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How to Recover Corrupted/Unreadable USB Flash Drive

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Feb 02, 2024 • Filed to: USB Recovery • Proven solutions

"My computer won't read my flash drive even after connecting it several times. Is there any feasible solution to fix the flash drive not reading issue on Mac?"

If you are also trying to resolve the flash drive unreadable problem, then you have come to the right place. While USB drives certainly come with tons of advantages, they also cause a few unwanted issues as well. For instance, your system might not read the connected USB drive even after several attempts. To fix this, you need to identify the cause and work on different solutions. Hop on as this guide on how to fix a flash drive that won't read has covered it all.


Part 1: Reasons for the Error "The Disk You Inserted Was Not Readable by This Computer"

While a USB drive might become unreadable on both Windows and Mac, the issue is certainly more common in macOS. Before we dive in and learn how to read a flash drive and move past this, let's get to know what could have caused the problem in the first place.

  • The file system on the USB drive might not be supported by your Mac/Windows.
  • The USB drive storage can be corrupted or have bad sectors.
  • If the flash drive has been damaged physically, then it can also cause numerous issues like this.
  • The firmware or a security component on your system can also block the USB drive.
  • A third-party application might be responsible for blocking the USB drive.
  • The conflict between the internal settings or file systems with the USB settings.


Part 2: How to Fix Unreadable USB Flash Drive on Mac

Since there could be several reasons for a computer not reading the flash drive, it is important to follow a stepwise approach. Ideally, you can start from the easiest solutions and move ahead to the last resort listed here.

1. Restart and Reconnect

This is the easiest and one of the tested solutions to fix all kinds of issues with a computer. Firstly, check that you have inserted the USB drive correctly to your Mac and that there is no physical damage. Subsequently, launch Finder and from its sidebar, click on the eject symbol adjacent to the USB drive (if it is detected). If the drive is not detected, then simply remove it from Mac. Afterward, restart your system and try connecting the flash drive again.


2. Repair the Connected USB Drive

One of the best things about Mac is that it lets us perform a thorough diagnostic of any internal or external storage source via Disk Utility. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to fix a flash drive not reading issue is by using its Disk Utility Application. Here's how to fix a flash drive that won't read by using Mac's native utility tool.

1. Firstly, try to connect your USB drive to your Mac the usual way. If you get the following "The disk you inserted was not readable by your computer" prompt, then click on the "Initialize" button instead of closing it.


2. This will open the Disk Utility application on your Mac. Otherwise, you can also go to Finder > Applications > Utility to launch the same application as well. Go to its "View" section and click on "Show All Devices". This will let you view details of the connected USB drive even if it can't be read by the computer.


3. On the sidebar, you can see a list of all the connected (and the internal) data sources available on Mac. Select the flash drive option that was unreadable on Mac and the right, click on the "First Aid" button to diagnose the issue.


4. Confirm your choice to fix the pen drive not reading and click on the "Repair Disk" button. Wait for a while for Mac to troubleshoot the issue and let you notify once it is done.


3. Format the Flash Drive

Most likely, the USB device not reading problem would be fixed by running the first-aid diagnostic on it. Though, if it is corrupted or has an incompatible file system, then you might have to format it all together. To learn how to fix a flash drive that won't read, you can quickly format it in the following manner.

1. Before you start, make sure that the USB drive is connected properly to the system and that there is no debris in the port.

2. Now, go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and launch the Disk Utility application on your Mac. From the sidebar, select the connected USB drive. If you can't see it, then go to the View option and choose to show all devices.

3. On the right, you can see different options for the disk. Just click on the "Erase" button here to format the USB drive.


4. As the pop-up window will open, give it a name, and select a compatible file system (like exFAT or HFS+). Make sure that the file system is compatible with your Mac before clicking on the "Erase" button.


Although this would get rid of all the stored data on your USB drive, it will also make it compatible with your Mac, resolving the flash drive not reading issue.

Part 3: Recover Lost Data after Fixing the USB Flash Drive Unreadable Error

While fixing the flash drive not reading issue, a lot of users end up formatting their USB drives. Though, this might lead to the loss of their important files in the process. If this is the case, then consider using a reliable data recovery tool like Wondershare Recoverit. By following a simple click-through process, you can get back all kinds of data from your USB drive.

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It supports every major file system like HFS+, NTFS, exFAT, APFS, etc. as well as numerous data types like photos, videos, audios, documents, and so much more. There is no prior technical knowledge needed to use Recoverit. All you got to do is follow these three simple steps:

Step 1: Connect your USB drive

Connect your flash drive to the system and wait for a while as it would be detected by it. Now, launch Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery on your system and pick a location to scan from its home. In this case, you need to pick the connected USB drive under External Devices.


Step 2: Wait for the scan to be over

Once the process is started, you can simply wait for a few minutes. Although Recoverit also lets us pause or stop the scanning in between, it is recommended to let is complete. You can also preview the extracted results while the data recovery process is going on in the background.


Step 3: Restore your data

That's it! Now, all the extracted data will be listed under different file types and categories. You can double-click the file to preview the result. For instance, you can preview your videos, photos, and documents like Word files, PDFs, etc. In the end, just select the files (or folders) you wish to get back and click on the "Recover" button. It is recommended to save your files to another secure location and not to the same USB drive that has been formatted.


After reading this informative post on how to read a flash drive or fix the flash drive unreadable problem, you would certainly be able to fix this issue. Though, if you had to format your USB drive unwillingly, then use Recoverit Data Recovery right away. The sooner you use it, the easier it would be to recover lost data from a USB drive. Since it offers a free version for Mac and Windows, you can give it a try without spending a single dime.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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