Recover Deleted Photos from Corrupt Flash Drive

Updated on November 17th, 2021

Rohit Arora

Summary: Wondering how to retrieve lost photos from a corrupt flash drive? Check out this post to recover photos from corrupt flash drive with Stellar Photo Recovery software.

Recover Deleted Photos from Corrupt Flash Drive Recover Deleted Photos from Corrupt Flash Drive

Samuel had a good habit to keep backup of his DSLR photos in a USB drive. But, he overlooked the fact that USB flash drives too can get corrupt.

One day when he connected his USB flash drive to PC to view old family pictures, it asked to format it to access the drive!

He was shell-shocked. His flash drive was corrupted and he had no other drive where the photos were stored.

Samuel’s story is not new. Many of us use pen drive to store or transfer photos. However, like any other storage media, flash drives too have a definite read/write cycle and lifespan and thus, can get corrupt.

A corrupt USB flash drive may ask you to format as soon as you plug it in, throw error messages, turn unreadable, or remain undetected by the computer, thus hampering access to the photos. The case may also be that you had deleted some photos from it, which you now want to recover. But, the USB drive has turned corrupt and inaccessible.

So how can Samuel retrieve the lost photos from a corrupt flash drive?

This post holds the solutions to the likes of Samuel’s problem – what all you can do to fix a corrupt flash drive issue and recover deleted photos from it.

How to recover lost photos from corrupt flash drive       

USB flash drives also called pen drives, thumb drives, or jump drives, can get corrupt and become inaccessible. Corruption can be due to either logical or physical damage to the media.

Why your flash drive gets corrupt

  • Sudden power outage while the drive is in use
  • Virus infection
  • Improper or abrupt removal of flash drive during file transfer
  • Bad sectors
  • Physical damage and others

Whatsoever the reason, the utmost concern is how to successfully recovery the stored photos on it. If it’s due to a faulty USB cable or port, you can try to connect your  media using a  different cable, port, or another computer.

For logical errors, either use Windows features to troubleshoot the inaccessible USB flash drive or directly recover the lost photos with the help of a photo recovery software.

A specialized photo recovery software can maximize your chances of recovering image files of any format from corrupt USB flash drive.

Recover photos from corrupt flash drive with software

Photo recovery software’s advanced algorithms ensure recovery of lost photos from any kind of corrupt flash drive.

Follow the below steps to recover the lost photos from a corrupt USB flash drive:

  1. Download, install and launch the trial* version of Stellar Photo Recovery on your PC or Mac
  2. Connect the flash drive to computer
  3. Select your flash drive from the location window. Click Scan
  4. Click Recover
  5. Once the scan is completed, Preview all your recoverable photos
  6. Activate the software and Save the photos at your desired location

*The trial software scans the media and shows preview of all the recoverable files. Once you are able to ascertain the effectiveness, you can save the recoverable files by activating the software.

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Recover files from corrupt flash drive without software

Sometimes fixing a corrupt drive can also resolve the problem. You can access your photos after the drive is repaired. However, if you are unable to access or restore the photos after fixing the USB corruption, a photo recovery software is the only solution to restore pictures.

Here’s how you can repair or fix any corrupt USB flash drive on Windows PC:

  1. Fix corrupt flash drive by using error checking tool
  2. Reinstall the driver
  3. Assign a drive letter (corrupt flash drive is not visible in the drivers list)

1. Fix corrupt flash drive by using error checking tool

Windows has an option to fix file system errors or bad sectors on any drive connected to the PC. You can fix the corrupt flash drive with this method and then access your photos on it, as follows:

How to recover photos from USB flash drive in Windows

  • Connect flash drive to a computer
  • Right click on flash drive. Click Properties
  • Select Tools tab. Click Check
  • Select check box of – ‘Automatically fix file system errors’ and ‘Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors’
  • Click Start
  • As the scanning process ends, open your flash drive.

If your USB flash drive doesn’t open after error check, a photo recovery software is the way to go. Read here how to recover USB drive multimedia files after error.

2. Reinstall the driver

Sometimes USB flash drive may be inaccessible due to driver problem on your computer rather than USB corruption. Reinstalling the latest driver may resolve the problem.

Steps to reinstall the driver are:

  • Connect the flash drive to PC
  • Right click on My Computer/ This PC
  • Follow Manage > Device Manager
  • Double-click Disk Drives
  • Right click on you flash drive
  • Click Uninstall. Click OK

Now disconnect the flash drive. Again connect and access the image files on it. The problem should’ve been solved.

3. Assign a drive letter

Use this method when your flash drive is not visible in the windows drivers list but can be seen in the Disk management on your computer.

To check your flash drive in Disk management, use Windows+R to open Run. Type diskmgmt.msc in the empty box. Click OK. If you see the flash drive in the list, close the window and assign a new drive letter to it.

Steps to assign drive letter:

  • Connect the flash drive to your PC
  • Use  Windows+R key to open the Run dialogue box
  • Type compmgmt.msc and hit Enter
  • Under Storage select Disk Management
  • Right-click on the flash driver and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths
  • A dialog box appears, click Change
  • Check inAssign following drive letter
  • Choose the letter to assign from the drop box. Click OK
  • Close the Computer Management window

Your USB flash drive will now be visible in the drives list. Open and recover the photos.

To Sum Up

Irrespective of the cause of your USB flash drive corruption, Stellar Photo Recovery ensures that it retrieves the lost photos from the corrupt USB flash drive. Even when you are not able to fix corruption in the flash drive, at least the software saves you from the photo loss situation.

About The Author

Sumona Chatterjee

Sumona is a tech blogger, avid photographer, & technogeek with vast experience in writing about media file recovery tips and tutorials. She has over 10 years of experience in media file recovery/media file repair technology. She is passionate about Photography, Creative Designing, Music, and Exploring lesser-known destinations. 

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  1. I had an issue with SanDisk USB Flash drive, I have a couple of movies, audio files in the USB Flash drive. But when I play on my TV the video is perfect but have no sound. I checked the drive on my laptop its play fine but some audio files no sound. What can I do to fix it? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Charlis, There is the possibility your flash drive infected through virus or some audio, video files format would not be supported. The easy way you need to scan your flash drive through antivirus. In case you still have the same issue, you can try our software demo version to recover your audio, video files. Thanks!

  2. I had an external hard drive that containing couple of movies and I playing movies in VLC for several years. But unfortunately, external hard drive were corrupted and I ‘m unable to play movies in VLC. What should I do? Please help!

    1. Hi Lisa, I would suggest you should update your windows drivers and VLC player then play again your movies files. If you still have the same issue you can try our software demo version and see the preview of your repaired files.

  3. I had a problem with my 1TB USB flash drive with default ex-fat format. I tried it as NTFS on Windows 10 but showing message “unable to format”. Any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Monika, Hi, Please follow the given steps:
      1. Open Device Manager (right-click on My Computer -> Manage)
      2. Right Click on USB Drive and Select ‘Format’
      3. Select the desired files system and format option
      4. Once you make sure all the options correct, Click Start to initiate the process.

  4. It’s happen to me couple of months ago, when I put a pen drive into my MacBook pro after that I used windows pc, total data of DSLR photos corrupted and I want him back. Thanks for provide the useful ways to fix this issue. I really appreciate it!

  5. I had an issue with my SanDisk USB stick couple of my wedding images were corrupted. When I transferred 2100 images to my PC, Unfortunately, my PC freeze when USB pulling it out and put again some of image fine OK but some images were corrupted. Any Suggestion would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Zachary, it happens when the power supply interrupt, freeze issue but don’t worry. I suggest you can try our software demo version and see the preview of repaired files.

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