Recover an unreadable flash drive

If you’ve ever tried installing a distro like OpenSUSE or Arch from a flash drive, or ever written to one using dd, you’ve probably discovered that it is a capital pain in the backside trying to read from that pen drive later. The reason is this – the drive gets converted to the RAW format, which is typically unsupported on a host of operating systems. According to Wikipedia, the term rawdisk refers to hard disk access at a raw, binary level, beneath the file system level, and using partition data at the MBR.

If that flies over your head, don’t worry. Today, I’ll be showing some Windows love, and showing how you can recover the disk when all hope is lost.

Let’s dispense with the warnings first –

You WILL lose all your data on the drive in question!

Once you’re ready, open the Command Prompt in Windows, and type

Once a prompt saying DISKPART> appears, type
list disk

This should list all the drives attached to your system. Type select disk X, where X is replaced by the number of the disk you wish to modify (1, 2, 3 etc)
Never select disk 0 or you risk corrupting your operating system.

Just to be sure, type
detail disk
in order to view the complete device info for the drive you are about to clean.

Once you are satisfied, type
clean ALL
to overwrite the entire disk with zeros. This will take a while, so please be patient.

After clean has finished, type
to exit diskpart, and once again to exit command prompt.

Your disk should now be ready to use.

Right click on it in Windows Explorer and format it as you please.

Credit goes to this thread.

PS – If you have a Linux distro lying around, you can use GParted (on GNOME).


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