If you think you’re the boss of all your devices then you should have a hard drive, SD card or USB drive which happens to contain something very important and urgently needed, only for it to have issues getting detected. Its almost like these things have a mind of their own sometimes; just want to see you cry, hear you beg, feel you sweat profusely…all to get them to do what they’re supposed to do. Good news is that we’ll be discussing this today so you don’t go thinking they’ve gone A.I on you. Hardware have their moments of malfunction so you’ll be learning how to fix malfunctions when they arise, not feel helpless.
What could cause a storage drive to get damaged?
Common causes of storage drive problems are:
- Hard fall: This could result in a hardware problem
- Disconnecting without Ejecting or Safely removing: Interrupting a read-write process could corrupt the files and partition table
- Faulty Cord or PC port: The storage device wont be detected if connected to a faulty PC hardware like port, card reader or USB cord
- Virus / malware: A virus / malware could corrupt the storage device, making it unrecognizable by a PC or phone
- Liquid spillage: This could cause a short circuit and burn out
- Heavy usage: Storage devices are subject to wear from several read-write processes
- Formatting to wrong file system: This could cause certain programs to have problems reading from or writing to such storage devices
- Locked device: The device might be read or write protected
How do I identify a corrupted storage drive?
Some common signs of a corrupted storage device are:
- Loud noise and heavy vibration when connected to a PC
- Not detected by any device
- Getting a prompt to format
- Unable to add or remove files
- Unable to format (always getting unable to format error)
- Files corrupted to shortcut or missing (yet the storage properties show that the drive contains files)
- Automatically mounting and unmounting during read / write processes
My storage drive fell really hard and has stopped working since then, any hope?
This is most likely a hardware problem. The storage device needs to be taken apart for loose components to be re-seated and damaged ones to be changed.
How do I fix / repair a corrupt memory card, SD card or USB storage drive?
Some techniques you can employ are:
1. Chkdsk: The Chkdsk command can be used to scan and fix errors on a storage device. To use it
- Go to My Computer
- Take note of the storage device’s drive letter (e.g G, H, I etc)
- Use Windows start menu to search for cmd.exe
- Run cmd.exe as Administrator
- Type cd\ then press Enter
- Assuming the drive letter is G, type chkdsk /f G: then press Enter (ensure to space each item)
- Wait for the operation to finish running
2. Defragment: Defragmentation helps sort the content of a storage device to make data easier and faster to retrieve. To defragment:
- Go to My Computer
- Locate the storage drive and right-click it
- Select Properties
- Go to the Tools tab
- Click on Error checking and wait for it to be complete
- Click on Optimize and let the wizard run a check then defragment the drive if needed
3. Change port and cord: The fault could be from the USB cord or PC port the storage drive is connected to. consider switching these (if they cause a Blue screen error then read https://journal.hovatek.com/the-blue-screen-of-death-bsod/ ) .
4. Recover corrupted files: If the files are corrupted then you can recover them using command prompt or a good data recovery software (read https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-recover-corrupted-files-lost-files-from-corrupt-or-accidentally-formatted-usb-devices/ )
5. Format: If you don’t have important information on the storage device, simply format it. to format
- Go to My Computer
- Locate the drive
- Right-click on the drive and select Format
- Select Start to begin
6. Partition check: You can install a third-party software like Advanced System care to run a thorough diagnosis of the storage drive then fix any problems
7. Disk Management: You can allocate an unallocated drive under device manager. This tool can also be used to fix a storage device that is not fully detected (i.e, does not appear under My Computer or is grayed out ). To use Disk Management
- Open any folder
- Right-click Computer by the left
- Select manage
- Select Disk Management
- Wait till all connected drives are detected
- You can then manage the faulty drive from here (allocate, unallocate, shrink, partition, format, assign drive letter etc see https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-partition-a-hard-disk-or-storage-device-in-windows/ )
Any tips on how to make my storage device last longer?
Some tricks are:
- Keep the storage device away from moisture, dust and heavy objects
- Ensure to use the Eject or Safely remove function before disconnecting from PC
- Defragment and check for errors regularly
- Avoid dropping at heights that could cause damage
- Unmount or disconnect when not in use
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