How to Recover Dead Space on Flash drives

One of the most common uses of the flash drive is making it bootable with any of the OS like Windows or Linux. During conversion into bootable form, your flash drive will get partitioned, and if the second partition (where the OS files are lying) gets damaged due to some issues, then the flash drive will only show you the first partition even after formatting it. You will not be able to access the second partition after that and will also notice that your flash drive’s capacity has been lowered to 1 or 2 GB only.

A straightforward method to rescue the storage capacity is to make the drive bootable again using the same software which you used earlier. This method not always works, but it is the simplest method which you should try before all other means listed below.

Command Line:

  1. Open a Command Prompt as administrator (cmd.exe)
  2. Type Diskpart and press Enter
  3. Next, type List Disk and press Enter
  4. Type Select Disk X and press Enter (note that X is the disk number of your USB drive)
  5. Type Clean and press Enter
  6. Type Create Partition Primary and press Enter
  7. Type Active and press Enter
  8. Moving on, type Format fs=Fat32 Quick and press Enter
  9. Type Exit and press Enter

Once you’ve done this, you can check your USB drive capacity from the file explorer.

What Diskpart did is that it just detected and deleted all the unallocated partitions on your disk, and later converted them into one primary partition with all the capacity.

Use Disk Manager:

Disk Manager is Microsoft Windows’s inbuilt software for managing the disks connected to the PC.

  1. Right-click on the Start button and open Disk Management.
  2. All the disks will get listed.
  3. Select the one with the error.
  4. Right-click on the unallocated space partition and click delete the partition.
  5. After deleting the partition, again right-click on that particular disk and click on Format and press confirm to format the drive.

After formatting the drive, you can check your USB drive in file explorer if it’s working and showing the actual capacity of the flash drive (check the screenshot below).

Making partitions are risky and can often damage your flash drives storage space. You can quickly fix your USB flash drive using these methods and make sure to “safely eject USB drive” to stay away from these situations. If you are working with bootable or live USB flash drives, then make sure to eject drives only after properly shutting down the PC.

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