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HOW-TO: Fix an unreadeable USB flash drive *illustrated*

By bytes2000
Nov 19, 2006
  1. * This should be STICKY!

    Hello Guys,

    I had a problem with a Sandisk mini cruzer 128MB usb drive and I had no success with the guides Before Posting Sandisk Cruzer Micro/Mini Problems and Flash drive recovery procedures

    I tried to use the Disk management of XP and Windows vista RC1 but my usb stick was unreadeable, the HP format tool did'nt work because the disk was locked, this was frustrating. So, I developed my own guide that is very easy.

    You need:
    This freeware Low Level Format utility will erase, Low-Level Format and re-certify a SATA, IDE or SCSI hard disk drive with any size of up to 281 474 976 710 655 bytes. Will work with USB and FIREWIRE external drive enclosures. Low-level formatting of Flash Cards is supported too. Low Level Format Tool will clear partitions, MBR, and every bit of user data. The data cannot be recovered after using this utility. The program utilizes Ultra-DMA transfers when possible.​

    WARNING: After running this free low level format tool, the whole disk surface will be fully erased.
    Therefore, data restoration will be impossible after using this utility! Try to recover data before running this utility.

    Step 1. Download and install the "HDD Low Level Format Tool" then launch it.

    You will find a screen with all the disk drives detected by Windows, it should look like this:


    Step 2. Select your USB flash drive and click "Continue"
    *Make sure that you select the correct device.


    Then you will have more details in a windows with 3 tabs: Device Details, LOW-Level format and S.M.A.R.T.

    Step 3. Select the tab "Low Level Format" and click "Format This Device"



    Once it completes the format, you will receive the following message:



    The device is now ready to use, now you have to format it (like the old 3 1/2" floppy disks).

    Step 4. Instructions for HIGH level format:
    Now go to: "My Computer"
    Double click the USB Drive
    Windows will ask you to Format it...
    *DO NOT USE "Quick format"
    Click Format

    Congratulations, now your USB drive should be working again.
    Sophobe and markjohnson like this.
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