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Fixing Your Flash Drive

Friday, July 20th, 2007 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management, Hardware & Peripherals

Fixing Your Flash Drive

I’m sad to report that one of my flash drives suddenly died today. Has that ever happened to you? It all happened when my Windows XP suddenly froze for some reason. After rebooting my computer, the device was dead. It just simply would not work anymore. XP detected it as a 0 MB device (and attempted to format it as such), but nothing worked. What could I do besides go and buy a whole new flash drive?

Well, luckily, after a little research, I was able to revive my flash drive! And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do today. Here’s the procedure:

1.) First, you’ll need to download and install the HP Drive Key Boot Utility, which can be found here.

2.) Once you have it downloaded, double click on the desktop icon and select the correct flash drive you want to repair under the Device section.

3.) Next, select the file system you want to format the drive to (FAT, FAT32 or NTFS).

4.) Checkmark Quick Format.

5.) Click Start.

After the download and the installation, this utility will place a shortcut of “HP System Tools” in your Programs Start menu folder.

To make your drive key bootable and/or capable of flashing firmware:

  • Place your HP USB drive key in an available USB port.
  • Select the HP Drive Key Boot Utility shortcut under the HP System Tools folder.
  • Follow along and complete each step presented by the application.

During the interview process, when asked to select the drive letter your key is using, if the drop down box is unpopulated, please note that the drive key is either not properly connected to the system or it is of a drive type called “fixed disk.” To determine the type of USB mass storage device your drive is, double click on the My Computer icon on your desktop, right click on the USB Drive Key and choose Properties. The drive type will be displayed in the Properties pane. If the drive is labeled “fixed disk” or “local disk,” the following steps must be followed to assign a drive letter to the USB drive key, prior to running the HP Drive Key Boot Utility.

  • Insert the Drive Key.

  • Log in as the Administrator.

  • Select Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management.

  • Select Computer Management (local), Storage, Disk Management (local).

  • Select “Change/Add Drive Letter” for the disk to map the Drive Key to.

  • Choose a drive letter.

Officially, this software (HP Drive Key Boot Utility) is meant for HP disks, but unofficially, it seems to work fine with formatting most flash media and even digital camera cards. I hope you enjoy your newly repaired flash drive!

~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami

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