You are here


Your USB drive has many sectors where it stores data. When one or more of these sectors become unreadable, we refer to them as ‘bad sectors.’ Your files may get corrupted, deleted, or unreadable. Besides wasting a lot of your time and energy, bad sectors may hinder your work and prevent you from getting things done.

Data cannot be written to bad sectors since bad sectors stem from structural problems on the device. USB drives have pools of data which are referred to as ‘Spare Sectors.’  When advance file systems detect bad blocks, it can help transfer files onto these spare sectors.

Here is everything you should know about them, including how to recover bad sectors on USB Hard Drives.

What Are The Causes Of Bad Sectors On A USB Drive?

Different factors can cause bad sectors in USB drives. Some are physical, and some are logical (software-based). Here are the leading causes of bad sectors in USB drives below:

Limited Read/Write Cycles – The life expectancy of a USB drive is revealed by its number of read/write cycles. As you read/write/erase data, your drive wears out due to degradation of the storage cells which slowly lose the ability to retain more bits of information per cell. Eventually, some of these cells are unable to read/write data anymore, thus leading to bad sectors.

Dust – Dust accumulating inside your USB flash drive is one of the leading causes of bad sectors.

Physical Damage – Dropping or damaging your USB flash drive may damage certain sectors on the inside. This leads to blocks becoming defective, and it makes the memory cells wear out.

Manufacturing Defects – You may have received a faulty flash drive from the manufacturer’s side.

File System Errors – File system errors lead to logical errors which in turn cause bad sectors.

Virus And Malware – Two words no flash drive user wants to hear. Virus and malware damage to your flash drive can lead to bad sectors.

Methods Used For Repairing USB Bad Sectors

Command Prompt Method

  1. Press Windows + R.
  2. Type cmd.exe and press enter or OK.
  3. Type “chkdsk usb_drive:/r” (the usb_drive part is the drive letter of your plugging-in flash drive).
  4. Hit enter and wait for the scan and repair process to start. You’ll see it running soon enough, and when it’s finished, the repair procedure will be complete.

Your bad sectors will be fixed, and your USB drive will now be completely usable.

Windows Drive Checking Tool

If you’re wondering about how to recover bad sector USB drive using the Windows Drive Checking Tool, here is how you do it:

  1. Press Windows + E.
  2. Go to My Computer.
  3. Right click on your USB Drive Letter.
  4. Select Properties.
  5. Under the tools tab, below the error checking-box, click on the ‘Check’ button.
  6. A check disk window will pop up.
  7. You’ll have two options:
  • Automatically fix file system errors.
  • Scan for and Attempt Recovery of bad sectors.

Check both of them and hit ‘Start’.

  1. Alternately, if you’re on Windows 10 OS, select Scan and Repair.

By the end of the scanning process, the bad sectors in your flash drive will be located and repaired.

Recover Files Using Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery

If the above methods don’t seem to work, the next option is to use a USB Drive Bad Sector recovery software to recover lost files from bad sectors. I recommend using the Stellar Windows Data Recovery software.

Keep in mind that you won’t recover 100% of all your files from your flash drive. With that said, here is how you can recover files using Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery:

  1. Install Stellar Windows Data Recovery on your Windows PC.
  2. Run the program.
  3. Select the file types you want to recover or click on ‘All Data‘ under “Everything” tab. Click Next.
  4. Select Recover from Disk Images on the ‘Select Location’ screen under Other Locations. Click Scan.
  5. You’ll see a ‘Scan Progress’ bar. Once it reaches 100%, the file tree is generated, and you’ll be able to preview your files on the panel on the left side.
  6. Select the files you want by checking the boxes beside them and click on Recover.
  7. Choose a destination folder to save your recovered files, and you’re done.

Final Thoughts

Copying your files onto another device and running a check for bad blocks after formatting the drive is a way to assess the lifespan of the device. Bad blocks of over 5% in scanning results indicate that the storage media is facing a near-term device failure. Operating System failures and firmware damage are other possible reasons for bad sectors appearing on SSDs. The good news is, these bad sectors are preventable and sending your SSD to professional data recovery services will help resolve the problem.

 Stellar Windows Data Recovery software is extensively used in the USB Bad Sector Recovery of files. This way, even though you may not be able to recover everything from the bad sectors, you can still retrieve data important to you.

Make sure to backup your files before trying out data recovery software. When you back up your files on other devices, you increase your chances of data recovery since some of those devices may not have been affected by bad sectors.

Stellar data recovery established since the year 1993. It has over 2+ million satisfied customers across globe.  Stellar Data Recovery Software are among the top rated software’s and are downloaded more than 300,000 times every month! The company is ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certified data recovery organization in India and can be trusted with their top quality data recovery services & software’s.