Repair Flash Drive damaged by Balena Etcher flashing software

repair flash drive on linux

Balena Etcher software is often used for creating a Linux Mint Bootable Flash Drive for installation of Linux Mint latest version on computers. The software flashes Operating System images to SD cards & USB drives, safely and easily and could be used to create Bootable disk drives for different Operating Systems using ISO files of the operating system.

However, in one case when Balena Etcher is installed and used on Windows Operating System to create Bootable drive for Linux Operating System, the flash drive becomes unusable on Windows Operating System.

After successfully installing Linux operating system, when the Bootable flash drive is inserted in Windows System and opened in File Explorer to use or view its content, it would appear that the flash drive is damaged and has reduced to a mere capacity of 2.25 MB with few unrecognized files and folders.

When the flash drive is checked in Windows Disk Management Software, it would appear that there are 3 partitions on the Flash Drive, the first one is the one which contains Linux setup files, but is not visible in Windows File Explorer, the last partition is unused space and is also not visible in Windows File Explorer. The middle partition only is visible in Windows File Explorer.

The reason for this is that the first partition is of Linux format type which is not recognized by Windows, the last partition is unallocated space which needs to be formatted with Windows recognizable type for access in Windows. Thus, in one case the first and last partitions which are displayed as un-allocated space could be formatted and used, but it will create two partitions on the flash drive which will hamper the smooth usage of the flash drive.

It seems that the flash drive is no more appropriate for use. But, need not worry the flash drive is safe and can be repaired.

How to repair the damaged flash drive that was flashed with Balena Etcher flashibg Software for creating Linux bootable Flash Drive for installation of Linux Operating System?

Step 1:

Login to any Linux Operating System and insert the damaged or corrupted bootable flash drive. The flash drive will successfully mount and the contents could be viewable in File Explorer. It would appear that the flash drive contains Linux setup files but the capacity is reduced to around 2 GB.

Step 2:

Open “Disks” built in application in Linux operating system and select the flash drive. Similar to Windows it would appear that there are 3 partitions on Flash Drive. The first partition was visible in Linux File Explorer, while other partitions were not. The last partition is unallocated space and is also not visible in Linux File Explorer. The middle partition is also not visible in Linux File Explorer.

Step 3:

Select the middle DOS/ FAT partition of 2.25 MB and click on ‘Delete Partition’ button to delete this partition. On deleting this master partition all the partitions will be deleted and disk would be re-available with its original capacity.

Step 4:

Format the partition to make it usable by clicking on ‘Settings’ button. Provide a Drive Name of your choice and select appropriate Format Type for formatting the flash drive. EXT4 will not be visible in Windows, however, NTFS and FAT will be visible in Windows and Linux both. Click ‘Next’ and then ‘Format’ to begin formatting. Wait for formatting to finish. On successful formatting, click ‘Mount’ button to mount the flash drive.

The Flash Drive would become re-usable successfully.

The repaired flash drive could now be ejected from Linux system and tried in Windows. Eject the flash drive, re-login to Windows system and insert the repaired flash drive. Check properties of Flash Drive and it would be found that the Flash Drive is restored to its original capacity. You can now use it as earlier on Windows, Linux and other Operating Systems.

Also read: Install Linux Mint by creating bootable flash drive on Windows

Watch the practical demonstration of the above process in following video:

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