Repair a USB stick

Table of contents:

Repair a USB stick
Repair a USB stick

Do you have a USB stick that no longer works? If the hardware is not damaged and you don't mind losing the files, you can try formatting the USB stick. Here we tell you how to do that.


Method 1 of 3: Repairing physical damage

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 1Bullet3

Step 1. Determine how important the files on the USB stick are

If you think your files are too important to risk a DIY attempt, it might be better to find a company that specializes in recovering data from flash drives or USB sticks.

  • These companies have hardware and special tools for repairing printed circuit boards. The better companies can remove the NAND memory chip from the circuit board and then retrieve the stored data.
  • The prices for recovering the data may vary depending on the damage and the type of recovery required.
  • Some data recovery companies offer inquiries for minor to moderate physical/internal damage at a price of less than $200.

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 2

Step 2. Get the necessary tools

If your files aren't important and you want to try it yourself, you'll need:

  • A soldering iron with soldering tin and flux.
  • An old USB cable
  • Cable pliers/stripper
  • A small flat head screwdriver
  • A magnifying glass or loupe
  • Note: These steps only apply if your USB stick has a faulty connector.

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 3

Step 3. Carefully remove the cover from the USB stick with the flat head screwdriver

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 4

Step 4. Use the magnifying glass to inspect the circuit board and solder points

If the circuit board itself is damaged or if solder points are loose, you probably need the help of a professional.

Note: Look at the four solder points that connect the pins of the USB connector to the copper lines on the circuit board. If the connector is broken and the soldering points and printed circuit board are not damaged, you can proceed to the next step

Step 5. Place the USB stick on a hard surface with the connector end facing you and the soldering tips facing up

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 6

Step 6. Use the cable pliers to cut the end of the USB cable

Cut off the 'female' if it is not a 'male to male' cable. Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 7

Step 7. Use the cable stripper to expose approximately 0.6 cm of each of the four cables inside

Or if you don't have an extra USB cable to spare, you may be able to solder pieces of a thin electrical cable to each pin of the faulty USB connector. This is how you make your own mini USB cable. Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 8Bullet2

Step 8. Solder each of the four wires to the four solder points

The colors from left to right are black, green, white and red.

  • Do not change these, because then your stick (and your files) will be irreparably damaged.
  • If you're using your own wires instead of a cable, you simply have to solder each wire directly to the corresponding pin, regardless of what color the wire is.

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 9

Step 9. Plug the other end of the USB cable into a computer and keep your fingers crossed that it works

  • If the connection is made, congratulations! Then copy the files to your computer.
  • If it is still not recognized there is likely an underlying problem that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Consider having it repaired by a professional recovery company or hang it on the Christmas tree as a reminder to always back up your important files.

Method 2 of 3: Search for problems (Windows)

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 10

Step 1. Plug the stick into the USB port of the computer

usb prop1

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 11

Step 2. Open My Computer and right click on the Removable Disk icon

Then choose "Properties".

usb prop2

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 12

Step 3. Click on the Tools tab

usb prop3

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 13

Step 4. Click the "Check Now" button

Step 5.

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 14

Check both the "Automatically fix file system errors" and "Scan for and repair bad sectors" boxes.

Click on "Start".

usb prop4
usb prop5

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 15

Step 6. Wait for the scan to finish and click "Close" when you are done

Method 3 of 3: Reformat the USB flash drive

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 16

Step 1. Format with NTFS instead of FAT32

Repair a USB Flash Drive Step 17

Step 2. After that, reformat with FAT32


  • Look for a program to pre-format your drive. Reinstalling an operating system should not be taken lightly.
  • If nothing worked and your data NOT important, please inquire with the USB stick maker via email or forum. They may have a program to reinstall the stick's firmware and do a so-called 'low level format' of the damaged stick.
  • If your USB stick WELL contains important data that you would like to get back, DO NOT format the drive. Even if there is no sign of damage, it is possible that one or more internal components have failed. In general, it will then be necessary to use sophisticated and special tools to diagnose the exact problem, but one thing you can investigate is a possibly blown fuse. To do this, first remove the case from the device and look with a magnifying glass at the small, clear, cube-shaped components on the circuit board. If these fuses are black instead of clear/clear they have blown and it is necessary to have the data restored by a professional.
  • If you choose to engage the services of a professional data recovery company, make sure to describe the issues as best you can to make sure they have the capabilities and experience to get the job done.
  • USB sticks are cheap and widely available. Consider buying a new one rather than reinstalling the operating system as it will likely take less time and avoid headaches.


  • Formatting will erase all data on a USB stick.
  • When it comes to a stick with important data, don't just let anyone who happens to own a soldering iron try to repair the drive.
  • Backing up data and drivers, formatting drives and reinstalling operating systems is a lengthy process that should only be done by someone who knows what he or she is doing.

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