Geek Computer Logo
Geek Computer
Creating better technological experiences!
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

How to recover corrupted files from usb for free?

Have you lost data from your external storage media or your computer? You are not alone as everyone experiences the same problem at some point. I have been doing extensive research and prepared this article on the most effective ways to recover data from your USB disk and corrupted files on your Windows computer for free.

Before attempting any complex data recovery procedure, you need to confirm the cause of the problem by using other ports in your computer, and if it fails try connecting the USB to another computer. In case the problem persists, you still have the following options:

  • Repair file structure 
  • Change the drive letter
  • Reinstall the drive/fix file system errors 
  • Update the drive 
  • Use CMD command
  • Use data recovery tools



Data loss is a common problem, and I have indulged in in-depth research on the effective ways of recovering data from damaged USB and corrupted files from your computer for free. Also. I have provided you with information on how to recognize corrupted files, how files get corrupted, and what to do when it happens. Read on to find.

How to recover corrupted files from usb for free?

The USB is also known by different names including memory stick, pen drive, thumb drive, jump drive, micro-drive, disk drive, data stick, and USB key among others. It is very useful when storing files and transferring data due to its large capacity, compatibility with files, and portability. As you use your USB drive among different devices, it is likely to get corrupted as well as physically damaged.

At times, your memory stick might get corrupted with critical files inside. Such occurs from virus attack, the sudden interruption of power, and abrupt removal which could lead to loss or corruption of data.

The corruption of files could occur from problems with the files, the USB disk, or both. In a case of corrupted files or folders, only a single file or isolated folders is the flash drive is corrupted making the file unreadable. Whenever you try to open the file you'll get a response of an error or warning. If this is what you are experiencing, you don't need to worry as corrupted files and folders can be easily fixed and recovered.

The whole micro-drive could also be corrupted making it difficult to open. In this case, you will not be able to access the contents inside. It does not necessarily mean that the files are damaged. The disk might have sustained some form of damages which could be mechanical or logical.

Can a corrupted USB Be Fixed/ Can corrupted files be recovered?


How to recover corrupted files from usb for free?

Have you just inserted a USB disc into your computer, and the device is not recognizing it? The problem could be easier to manage than you can imagine, and you need to try out a few solutions, which will also help you identify the problem to define the problem. Windows OS provides many free ways of fixing USB errors and recovering data. They include:

  1. Use the USB on another port or computer;

At times, the problem could be with your machine and not the flash drive, which could open on another computer. However, you need to try inserting the flash drive into another port on your computer and see if it could open from there. This simple and logical procedure could save you a lot of stress and should always be your first option.

  1. Fix any physical issues;

If you have not used the flash drive for a while, it might have incurred some physical damage or gathered dust, making it difficult to read. Consequently, you can make adjustments wherever possible or take it to a technician and get it fixed. If the problem is dust, you need to use a cotton /alcohol swab to clean out the dirt in the terminals and allow it to dry out completely before reinserting it into the computer drive.

  1. Repair file structure

If the file structure in your USB is damaged, you will find it challenging to open the files inside. Here are the steps for repairing damaged files:

  • Connect the USB to the computer, then locate the "removable disc" icon from my computer.
  • Right-click on the removable disc or media and select properties.
  • You will find the tool option on the list, click on it and choose "check now."
  • Checkmark these options: "automatically fix the files system errors" and "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors."
  • Click "start" to initiate the process.
  • Close the window when the process is complete.
  1. Change the drive letter;

A drive may also become permanently inaccessible if a drive letter is not assigned, if the volume is accidentally from the system, or in case of virus infection.

The procedure of changing the drive letter is simple, and it involves the following steps:

  • first right click on the USB drive to which you need to Change,
  • then choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths."
  • Select and click "Change" from the "Change Drive Letter and Paths" window.

Alternatively, if no drive letter is assigned to the drive, click "Add." You can select the original letter of the drive then click "Ok."

