Recover Deleted Files From a Flash Drive for Free

While you may take the reliability of your flash drive for granted, it is subject to unexpected data loss just like any other type of disk-based device. There are several options to recover data from USB drives. Below we will try to bring up all popular solutions starting with the most effective one - flash drive recovery software.
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To Recover Deleted Files from a USB Drive:

  1. Connect a USB drive to your PC
  2. Download & Install Disk Drill
  3. Select the drive from the list of available drives
  4. Click the "Recover" button
  5. Preview the files by clicking on the “eye” icon next to the filename
  6. Select & save your files

What you should do before starting the procedure

To achieve the best recovery results when using Disk Drill, some preliminary steps should be taken. These are meant to protect the device from further data loss and give you the best chances of recovering your deleted files.
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    Stop using the device

    It is vitally important that you stop using the device as soon as you suspect it has experienced data loss. Failure to follow this advice exposes the drive to further data corruption or the possibility of overwriting lost files before they can be recovered. Once they are overwritten, the files are gone for good.

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    Disconnect the flash drive

    To make sure that you don’t inadvertently write any additional files to the device, you should disconnect it from your computer until ready to recover your data. You can also put it into the read-only mode using Disk Drill to eliminate the chance that data will be overwritten. This will ensure that the deleted files are still there when you use the app to restore them.

Why Disk Drill should be your primary flash drive recovery tool

When faced with a lost file, you want to reach for a recovery tool that has a proven track record of success. Disk Drill has been used by countless users to recover lost files for Windows users and on Mac computers. Here are some of the reasons that Disk Drill should be your data recovery tool of choice.
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    Disk Drill offers different scanning modes that enable you to recover recently deleted files quickly and efficiently. The tool’s deep scan feature scavenges your flash drive on a sector-by-sector basis to reconstruct and salvage data not easily identifiable with a quick scan.

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    This recovery application securely recovers your lost data with no risk to your computer. It scans in read-only mode and will not make any changes to your system. The free data protection tools that are part of the software package help you maintain a high level of security for the most important information on your flash drive.

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    In addition to providing the best flash drive recovery possible, Disk Drill can be used to restore lost files from any type of disk-based storage device. From your computer’s internal drive to micro SD cards, the tool will reliably recover your data with just a few simple clicks.

Recover Permanently Deleted Files from Flash Drive Without Software

Check the Recycle Bin for Deleted Files

The first place you should look for files deleted from your flash drive is the Recycle Bin. Your files might be there and recovering from the bin will save you a bunch of time over any alternative method. Here’s what to do:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking on it, or by right-clicking and selecting Open.
  2. Search for the file or folders that you wish to recover.
  3. Right-click on your selections and choose Restore.
flash drive recovery with recycle bin

Files deleted from a flash drive may not make it to the Recycle bin. If that’s the case, you can try the next method.

Try to Restore the Previous Versions of Your Files and Folders

You might be able to rescue your deleted files or folders by restoring them from a previous version residing on your computer. To attempt this type of recovery, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the file or folder that you wish to recover.
  3. Right-click and select Restore previous versions from the menu.
  4. Select the version you wish to recover from the list displayed.
  5. Click the Restore button to recover your file or folder.
recover files from flash drive via file history

In order for this method to work, Windows needs to have created a restore point that contains a previous version of the file or folders you want to recover.

Try to Restore Your Lost Data Using CMD

You can also try to recover deleted files using the Windows command line and the Attrib command. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Press the Windows key + R and type CMD in the search box.
  2. In the CMD window type chkdsk “drive letter” /f and click Enter.
  3. Press the Y key until the command line restarts.
  4. Type the drive letter again and press Enter to go back to the start.
  5. Type this command - ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D “drive letter”:*.*.
recovering deleted files from flash drive with cmd

When the recovery process is complete, all recovered files will be in a newly created folder. The files may be in the CHK format and need to be renamed in order to be used by your applications.

Common reasons for flash drive data loss

Data loss can occur for many reasons. Here are some of the most common ones.

Firmware faults

Faulty firmware can result in all sorts of problems, including lost data from flash drives. Keeping all system and device firmware updated is considered a best practice that should be followed if you value your files.

Physical malfunction

Flash drives can suddenly experience a complete crash and failure due to accumulated wear and tear or by being improperly disconnected from the system. If you are using the device and start to detect degraded performance, it’s a good idea to consider transferring your data to a new drive as soon as possible.

Malware and viruses

The ease at which flash drives can be shared among multiple users or computers makes them susceptible to infection with malware or viruses. To minimize this risk, keep your system’s antivirus software updated and restrict the use of your drive to verifiable virus-free machines.

Human error

One of the most common causes of deleted data is human error. This problem is exacerbated by sharing a false drive with friends or colleagues. Someone might be trying to copy an image and end up with an accidentally deleted file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

Recover files from a formatted flash drive with this procedure:

  1. Connect the flash drive to your computer.
  2. Launch your data recovery software.
  3. Allow the software to scan the drive for recoverable files.
  4. Restore the files to a new location on your main drive.

Without software, you can recover deleted files from a USB drive by:

  1. Employing a previously taken backup of the drive’s data.
  2. Open a command prompt and use this command with the X replaced by your drive’s letter designation: ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D X:*.*

If your flash drive is not recognized, you have several options:

  1. Connect the drive to another USB port if one is available.
  2. Try using a different computer that may be able to read the drive.
  3. Uninstall and reinstall the USB port through Device Manager.

The answer depends on the extent of the damage. In order to recover files from a broken flash drive you need to be able to connect it to your computer. Once it’s attached, data recovery software may be able to recognize the drive as a raw disk and successfully restore your files.

Your flash drive might not be working correctly for a few different reasons. It could be physically damaged by heat or moisture. The file system could have become corrupted by a virus. You might be using a faulty USB port. Your system may have an outdated driver that is causing the problem.

Follow these steps to reformat a flash drive:

  1. Connect the drive to your Windows computer.
  2. Locate the drive in Device Manager and right click the drive.
  3. Select Policies and Optimize for performance.
  4. Open My Computer and select Format on the flash drive.

Final Words

If you follow the advice to stop using your flash drive at the first signs of data loss, Disk Drill can recover the files and eliminate the stress that accompanies the loss of irreplaceable images or other important information stored on the device. Its intuitive interface and advanced scanning technology make it the perfect tool for users with any level of computer experience. Data recovery professionals, as well as new users, will find that Disk Drill provides a streamlined and reliable data recovery tool that should be your first choice when faced with a data loss scenario.
free data recovery software windows 10

Robust USB Flash Drive Data Recovery Algorithms

Quick Scan and Deep Scan are just two of the many data recovery features that come with Disk Drill. The tool comes with excellent sorting algorithms that let you see the files on your USB drive. You can then choose which files you want to be restored or use the Undelete Protected Data feature completely free. You can even recover the whole lost partition as well!
  • Recover deleted files from USB
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    Cool product, you save peoples butts every day I’m sure. Keep up the good work.
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