We put USB sticks and SD cards through a lot of work (and abuse), and sometimes it leaves them in a state where they’re unreadable. Learn how to determine if this happens to your tiny data drive and get some tips on how to make it usable again.
The Balena team flashes hundreds of SD Cards a week while experimenting and deploying devices. They use Etcher, their open source image flashing utility, that’s quite popular in the community. Etcher can write Raspbian to an SD Card for a Raspberry Pi, flash Ubuntu, Fedora, and other popular Linux distributions to USB drives to boot a PC, or write out the contents of an existing disk image for archival purposes.
Etcher is used millions of times per month to successfully write USB sticks and SD Cards. Unfortunately, there are some rare exceptions where a flash is unsuccessful, or, more commonly, a user flashes a Linux image but then does not realize that their Windows or Mac PC can’t read its contents. We see that scenario play out quite a bit on our Forums, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain the process of recovering a “broken” device.
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