Still, if you cannot assign the original drive letter, you may have to disconnect all other connected flash discs and retry the procedure. After completing the steps, check and see if you can view the files inside.

Drive letters are crucial in the functioning of computers. These are alphabetical characters that range from A to Z. Windows operating system assigns these letters to the computer partitions or drive volumes.

For an internal or external drive to be accessible, it needs to be assigned a valid drive letter. If we change or assign a different drive letter to the drive, the files in that drive become inaccessible as it breaks your computer system. Consequently, all the installed programs in that drive stop working as they will not locate their address. Also, you lose all the data in that drive. You should, therefore, be careful when changing drive letters.

If this is the case, you can recover the functionality of your PC by reverting to the previous letter. This is because, by changing the drive letter, you don't necessarily lose data. All in all, you risk accidentally formatting your hard drive while attempting to change drive letters. Formatting your hard drive accidentally could cost you a lot of loss as you will require data recovery software or the help of a computer tech to recover your data.

  1. Reinstall the drive/fixing file system errors

If your drive can run the USB, but the computer cannot recognize it, you need to reinstall the drivers. For you to achieve this, go through the following steps: Right-click on "My Computer," then select the "manage" option. From the options provided on the window that appears, choose and open the "device manager."

How to recover corrupted files from usb for free?

Your USB should appear in the list that shows up on that window. You need to right-click on it and select the "uninstall" option. After uninstalling the drive, you need to remove it from the computer.

  • Connect the USB back into the computer.
  • Go to the "device manager," then "action."
  • Scan for the hardware changes to reload the device on your PC.

For Windows 7, Windows XP, and Windows Vista, you can fix file system errors through the following steps:

  • On "my computer," right-click on "inaccessible drive."
  • Click on properties
  • On the "tools" option, choose "rebuild," and the scanning process will begin.
  • Close when complete
  • Eject the flash drive using the "safely remove option."
  • Plug the drive-in again and see if it is repaired.
  • If you are provided with the option of formatting, don't do it, as you will lose the data completely.

In other cases, the USB could be disabled from your computer automatically due to driver installation errors. In such cases, you need to enable the USB drive in the device manager on your computer. Follow these steps:

  • Open control panel
  • On the device manager, locate Hardware and sound
  • Expand the disk drives list and double click on the USB drive
  • Click on the "enable device option."
  • Click "Next," then "finish."
  1. Update the drive

The other option would be updating the drive, and it is usually effective if windows do not recognize your USB drive. Also, it is always best to ensure that your drivers are up to date before attempting to fix your USB. The steps are as follows:

Type "DEVMGMT.MSC" to run the command prompt. The unknown device will appear in the drive list. Rick-click on the drive and select the "update drive software" option.

       7. Using the CMD command

This is one of the most commonly preferred ways to fix damaged USB disks without risking data loss. Also, the process is quick and effective, and it involves the following steps:

  • Insert your USB into the computer
  • Type CMD under the search bar and press enter
  • Right-click on cmd.Exe
  • To repair the damaged drive, type "CHKDSK USB drive letter: /f" or "CHKDSK /X /f USB drive letter:"
  • If the process is successful, windows will show the message, "Windows has made corrections to the file system."

Using data recovery tool

If you cannot recover data using the above processes, you will need the help of a professional. Alternatively, you can try using data recovery software. There is diverse software in the market that could help you recover your data, some of which are free. However, it would be best if you chose a well-known brand with good customer reviews.

How do data recovery tools work? When files are accidentally deleted or lost from a storage device, they are not completely gone. Instead, what happens is that the files system changes, making it impossible for Windows OS to locate them. Data recovery software restores these files, making it possible for the OS to find them. These applications work through complex algorithms that scan the media, collecting all deleted and formatted files from the master boot record (MBR).

Can corrupted files be recovered?

