How to Fix a Flash Disk

by Ty Arthur

USB flash disk drives conveniently store large files in a small place and can be used to easily transfer many different files between computers. Unfortunately, the way that flash drives are constructed means that their data can easily become corrupted after an incorrect use or even after repeated correct uses. To fix a malfunctioning USB flash disk drive, you will need to completely format the drive by using your computer's reformatting tool.

Remove the USB flash drive from the USB port on your computer. Restart the computer and wait for the operating system to finish loading. Plug the flash drive back into the USB port and attempt to access it again in case the computer stopped recognizing the drive for some reason.

Transfer any files on the flash drive to the hard drive of your computer if the USB flash drive has any functionality at all.

The Administrative Tools Icon

Open the Start menu by clicking on the Windows icon on the bottom tool bar. Click on the "Control Panel" link. Scroll down through the list of available options and click on the icon labeled "Administrative Tools" that has an image of a box filled with check marks.

The Computer Management Icon

Find the Computer Management icon at the top of the window and click on it. Wait for a new window to appear on the screen and click on the "Continue" button to bring up the Computer Management window.

The Storage Entry

Locate the "Storage" entry on the left side of the Computer Management window. Click on the black box next to the entry to expand the menu. Click on the "Disk Management" icon that appears below the Storage entry.

Right-click the name of the the USB flash drive that appears at the center of the window. Click on the option labeled as "Format..." from the menu that will pop up. Select the "FAT16" option from the first drop-down menu and click on "Start" to format the flash drive.

Return to the Control Panel and click on the "Device Manager" icon. Scroll down to the entry labeled as "Universal Serial Bus Controllers." Right-click on the entry for your USB drive and choose "Update Driver." Wait for the latest USB driver to finish downloading and then attempt to use the flash drive again.


  • check Don't ever make changes to file directly on the USB drive, as the method of data storage that flash drives use can be interrupted by changing the data on the drive itself. Always transfer a file to a computer hard drive, make any changes, and then transfer it back to the USB flash drive.


  • close You will not be able to retrieve any of the files or folders that were on the USB flash drive once it has been completely formatted. If you select FAT12 or FAT32 from the drop-down menu, your computer will not recognize the flash drive.

About the Author

Ty Arthur has been writing technical and entertainment-related articles for a variety of online sources since 2008. His articles have appeared on and many other websites. Arthur attended the Great Falls College of Technology and studied both computer science and creative writing.

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