How do I fix a bad USB drive?
Question by Simen /

After a few experiments, my USB drive suddenly stopped working. Windows says that I have to format it, but I haven’t found any tools able to do it. Some tools says bad disc, the built-in tool in Ubuntu says:

“Error creating partition table: helper exited with exit code 1: Error calling fsync(2) on /dev/sdb: Input/output error”
and others can’t even find the drive.

Is there any way to fix it, or is it better to just buy a new one?

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Answers (23)
  • Allen

    Thanks for the help.
    HP USB tool fixed mine fine.
    My problem was that my USB stick showed up as needing to be formatted, but Windows wouldn’t do it.
    Thank you HP…and thanks to everyone who shared their comments on this site.
    Nite nite

  • tenzin

    Hey, if you still have this issue. I had issue where my flash drive was empty and when i right click on properties, it showed that my usb drive was full.( im using windows). So i ended up reformatting the drive.
    basically, you are reformatting the drive so backup all the files. **
    right click on the E:\\ icon on my computer, then there go to “format” .
    here was my settings
    File systems FAT32 Allocation unit size “Default allocation size” and
    Volume label PENDRIVE.
    on Format options check “quick format. ”
    Had this issue, thought it was something do with my usb port but was not. and i got my 4GB flash drive working again.
    Good luck

    • tenzin

      Nevermind, seems like this option has been suggested below.

  • Simen

    None of the software above works, so I’ll just buy a new drive instead.
    Thanks for helping me anyway.

    • Anonymous

      Download Neo Tools and see if will help the format
      http://www.box.net/shared/9hgp81ndgs

      Try MPTOOLS to repair USB key
      http://www.myblog.bloggybloggy.com/usb-key-fix-mptools-11-05-2008/

    • Simen

      Neo tools failed too (USB Device not found).
      Badblocks didn’t seem to help much.
      Windows error-checking told me to format the floppy (!) before checking.
      MPTOOLS couldn’t find the drive either.

    • Mjevolve

      told you mate , 
      the drive is damaged beyond recognition by any software , 
      let alone trying to repair it .! 

      dont waste your time ,
      go for a replacement if under warranty 
      or 
      get a branded new one of high quality .

      i would highly recommend Patriot Drives .
      lil expensive but top of line with best performance benchmarks ..!  :)

    • Mjevolve

      another brand i highly recommend is Mushkin Pen Drives .
      one of the best ..!

    • Anonymous

      Try this
      http://www.apacer.com/en/support/downloads/Repair_v2.9.1.1.zip
      0B,00,0,1,1,487,254,63,31391492 the last number by multiplying (7847873 * 4)
      http://en.kioskea.net/forum/affich-73511-how-to-format-kingston-flash-4-gb

      PTEDIT
      ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/english_us_canada/tools/pq/utilities/PTEDIT32.zip
      some says run PTEDIT in Compatibility Mode when using Windows 7 but setting the compatibility option to ‘Windows XP SP3.

      to format with windows
      1. Go to start button on windows.

      2. Type “cmd” and right click on “cmd” and click “Run as Administrator”

      3. C:Windowssystem32>

      4. Now type : chkdsk : /f

      For e.g If my hard disk is named “f” then just type ———- chkdsk f: /f

    • Simen

      It’s dead, I give up.
      CHKDSK says:
      “File system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW disks.”
      PTEDIT and the other one you mentioned can’t find the drive.

    • Anonymous

      If you don’t require the data, here is what you need to do:

      – Go to My
      Computer, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management.

      Go to Storage > Disk Managment group on the left, and then right
      click on your USB drive on the right.
      – From here, you should be able to
      remove the RAW patition and then create a new one as FAT.

      if you have another usb key with the same size then use HDHacker
      http://dimio.altervista.org/eng/
      1) with HDHacker save BootSector_DriveF.dat from the functional usb key
      2)insert your malfunctioned usb key and load BootSector_DriveF.dat to it. 

      if non works then buy a new usb key

    • Simen

      I get a CRC error on the Disk Management, and I don’t have another stick with the same size.

    • Mike

      I suggest to get some branded drive like Corsair, ADATA, OCZ or SanDisk. They are a bit more expensive but they usually come with warranties of 5-10 years.

      When my Voyager GT was damaged (only 6MB usable) I told Corsair support that HP USB Format Tool didn’t work and they gave me an RMA number right away. I only had to pay shipping to them, exchange and return was free of charge.

    • Mike

      I suggest to get some branded drive like Corsair, ADATA, OCZ or SanDisk. They are a bit more expensive but they usually come with warranties of 5-10 years.

      When my Voyager GT was damaged (only 6MB usable) I told Corsair support that HP USB Format Tool didn’t work and they gave me an RMA number right away. I only had to pay shipping to them, exchange and return was free of charge.

  • Mjevolve

    i would also like to recommend GParted (  http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php  ) .

    its one of the most powerful partition editors and disk analyzers which uses the Linux environment .

    many times for me most of the other more common and popular tools have failed in the job which GParted completed easily .

    its easy to operate , just follow the instructions in the link i posted , and you shall be good to go …

    • Simen

      The disk don’t even show up in GParted :(

    • Mjevolve

      hello Simen , 
      well, this is for the first time i am getting to know that GPart dint “find” the drive. usually the notion goes , that if GPart couldnt do anything about your drive , then chances are that nothing else would work ..!

      most likely , the drive is physically damaged beyond recognition by any app .

      so you are out of luck and would have to go for a replacement or a new one …..

  • FIDELIS

    Hello, without having the disk on hand, it is hard to say.  You can try the tool provided above.  If it is the hardware failing, I would say it would be too costly for you and therefore not worth it, unless you have information you can not afford to loose stored on it. 

    Now, there are a couple of programs that can help.  The only way of finding out if they work for you is by trying them.  Keep in mind, that these two programs are heavy on your drive and they take a long time to run, regardless of how fast your disk is.  They would also tell you if they can run or not because like I said before, they are heavy on your disk and if your disk is on the way out, they would finish killing it.  Both of them are paid softwares but they are worth the price.  The first one is called:

    hdd regenerator:  http://www.dposoft.net/

    If you download the trial version, it will show what it can recover but it will not let you repair the disk.

    The second software is:

    spinrite:

    http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm

    Both of these software have worked miracles for me in the past.  They do what they claim to do.  Keep in mind that if your disk is completely dead, there is no software that can help you.

  • Mike

    Since you encounter an I/O error I would first try another USB Port on your system.

    On Windows you can always try the HP USB Format Tool which often works wonders.

    Other then that I would say the USB connector or internal storage on the drive is damaged. I suggest to check the manufacturers site for a possible warranty exchange.

    • Simen

      HP USB Format Tool says: “Device media is write-protected.”

    • Mike

      Since you already tried Linux you can rule out the Windows write protection.

      I assume if your USB device does have some sort of hardware write protection e.g. a lock switch, keylock or fingerprint you already tried that too?

      The only other tool I can think of is HDD LLF.

      If this doesn’t work I would say your only chance is the official manufacturers support or maybe a warranty exchange.

    • Simen

      The HDD Low Format Tool also fail. (format error)

    • Simen

      Forgot to mention it in my other post, but I have tried all the USB ports on two computers. Same result on all ports. :(