A corrupted file is a file that is damaged and doesn't open properly. They could be within your computer or in your storage device. Different files in your device can be corrupted, including system files, program files, and other documents. As we will see later in this article, files get corrupted for a set of reasons.

All files in the computer have specific content and structure, and the file will function properly if the structure is well organized and in the right place. However, if the wrong information is included in a file, it won't open as it affects the way data is displayed and used. A corrupted file appears unreadable or scrambled.

Recovering corrupted files is difficult, but it is possible. In some cases, you need to re-boot your system to restore these files, while others require more complex procedures.


How do I clean up a corrupted file?

Cleaning corrupted files is not always a success. All in all, it is always best to give it a try. Here are some ways you need to try out whenever you encounter this challenge:

  1. Perform check disk on the hard drive

This procedure works by scanning the hard drive and attempting to recover bad sectors. It is one of the oldest procedures for Windows computers, and it might take a few minutes to two hours. It entails the following steps:

How to recover corrupted files from usb for free?

  • Click open the start button
  • For Windows 10 and 8, find "file explorer."
  • Select "This PC"
  • Right-click on the drive you want to check for errors
  • Choose the "properties" option
  • Select the Tools tab located at the top of the window
  • Choose "check" then "scan the drive." The system will now scan the drive selected, and if any errors are found, it will attempt to fix them.
  • The computer will give you instructions on the next step, and you might have to restart it.


  1. Using the CHKMDSK command

It is a short form for the" check disk command," It checks specific disks and repairs/ recovers data when need be. Also, this procedure will mark malfunctioning sectors of the hard disk as bad and help recover information wherever possible. It is available for all Windows operating systems.

When running this command, you need to keep in mind that it doesn't allow other programs to run on the computer, and it might take some hours.

Running CHKMDSK command using the Graphical user interface


  • Go to "My computer."
  • Right-click on the drive you need to check and choose "properties."
  • Locate "tools" and click on it
  • Under "error checking," click on "check" and check off the options that appear on the pop-up window.
  • Click on the "start" button. The computer might give an error message if some programs are running on that disk. Close these programs and start the process again.
  1. Using scan now/SFC command

The Windows System File Checker, abbreviated as SFC, is available in all windows operating systems. Running this program repairs corrupted files in the computer system and can be run with Administrator privileges, whether using windows recovery media or windows. If you attempt the procedure and it doesn't work, you might need to reinstall the OS.


Windows 7

  • Search "CMD" from the start button
  • Right-click "CMD.exe" and "Run as administrator."
  • On the user account control prompt that appears, click "yes," and a blinking cursor will appear
  • Type "SFC/SCANNOW, then press "enter"


Windows 8, 8.1, 10 and 11

  • Press Win+Xhotkey combination on the desktop
  • Select Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin from the menu that appears
  • Click "yes" on the user account control prompt, and a blinking cursor will appear.
  • Type "SFC/SCANNOW the press "enter"

What do corrupted files look like?

How to recover corrupted files from usb for free?

Computer files are made up of collection bits, which are essentially ones and zeros. When a computer file gets corrupted, the whole file or part of it goes missing. If it is a document, you can get part of it or lose it all entirely.

Here is how you can tell if a file is corrupted:

  1. Open the file and see if it opens as it should. As we saw earlier, corrupted files don't open normally. Consequently, if a file opens, it can't be corrupted. If the corrupted file is a computer program or driver, try opening the program and see if it functions normally. If it doesn't work normally, then something is wrong with it.
  2. The other way you can tell if a file is corrupted is by judging from its size. Right-click on the file and view the properties. The properties will give you different qualities of the file, including the size. Suppose you don't know the file's original size; you can compare it with a similar one. If the file appears smaller, then it could be corrupted. Also, if the file doesn't resemble other similar files, it could be corrupted.

What do I do when a file is corrupted?

If a file is corrupted, you could try to recover it using the procedures we saw above. If it doesn't work, the only solution could be replacing the file. You can use an installation disk or download it afresh.

