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How to Change ESD-USB to Normal USB and Recover Data

How to Change ESD-USB to Normal USB and Recover Data

In the ever-evolving world of technology, the concept of ESD-USB often leaves individuals puzzled. To demystify it, let’s talk about what ESD-USB means, the reasons behind its usage, and practical guidance on converting an ESD-USB to a normal USB, as well as steps to recover data from an ESD-USB using a tool like Disk Drill.


Common Scenarios:

Unexpected Drive Format

  • After downloading a Windows 10 installation media, you might notice the USB drive is in an ESD-USB format instead of the expected FAT32 or NTFS file system.
  • The drive may not be recognized by other computers, or you’re unable to open or transfer files from it.
  • Typically, this scenario pops up when using Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool to create a bootable USB drive for Windows installations.

Bootable USB Creation Issues

  • Perhaps after creating a bootable USB drive for upgrading or repairing your OS, you may want to reuse the USB drive for regular storage, but the ESD-USB format prevents it.
  • You’re left with limited space or functionality until you convert the USB back to a standard format.
  • Windows might prompt you to format the disk before you can use it, leading to data loss if not done correctly.

Accidental Data Loss

  • While trying to resolve the issues with your ESD-USB, you might accidentally erase important files or need to recover lost data due to an improper conversion process.
  • You’re left seeking a reliable way to recover data without compromising it further.
  • In such cases, professional recovery software like Disk Drill can be invaluable.

Step-by-Step Guide. Esd Usb Back To Normal:

Method 1: Using Disk Management

  • Connect the ESD-USB to your computer.
  • Open the Start Menu and search for ‘Disk Management’. Select ‘Create and format hard disk partitions.’
  • Right-click on the ESD-USB drive and select ‘Format’. Choose NTFS or FAT32 file system and perform a quick format.

Note: This will erase all data on the disk, so ensure you back up any valuable information beforehand.

Conclusion: A straightforward method that is suitable for those without data recovery needs.

Method 2: Using Command Prompt

  • Plug the ESD-USB into your computer.
  • Type ‘cmd’ in the Start Menu, right-click on Command Prompt and Run as Administrator.
  • Use diskpart by typing ‘diskpart’ and then list the drives with ‘list disk’. Identify your ESD-USB drive by its size.
  • Select the disk with ‘select disk #’, replace ‘#’ with your disk number, and clean it with ‘clean’.
  • Create a new partition with ‘create partition primary’, make it active with ‘active’, and format it with ‘format fs=ntfs quick’ or ‘format fs=fat32 quick’, depending on your preference.

Note: This method, like the first, will destroy all data on the USB drive.

Conclusion: A more advanced method for those comfortable using command line tools.

Method 3: Using Windows PowerShell

  • Insert the ESD-USB into a USB port on your PC.
  • Open Windows PowerShell as an administrator from the Start Menu.
  • Type ‘Get-Disk’ to list all the connected drives and identify your USB drive by its number.
  • Clear the drive using ‘Clear-Disk -Number # -RemoveData’, changing ‘#’ to the number of your USB drive.
  • Create a new volume with ‘New-Partition -DiskNumber # -UseMaximumSize | Format-Volume -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel “NewVolume”‘ replacing ‘#’ with your disk number and ‘NewVolume’ with a label of your choice.

Note: Similar to the Command Prompt, this method will completely erase your USB drive.

Conclusion: Ideal for users who prefer PowerShell over the traditional Command Prompt.

Method 4: Using a Third-Party Tool

  • Connect the ESD-USB and download a trusted third-party formatting tool.
  • Launch the application and select your USB drive.
  • Choose the desired file system (NTFS, FAT32, etc.) and initiate the format.
  • Wait for the process to complete and your USB should now be in a standard format.

Note: Many third-party tools offer more features and can handle various types of USB drive issues.

Conclusion: A user-friendly option for individuals not comfortable with Windows tools.

Method 5: Recovering Data with Disk Drill

  • Download and install Disk Drill here.
  • Launch Disk Drill and select your ESD-USB from the list of available drives.
  • Click the ‘Recover’ button to start scanning for lost data.
  • Once the scan completes, preview the files and select the ones you want to recover.
  • Choose a recovery destination that is different from your USB drive and click ‘Recover’ to initiate the data restoration process.

Note: Ensure not to write any new data to the USB drive before recovery, as this may overwrite lost files.

Conclusion: An efficient way to retrieve your files intact without resorting to complex measures.


Precautions and Tips:

Essential Tips for Handling ESD-USB

  • Always back up your important files before initiating any format or conversion processes.
  • Use Windows built-in tools like Disk Management for simple issues before resorting to command-line methods.
  • Remember that converting an ESD-USB to a normal USB will typically erase all data, so have a recovery plan in place if necessary.
  • When using third-party tools, ensure they are from reliable sources to avoid downloading malicious software.

Additional Information on ESD-USB

Not all USB drives are created equal, and when it comes to installation media or recovery drives, the Electronic Software Delivery (ESD) format comes into play often. An ESD-USB is essentially a USB flash drive containing installation files for Windows operating systems. Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool uses this format to create bootable USB drives for the purpose of installing or repairing Windows. Why ESD-USB, you may ask? The ESD format uses advanced compression techniques, making the file size significantly smaller and the process more efficient, ideal for transmitting large operating system files. It’s especially handy for people with limited bandwidth or those needing to save space. Furthermore, ESD files are encrypted, providing an additional layer of security over standard formats. However, the trouble arises when you no longer need the bootable drive, and the ESD-USB is not functioning as a normal storage USB. It’s essential to know the right process for converting and recovering, to avoid frustration and ensure data integrity. There’s a lot of guidance available on Microsoft’s support page, as well as data recovery resources like Disk Drill’s help center, which can be helpful. Remember, patience and the right tools are your best allies in dealing with ESD-USB concerns. Understanding the nuances of this format will help you navigate potential issues and capitalize on its benefits while keeping your data safe.


To sum it up, handling an ESD-USB might seem daunting at first, but with the right approach and tools at hand, converting it to a normal USB and recovering your valuable data is entirely feasible. Whether you’re tech-savvy enough to use command-line utilities or you prefer a more GUI-oriented solution via third-party applications, there’s a method that fits everyone’s comfort level. Most importantly, remember to back up your data and use reputable recovery software like Disk Drill, should you need to retrieve lost files. By following this guide, you can repurpose your ESD-USB for regular storage with ease and confidence.


ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects. ESD can damage USB devices by causing hardware malfunctions or data corruption.

Signs of ESD damage to a USB device include device failure, unexpected behavior, or loss of connectivity.

Prevent ESD by grounding yourself, using anti-static bags for storage, and avoiding contact with USB connectors directly.

Yes, unplugging and then reconnecting the USB device to reset its connection can sometimes restore normal function after ESD.

Software diagnostic utilities can help assess the health of your USB device if you suspect ESD damage.

Data recovery is possible on some ESD-affected USB devices using data recovery software or professional services.

If basic troubleshooting doesn't work, it's advisable to seek professional assistance as they possess specialized equipment and expertise.

Using a damaged device poses risks of further hardware failure and potential data loss. It's best to address the issue promptly.

If a USB port has experienced ESD, there's potential for further damage. Inspect the port and connected devices for issues.

For comprehensive information on ESD protection, visit the Electrostatic Discharge Association.