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Have you ever felt sinking when your important USB drive mysteriously falls into a puddle or gets wet from a spill? These days, USB drives are very important for keeping data safe and moving it between devices. Though things can go wrong, water damage is one of the most common.

Water can damage electronics, including USB drives, from a spilled drink, a washer accident, or a sudden downpour. When someone finds a USB drive damaged by water, their main worry is that they will lose important data on it. Luckily, you can take steps to get your important files back.

Rescue Water-damaged USB Drive

Steps to Rescue Water-damaged USB Drive

1. Don't Turn On The Drive

If water damage happens, the most important thing to do is not to power on the USB drive. Mixing electricity and water is not a good idea because it can hurt the drive's internal parts even more. Even if the outside of the drive looks dry, there may still be water inside, which could cause short circuits. So, don't give in to the urge to plug in the drive or get to the data immediately.

2. Clean and Dry The Drive

Dry the USB drive well before you start the repair process. First, carefully wipe the outside of the drive with a dry cloth to remove any water you can see. Hair dryers and microwaves should not be used because they can damage the drive's delicate parts if they get too hot.

Rescue Water-damaged USB Drive

Instead, leave the drive in a cool, dry place for at least 24 to 48 hours to dry naturally. Putting the drive in a bowl of raw rice or silica gel packets can help it soak up water better.

3. Use Data Recovery Software

If the USB drive looks like it's not broken in any major ways, you can use data recovery tools to try to get back the lost data. There are many trustworthy programs out there that are made to get back files from storage devices that have been destroyed or corrupted. Do Your Data Recovery, Recuva, and Stellar Data Recovery are all well-known choices.

These steps will show you how to use data recovery software:

  • Get the software and launch it on your PC.
  • Connect the USB drive that was ruined by water to your computer.
  • Start up the data recovery program and choose to look through the USB drive for lost files.
  • Wait for the software to finish scanning. Depending on the size of the drive and the extent of the damage, it could take a while.
  • After the scan, the program will show a list of files that can be recovered. Check the files to make sure they are still whole, then pick the ones you want to get back.
  • Pick a safe spot on your computer to save the restored files. It's best to save them on a different drive so that they don't overwrite any other data.

For example, you can use Do Your Data Recovery to help you recover lost data from a water-damaged USB drive on Windows and macOS:

Step 1. Download and install the USB drive data recovery software - Do Your Data Recovery on your computer and insert the USB drive into your computer.

Step 2. Open Do Your Data Recovery, then select the USB drive to start data recovery.

Water-damaged USB drive recovery

Step 3. Once you’ve selected the USB drive, then click on Scan button to deeply scan the USB drive.

Water-damaged USB drive recovery

Step 4. Once the scan is completed, you can preview all recoverable files. Then select the wanted files and save them.

Water-damaged USB drive recovery

The deep scan mode is able to find all lost files including images, videos, documents, audio files, archives, etc.

After recovery all of your files from the USB drive, you may want to throw out the water-damaged USB drive and buy a new one. Before you dispose of the old USB drive, just use a data erasure tool - such as DoYourData Super Eraser to wipe the USB drive and permanently erase all data from it to make data recovery be impossible.

4. Backup Your Data

Once you've found your lost files, you must make a backup to avoid losing them again. Move the restored files to a safe place, like a cloud storage or an external hard drive. It is important to back up your data regularly to protect against mishaps and give you peace of mind.

Repair Water-damaged USB Drive Using Data Recovery Service

If nothing else works and the damage to your USB drive is too big for you to fix yourself, you should try a skilled data recovery service. These professionals know how to fix even the worst water damage because they have the right tools and years of experience. If you give your USB drive to a good data recovery service, you can be sure they will do everything possible to get your files back.

Professional data recovery services use special methods, like taking apart the drive in a clean room to see how bad the damage is. They might use high-tech gear and software to get data off of damaged storage devices and put it back together again.

It also means that these professionals follow tight rules about privacy to keep your information safe and private during the recovery process. Although there may be a fee for using a data recovery service, the peace of mind and the chance of getting back lost data often make it worth the money.


Water damage on a USB drive can be upsetting, especially if important data is on it. But if you follow the steps above, you can improve your chances of getting back lost files. Please don't turn the drive on; make sure it's completely dry, and use data recovery tools to try to get the data back.

For example, you can download and install Do Your Data Recovery on your computer, then run it to scan the water-damaged USB drive and get all lost files back. This software also supports to fix logical errors on the USB drive.

If nothing else works, you might need help from a professional data recovery service. Make regular backups of your info a top priority no matter what you do to avoid losing it again. You can often regain your data and peace of mind if you are patient, work hard, and have the right tools.

FAQs About Rescue Water-damaged or Washed USB Drive

1. How to rescue a water-damaged USB drive?

You can follow the steps below to rescue the water-damaged USB drive and get lost files back:

  • Don’t use the USB drive.
  • Clean and dry the USB drive.
  • Use data recovery software to recover lost files from the USB drive.
  • Test if you can use the USB drive on your computer without any problem.

2. How to recover lost data from a water-damaged USB drive?

The best method to recover lost data in any data loss situation is using data recovery software. A DIY data recovery software allows you to easily and quickly recover lost files by yourself. Compared with other methods, this method is more convenient, safer and cheaper. After you find the right data recovery software, you can try to easily recover lost files from water damaged USB flash drive. But not all the water damaged USB flash drives can be recovered by data recovery software. If your USB flash drive is completely damaged and can’t be recognized by the software, it can’t be recovered.

In most cases, the water damaged USB flash drive can be connected with the computer and can be recognized by data recovery software. Anyway, you can try data recovery software to help recover lost files from water damaged USB flash drive. DoYourData data recovery software is the reliable software that enables you to scan your water damaged USB flash drive to recover lost files. Follow the easy steps to get your files back after your USB flash drive is damaged by water. It is able to recognize and deeply scan the water-damaged USB drive and help you get all lost files back.

Step 1. Download, install and run Do Your Data Recovery on your computer.

Step 2. Run Do Your Data Recovery to scan your USB flash drive: Select the USB flash drive as the target drive to start scan.

Step 3. Preview and recover files: Preview the found files and save them. Please don’t save them on the USB flash drive in case that the lost files will be overwritten by new data.

If your USB flash drive is completely physically damaged after water damage, data recovery software can not help to recover lost data from it. In this situation, you have to turn to data recovery service. You can send your USB flash drive to a data recovery service provider. The engineers will recover your files from a water damaged USB flash drive manually. It is not the recommended method because it is expensive and your data will expose to the engineers. But it is the last chance to get your data back.

DoYourData Author

Written & Updated by Anderson

Anderson is a big fan of computer technology. He joined DoYourData in 2018 and has been writing 200+ articles about disk clone, data recovery, computer technology, data erasure, Mac system optimization, etc. He loves music, movie, and reading. In his spare time, he’s studying music and playing tennis.

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