Before installing these files afresh, you need to scan your computer viruses or malware, the root cause. If you suspect the problem from bad updates, you can try to update the application again.

If the file was a document and you can't find a replacement, then you might have to start over. Fortunately, some programs such as word autosave documents could save you when you lose a document you were working on. Also, Microsoft Office provides a repair option for corrupted files, which could help you recover text from documents. The text might not appear as the original document, but it helps in creating a new one.


How does a file become corrupted?

  • Files usually get corrupted when a problem occurs while saving or the computer does not save programs properly before shutting down. It may be due to loss of power or your computer crashing while saving the document. Files that were open when the computer went off could also suffer damage.
  • Another cause of corrupted files is bad sectors on the hard drive. A problem with bad sectors on the storage media or hard drive will affect files even when properly saved.
  • The presence of viruses and malware in your PC can also corrupt files.
  • If the program experiences an error while saving a file, then such files might appear corrupted. In most cases, the program will notice the error and provide you with an option to try again. If the program doesn't notify you of the error, you will only notice it when you try to open the program.


Losing data can be quite frustrating especially when the project you are working on is critical. USBs are very helpful in storing and transferring data, however, they are prone to damages and virus attacks which can lead to data loss. As I have outlined in this post, there are many ways you can recover data lost from your USB from the comfort of your computer.

You can also lose data from your computer as a result of corrupt files. Recovering data in such cases can be quite more challenging. However, it is possible through the three ways we saw above. If all these don't work, it's time to consult data recovery professionals.





