[How-To] Recover usb from faulty flash by balenaEtcher

Hi all,

Today i will create a small tutorial to recover your "so called" killed usb stick. balenaEtcher is a tool that kills the usb faster then installing a iso on it. With luck the iso will be installed the first time of use, after that it's failing and failing and failing. I tried to recover the usb in Windows 10 using commandprompt and diskpart. Windows 10 was not able to recover the usb.

In windows 10 i used a tool called MiniTool Partition Wizard Free. This tool is the only tool so far that is able to recover your dead usb stick.

Windows users:

  1. Download and install the Minitool Partition Wizard
  2. After installation run the application
  3. Locate your usb stick and select it
  4. Right mouse click and select "Delete all partitions"
  5. Select the drive again
  6. Right mouse click and select "create"
  7. Format in fat32 (or anything your want)
  8. USB is recovered.
    *. With 1 of my sticks it failed these steps, you can do a full wipe with zero or ones, it takes some time but the usb will be back to live again and you can follow step 6-8.

For linux: I need to sort this out "if" there is a program to restore the usb, in the meantime you can use Minitool Partition Wizard in wine if i am not wrong.

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Minitool Partition Wizard is for Windows that Gparted is for Linux from my experience of it.
So would think use of Gparted in linux would do the same job, assuming you can do tasks 3 to 7 above on the USB in Gparted.
Anyone tried it on a "dead" USB stick?

PS: I have always been able to recover a USB by doing a full format (not quick format) in Windows without using Minitool Partition Wizard.


Excellent tutorial. It looks like the solution however, is only through the use of an APP, for Windows. I wonder if the APP can be installed with WINE, and be able to work? As you know, some Windows APPS work in Wine, some do not.

Ideally, there needs to be an APP for Linux users to do the same. The best partition manager that I have ever used on Linux would have to be Gparted. 2nd to that, the DISKS utility. I have never used a 3rd APP.

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I have to kill a usb for this to check :slight_smile:

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That won't take you long.

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Alright there, slow your role, no need to dirty with usb. lol

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Alright boys, its not a competition


Yesterday using Windows 11, I tried flashing two usb with balenaEtcher per the official instructions and it killed both of them.

  • Diskpart recognized them, but refused to clean them with error 5@0101000F.
  • Tried to use AOMEI Partition Assistant, recognized again, wiped clean (filled with zeroes) and even assigned a letter to it, but neither showed up in windows explorer (despite being wiped clean, single partition and letter assigned)

After 30 minutes of thinking, I managed to recover them by plugging them to my Android using a usb-c to usb-a adapter. Android sees there's a problem with the usb and offers to format it, 10 seconds later is ready and Windows sees them again.

Just for the sake of it, I tried it again this morning with the same result: Usb dead and revovered with Android shortly after. If balenaEtcher is really killing in the name of I would suggest maybe editing the official instructions because most begginers (like me) are likely to use them.

Hope it helps someone!


If you think linux, you should be thinking "where can i find this", not "is this possible". Without installing (because dd is in some form on every distro of linux) you should be able to destroy all info on a disk with the following:

sudo shred -vfz /dev/sdX

Then, use gparted to remove the partitions and create a new one with any format of file system.

I don't have a damaged usb sitting around, so if anyone wants to try...

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