

Reinstalling the Drive

Another similar option is to reinstall the flash drive. This works by going to the computer's device manager and looking for 'unknown device' under disk drives. Right clicking on the unknown device allows the user to uninstall. Unplugging the flash drive and then inserting it once again causes the drive to reappear fully functional.

Physically Damaged Drive

If a USB drive does not register on a computer after following the procedures above, the device may have physical damage. Even if the device does not appear broken, the smallest of bumps or accidental drops causes internal misalignments, breaks, or chips. If this is the case, the interior components in the flash drive may require examination.

Most flash drives open easily with a flathead screwdriver. Because flash drives are typically small, a magnifying glass often helps a user examine the drive, especially small components like the drive's circuit board. This is often a pivotal step in deciding whether a drive repair is possible. If the circuit board appears damaged in any way, a professional may be necessary for further help, as the complexity of the circuit board makes it difficult for the average user.

On the other hand, if the circuit board does not appear damaged, the user can check to see if any other areas of the flash drive appear damaged, such as chipping in certain areas or detached pieces. Although it may seem like only a professional eye can spot such issues, they are sometimes easy to identify. It is also quite common to damage the crystal on a flash drive. If this is the case, the crystal is replaceable.

Method of Repair


Do Not Use

Reformatting the Drive

Erases all files and essentially restarts the drive

Valuable files that require recovery

Reinstalling the Drive

Possibly erases files

Safest when files are disposable

Valuable files that require recovery

Physical Repair

Possibility of saving the current files, depending on the damage

Valuable files that require recovery

Each method of repair is slightly different from the others. The differences are sometimes subtle, but they can make a big difference to the state of the flash drive's files upon completion of the repair.

How to Buy Flash Drives on eBay

Many people fear taking technological issues into their own hands and turn to professional technicians for easier solutions. However, that is not always necessary. Users can eliminate many technological issues with flash drives with just a bit of troubleshooting knowledge. The tools for such repairs are often available on eBay. The site allows users to quickly and easily sort through tools and information to find the perfect solutions with very few headaches. eBay Deals makes shopping on the site even easier, as it provides discounted items to make the shopping process even more cost efficient and user friendly.

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