  1. what to do when cctv cameras power supply stop working?
  2. digital storage: how big are gigabytes, terabytes, and petabytes?
  3. things you should know about efi system partition (esp)
  4. how to install a printer driver manually and from a device
  5. beginner guide: how to become an ethical hacker
  6. password security: how to create a strong password (and remember it)
  7. is my computer worth fixing?
  8. how to repair windows 10 automatic repair loop?
  9. sudden computer shutdown or restart
  10. why does my computer keep freezing
  11. unlock pdf: how to remove a password from a pdf file
  12. how to replace a broken laptop screen
  13. how to remove malicious software
  14. how do computer hard drive works
  15. what do i need to upgrade for better gaming?
  16. my computer is running slow, what steps can i take to fix it?
  17. outsourced it services: what it means, services outsourced and why
  18. methods to fix no bootable device on windows 10
  19. how to wipe a computer hard drive
  20. a detailed guide to removing ransomware in windows 10
  21. why do we need ethics for internet users?
  22. how to backup computer windows 10?
  23. can my employer monitor my work computer at home?
  24. how to check if an email is legit?
  25. how to factory reset windows 10 without logging in?
  26. how does chromecast work technically?
  27. best solutions to computer overheating
  28. how do search engines work?
  29. how to connect two windows 10 computers wirelessly?
  30. i can’t see my wireless network in the list?
  31. how do i change the default destination for my downloads?
  32. how to create an invisible folder on your windows 10 computer
  33. how to play iphone mov files on windows 10?
  34. how to update graphics drivers on windows 10
  35. does private browsing actually work?
  36. how computers work: why is the processor important?
  37. internet connection: why is my internet so slow
  38. how does a computer work: a definitive guide
  39. how to get rid of computer pop-ups
  40. why is my printer not connecting to my computer
  41. what is sata 6gb/s
  42. how to reinstall windows 10
  43. which computers are the best?
  44. how to take a screenshot on a widows computer
  45. what is ransomware how it works and how to remove it
  46. how do i know if i have a virus on my laptop or desktop computer
  47. how does cloud sharing work
  48. how do wi-fi hotspots work
  49. what are the signs a website has been hacked?
  50. how do you take a screenshot in windows 10
  51. what is processor virtualization technology?
  52. what types of cyber-attacks and how to prevent them?
  53. can you get a keylogger just by visiting a website?
  54. cyberstalking and how to protect yourself from identity theft
  55. how to understand thermal design power (tdp)
  56. how to enter the bios or the cmos setup
  57. what is a processor core
  58. how to change your wi-fi password
  59. which windows computer is best?
  60. the role of neural networks in artificial intelligence
  61. what is the internet of things iot
  62. how to edit a pdf without adobe?
  63. how to replace a motherboard
  64. what is a computer hard drive used for?
  65. what is usb 3.0
  66. is the thunderbolt 3 the same as the usb-c?
  67. how to replace a computer processor
  68. my computer can't find the hard drive
  69. password protecting folders and files
  70. how computers work
  71. does adding ram increase computer speed?
  72. optimizing ram with multi-channel support
  73. what is a vpn?
  74. quantum computers explained simply
  75. what is an on-board video chipset
  76. what is memory in a computer
  77. my computer won't connect to the internet but others will
  78. how do i get into windows safe mode?
  79. why do computers use binary numbers?
  80. what are ethical and unethical practices related to internet use?
  81. how to stop a computer from overheating when playing games?
  82. how to format pc without cd?
  83. how do you fix a computer that won't turn on?
  84. what is a computer processor thread
  85. what is cas latency
  86. base frequency vs turbo max frequency
  87. what does cpu socket type mean
  88. how do i stop my screen from going black windows 10?
  89. what is form factor on a motherboard?
  90. how do i destroy a hard drive?
  91. who invented the computer?
  92. how to clear your cache
  93. what is an audio chipset?
  94. how much voltage is required for a computer
  95. what happens when a site i use gets hacked?
  96. do i really need to care about my privacy online?
  97. pros and cons of overclocking ram
  98. are windows computers better than mac
  99. what is the darknet?
  100. what's wrong with using public wi-fi?
  101. what is the difference between pop3 and imap?
  102. what does a vpn hide?
  103. why my computer shuts down randomly when gaming?
  104. what is end-to-end encryption in messenger?
  105. how do i find my ip address
  106. what is bios?
  107. what does a firewall do?
  108. how do i download or save a youtube video to my computer?
  109. how do i set up a new user on my computer windows 10
  110. what is wan/lan?
  111. how do i automatically print an email attachment?
  112. what to look for when upgrading your laptop
  113. system restore not working
  114. what are proxy server ports?
  115. how do i stop emails going to spam folder
  116. computer maintenance: how do i keep my laptop battery in good health?
  117. i can't open email attachments
  118. what are the f1 through f12 keys?
  119. do i need a desktop pc or a laptop?
  120. how to use google docs: the beginner's guide to google docs
  121. computer repair: how to detect crypto mining malware
  122. computer tips: how to make my computer run like new?
  123. what does airplane mode do, and is it really necessary?
  124. usb type-c explained: what is usb-c and why you’ll want it
  125. internet:how do you fixing internet connection issues in windows 10?
  126. what is overclocking? beginner's guide to speeding up pcs
  127. how not to get ripped off buying a used computer or used parts
  128. ms word:how to create and manage a table of contents in microsoft word
  129. windows 11: what you need to know about windows 11 before upgrading
  130. what is https, and why should i care about it?
  131. how to set up a server for a small business
  132. what things can you do on the dark web?
  133. hard drive tips: how to tell if a hard drive is hot swappable?
  134. can the samsung es facelift promote efficiency and a healthy lifestyle
  135. what is the difference between a wifi extender and a wifi router?
  136. how to connect my laptop to my tv wirelessly?
  137. windows 10: how to login to windows 10 without password?
  138. how to unlock computer screen windows 10?
  139. how do i get rid of low disk space in windows 10?
  140. what should you do to a computer before you sell it?
  141. black and decker dcm90: the best small coffee maker
  142. fitbit ionic: the gps fitness tracker everybody needs
  143. experience superior sound with the harman kardon onyx studio 6