Unusable USB stick: RAW volume, access denied, specified file cannot be found

The USB sticks they are tools that many of us use every day to store all types of data. We have repeatedly remarked that they are storage devices that must necessarily be considered “vulnerable”: time, high temperatures, repeated and intensive writing cycles can contribute to significantly reducing their life. Storing data on a USB stick is not safe, just as it is not safe on any other storage medium. For this reason it is essential to activate mechanisms backup e synchronization of the contents of your flash drives. Keeping a copy of the same data on multiple media protects against unpredictable situations and eliminates the risk of data loss.

How to revive an unusable USB stick

Furthermore, it can happen quite often that you are no longer able to store data on a USB stick. If you try to format it with the utility Disk Management Windows (key combination Windows+X, Disk Management), the operating system shows the error The volume was created successfully but was not formatted. In the graphic diagram that reflects the volumes connected to the system and the structure of the respective partitions, the USB stick is sometimes generically indicated as RAW unit.

Unusable Windows USB stick

This error indicates that the operating system cannot recognize the file system format on the USB stick, even if you try to format it. The RAW volume reference may indicate a problem with the partition table or with the structure of the file system itself.

The first attempt: use Diskpart

Diskpart is a command line tool built into Windows operating systems, designed to manage partitions in any storage media. With Diskpart, you can perform various operations related to disks, partitions, and volumes, such as creating partitions, formatting, extending or shrinking partitions, changing volume labels, and more.

To try to “resuscitate” a USB stick that is causing problems, you can first try to delete the partitions from the USB device using Diskpart. This operation is particularly useful even in cases where theUSB drive is partizionata using third-party software tools or distributions and tool Linux.

The procedure is accomplished by typing cmd in the Windows search box and then selecting Run as administrator. At this point, typing diskpartyou can issue the command list disk to get the list of drives, including removable ones, connected with the Windows system.

The essential step is to identify theidentifier corresponding to the USB stick connected to the PC. Be careful because making a mistake at this stage could lead to deletion of data important. In the example, the USB stick is Disco 2: this can be understood from the size indicated (14 Gigabytes), which corresponds more or less to capacity of the removable media.

Diskpart: how to restore USB stick functioning

The command sel disk (in this case we used sel disk 2 to select the unit Disco 2) allows you to select the removable drive of interest while the command clean delete all partitions instantly.

Access denied error with Diskpart

The utility of Diskpart has restored the error Access denied not allowing the application of changes to the contents of the USB stick, the first attempt to make is to type the following instruction, in order to remove the read only possibly present:

attribute disk clear readonly

The creation of a primary partition should now be allowed:

create partition primary

As a next step, you can format the partition specifying the chosen file system, for example FAT32 or NTFS:

format fs=ntfs

Error appears The specified file could not be found: how to solve

If, by issuing the format command, Diskpart shows the error The specified file could not be found, it is necessary to act at a lower level. Our advice is to close Diskpart, typing exitthen download and install the MiniTool Partition Wizard software in the free version, completely free of charge.

USB stick recovery with MiniTool Partition Wizard

MiniTool Partition Wizard makes it much easier to locate the malfunctioning USB stick. In our case, as can be seen in the figure, it is indicated as Disco 3.

By right-clicking on it, in the partitioning software interface, you should click Reset partitionchoose Fill sectors with 0 on the next screen then start the operation by clicking the button Applica lower left.

USB drive reset

Once the operation is complete, you need to right-click the USB drive again in the MiniTool Partition Wizard interface, then choose Crea. At this point you can create a primary partition that takes up all the available space, always remembering to click on the button Applica lower left.

Create USB stick partition

As a final step, you can finally right-click on the USB drive again and choose the item In format. After all these interventions, if the problem with the USB stick is only at a logical level and there are no physical problems, the storage device should work again.

Format non-working USB stick

Windows should now assign a drive identification letter and make the USB stick available again. From MiniTool Partition Wizard, you can optionally right-click and choose Verifica file system (option Verification only, no error correction) to run a quick chkdsk check of the removable drive and make sure there are no obvious problems.

Opening image credit: iStock.com – kyoshino

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