Kim Barloso

How to Repair a USB Flash Drive with Unformat


Unformat software is necessary for recovering /files on usb flash drive. This free utility enjoys well-deserved popularity in the field of flash drive reanimation software, as evidenced by the positive reviews.

Let's focus on the key features of Unformat:

  • Support for exFAT, Apple HFS+ & Linux ExtFS file systems. True, flash drives are usually formatted in FAT and less often in NTFS. But this flash drive recovery software supports both NTFS, FAT32 and FAT.
  • Advanced file and folder scanning
  • Can recover /files from flash drive, formatted HDD, USB & and flash cards
  • Works via USB interface with attached drives and flash drives
  • Works with memory cards of cameras, digital camcorders, smartphones, players etc.

Step 1: choose the device to save

In our case you should select all the physical devices and indicate in the list the USB key in order to search for the /files later on according to its name.

Select device

Click the "Next" button to continue.

Step 2: Scanning a device with Unformat

Unformat starts an indepth scan on the USB key looking for the /files you have erased. The process may take a long time, from several minutes to half an hour, depending on the size of the flash device. For me this procedure takes about 5 minutes for the standard way of scanning /files.

Recover process

What information do we see in the program window during this time? What I like about Unformat is that it is very informative: it allows you to recover /files on the USB stick more easily than anywhere else.

  1. Firstly, the time when the process ends is indicated.
  2. Secondly, the scanning speed is indicated.
  3. Thirdly, we see that the device may contain several partitions although in fact it only has one. The fact is that this flash drive recovery software also detects deleted file partitions without any problems. That's where its value lies. However, the most important thing when recovering from a flash drive is that the user can see the partition type, its location by sector, as well as the status - the probability of information return. In total there are two statuses:
  • Bad : The probability is low; there is not always a chance to recover /files from the flash drive
  • Excellent : There is a definite possibility to recover deleted /files.

Step 3: View the results of USB flash drive scan

Let us investigate further. You are presented with a window showing the results of the scan of the device:

Selecting a partition to recover /files, two-panel mode

Uniformat also shows you the deleted disks - that is file partitions which in fact may not exist on the stick at the moment. Let us therefore decipher what information is available to the user:

  • F/S : the file system type. It is useful if you remember when you formatted the drive.
  • Size : Size of the partition on the stick
  • First Sector : The beginning of the first sector of the partition
  • Total Sectors : The total number of partitions
  • Details . This may indicate that the disk has been overwritten by a different partition. This is not good because it reduces the probability of getting the data back many times over.

Step 4: Recovering /files and folders

So now you select the partition you need and at the bottom of the Flash recovery software you will see the following picture. In the directory tree you see the information found sorted by different types of data. If you select a specific folder, in the lower right part of the Unformat you will see /files that, in theory, can be recovered. However, keep in mind that file names are not always recoverable, as they may have been deleted from the file table. Therefore, please be guided by the file size (the screenshot shows that I had to recover a video file approximating 200 Mb. In other words, that is what you need).

By the way, there is another mode for displaying /files on the flash drive, someone will find it more convenient: this way you can quickly select a directory for saving found information. If you know exactly what you need to restore, it will not be difficult to find the necessary information in the file navigator. Otherwise, just try to select all the data and then save it all together.

Step 5: Saving recovered /files from the flash drive to the disk

Select a folder to save the data. The program will start saving data to the specified folder. If you have selected all the /files contained on the media, you will have to wait. Make sure that there is enough free space on the disc to store this information.

Waiting for results...

Go to the folder you have specified and make sure you recover the /files.

Step 6. If all else fails

If you cannot recover information from a flash medium, there is a trick available in Unformat. Go to the program settings (the "Options" button) and select the default scan type ("Default Scan Type") - "Always Superscan". The "Default Superscan" now takes much longer to perform than the standard scan, but will detect corrupted or erased data on the flash drive more thoroughly and with better quality.

That's all there is to it. If you have any questions, ask them in comments. If the above method didn't help and you're still not sure how to recover flash drive, look for other flash drive recovery programs or other universal solutions for all types of media.

“Hello. My name is Kim. I discovered that technology, when used with a purpose, can be pretty amazing. To share the wonder of tech, I’ve written for blogs like and With over three years of freelance writing experience in the technology and entertainment niche, I can write a storm about a software app, a cool browser extension, a new mobile device and other geek-centric stuf... “

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Kim Barloso