How can I reformat a USB thumb drive that is not recognized by my Windows 10 PC?

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In summary, you can't boot from external devices on a Chromebook, but you can reinstall the OS on a Chromebook and get it up and running again. See the instructions.
  • #1
anorlunda
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Today is not a good day. @Wrichik Basu can't boot his Windows PC. Today my Chromebook said "Can't find ChromeOS ..." and won't boot. :H

Following Google's instructions, I made a recovery device on a USB thumb drive using another computer. The recovery failed; it must be a real hardware memory failure on the mother board. :H:cry: So scratch my Chromebook. But I at least want to recover my USB thumb drive.

But now, when I plug the thumb drive into my Windows 10 PC, it is not recognized at all. I can't erase files because there is no drive. I can't reformat the drive, because it recognizes no drive. However, under Device Manager, I can see a "USB Mass Storage Device" appear when I plug it in.

Any ideas on how to reformat the USB thumb drive?
 
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  • #3
cmd.exe (run as administrator) -> diskpart -> list disk (find usb drive in list, note disk number) -> select Disk 1 (substitute correct number for 1) -> clean -> exit -> diskmgmt.exe (right -click on USB drive) -> New Simple Volume -> follow prompts to create new partition table, and then format (NTFS or exFAT -- Win 10 uses NTFS, but exFAT is more lightweight and more intercompatible and was designed for USB flash devices).
 
  • #6
anorlunda said:
Today is not a good day. @Wrichik Basu can't boot his Windows PC. Today my Chromebook said "Can't find ChromeOS ..." and won't boot. :H
Seems two computers across the globe teamed up over the internet and decided to put their owners in trouble. :devil:

This is not an answer to the question in the OP, but you can reinstall the OS on a Chromebook and get it up and running again. See the instructions. The sad part is that you will lose your data. If possible, you can send your hard disk for data recovery before reinstalling the OS.
 
  • #9
jedishrfu said:
Would Knoppix on a thumb drive help to retrieve the data on the drive?

https://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html
Found this on Unix SE:
It's not possible to boot from external devices on a Chromebook as they use a firmware NOT a BIOS. It is possible to install it in a "chroot", where you use a directory as your filesystem and run it alongside ChromeOS.
Not being able to boot from external devices just made using Knoppix more difficult, in my opinion. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth a try.
 
  • #10
It seems that details on these things are different under Win10.

sysprog said:
cmd.exe (run as administrator) -> diskpart -> list disk (find usb drive in list, note disk number) -> select Disk 1 (substitute correct number for 1) -> clean -> exit -> diskmgmt.exe (right -click on USB drive) -> New Simple Volume -> follow prompts to create new partition table, and then format (NTFS or exFAT -- Win 10 uses NTFS, but exFAT is more lightweight and more intercompatible and was designed for USB flash devices).
I'm working on it.
  • I did the diskpart clean operation OK.
  • diskmgmt.exe doesn't exist on my Win10 machine.
  • But Disk Management does work. Under Disk Management, when I right click on the thumb drive the only option is "Change Drive letter and paths" and that doesn't work.
  • I went back to DISKPART. I can see the disk, see the volume, select the volume, but the FORMAT command says " The system cannot find the file specified."
 
  • #11
You have to create the partition table before you can do the format:

diskpart -> list disk -> select Disk 1 (USB flash drive) -> create partition primary -> select partition 1 -> format FS=NTFS label=Data quick
 
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  • #12
sysprog said:
diskpart -> list disk -> select Disk 1 (USB flash drive) -> create partition primary -> select partition 1 -> format FS=NTFS label=Data quick
:bow: Yes, that did it. Thanks.
 
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  • #13
anorlunda said:
  • diskmgmt.exe doesn't exist on my Win10 machine.
  • But Disk Management does work.
  • My mistake, @anorlunda ##-## just for reference, the command isn't diskmgmt.exe, as I mistakenly said it was in post #3 ##-## it's diskmgmt.msc ##-## not .exe ##-## it's just another way to get to the same Disk Management utility.
 

1. Why can't I reformat my thumb drive?

There could be several reasons why you are unable to reformat your thumb drive. It could be due to a physical or technical issue with the drive itself, the formatting software you are using, or the computer you are using to reformat the drive.

2. How can I fix a thumb drive that won't reformat?

If you are having trouble reformatting your thumb drive, try using a different computer or formatting software to see if that solves the issue. You can also try troubleshooting the drive for any physical damage or errors. If the drive is still not working, it may need to be replaced.

3. Can I reformat a write-protected thumb drive?

No, you cannot reformat a write-protected thumb drive. Write protection is a built-in security feature that prevents any changes from being made to the drive, including reformatting. You will need to remove the write protection before attempting to reformat the drive.

4. What is the best way to reformat a thumb drive?

The best way to reformat a thumb drive is to use a reliable and reputable formatting software. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and choose the appropriate file system for your needs. It is also recommended to backup any important data on the drive before reformatting.

5. Is it possible to recover data from a thumb drive that cannot be reformatted?

It is possible to recover data from a thumb drive that cannot be reformatted, but it may require the help of a professional data recovery service. These services use specialized techniques and equipment to retrieve data from malfunctioning drives. However, there is no guarantee that all data can be recovered.

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