Memory sticks are a method of storing data and transferring files between computers quickly and easily. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these storage devices, they are also prone to file corruption. This also damages data stored on the memory stick, which may or may not be recoverable. Before recovery, first format the disk to repair it. Formatting (such as emptying a recycle bin) does not actually delete data permanently; it only makes the previously occupied space available for overwriting.
Insert the memory stick into an available universal serial bus port. If you have a memory card such as an secure digital card, insert it into the card reader. When the window appears asking you what you would like to do with the inserted media, close the window without choosing anything. Open the "Start" menu and go to "Computer."
Find the memory stick in the "Computer" explorer window. Right click on the drive and select "Format." Format the corrupted disk before attempting to recover data from it. Select "NTFS" as the file system while leaving all other options at their default settings. Click "Start" and wait for the computer to finish formatting the memory stick.
Download a recovery program of your choice. Some common programs include those found at CardRecovery, Undeleter and SaveMyUSB. Install the software and open it. Most data recovery programs provide a wizard-driven interface and work in much the same way. In the recovery program, select the drive from which you want to recover files. If requested, select the type of files that you want to recover, such as image or document files. Start the recovery process and wait for the program to find recoverable files. Select the files you wish to recover and save them to a safe location on your hard disk.
Ensure you are logged in as an administrator, otherwise you will not be able to access the "Format" feature.