Have you ever plugged in your USB drive, known as one of the safest physical storage devices, to your computer, only to find out that your important files are missing from it? Maybe you just accidentally unplugged your USB drive while it was still transferring data, and now your files are corrupted. This, without a shred of doubt, will be a total nightmare if you lose your important files because of it. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to recover those missing USB files.
In this article, we are going to show you the reasons for your data loss and three methods to recover those deleted files. Let’s dive in.
Why Did I Lose Data From My USB Drive?
Before we dive deep into the ways to recover the data deleted from your USB drive, you need to understand why you lost the data. Unplugging a USB drive without performing the “Eject” action while it’s still working on file transfer is one of the biggest reasons for data loss. However, you can also lose your files for the following reasons:
- Malware infection
- Accidental file deletion
- Storing your USB drive in inappropriate conditions, such as excessive exposure to moisture or heat
- Data fragmentation
- Problematic supply of power to the USB ports
- Hardware malfunction
- Existence of an unknown program or software bugs
Do The Following Before You Start (Important!)
No matter what led you to the loss of data, you need to take a few pivotal actions to make sure you can successfully recover your USB files. The measures you need to take are as follows:
- Once you discover that you have lost files from your USB drive, stop using it immediately. If you continue using the USB drive, it might lead to additional data loss or file corruption.
- Immediately unplug the USB drive from your computer and store it in an adequate location before you perform the data restoration process.
- You must not try to copy the remaining data of the USB drive to any other location. Often, this would only make the situation worse, increasing the difficulty of the data recovery process.
How to Recover Deleted USB Files?
Now you already know the reasons why you lost your USB files and what you need to do to ensure a smoother restoration process. Therefore, in this section, we will show you three approaches to recover your deleted USB files with ease.
Recover Erased USB Files Using Command Prompt
If you describe yourself as a tech-savvy person and have no problem using the Command Prompt, this method allows you to recover your USB files without using any third-party applications. Thus, follow the steps below to restore your USB files without a hitch:
- First, plug in the USB drive to your computer.
- Next, click on the “Search Bar” in the bottom-left corner of your Windows 10 device, type “cmd,” and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard. This will open the “Command Prompt” window. (For computers with Windows 11 OS, click on the “Search” icon that is located in the second position from the left on the taskbar to access the “Search Bar.”)
- Once inside the Command Prompt, type “chkdsk X: /f” and press the “Enter” key to execute it. Just replace “X” of the command with the drive letter of your USB flash drive. You can check the drive letter of your USB drive in the “My PC” window.
- Next, type “ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D X:*.*” and press the “Enter” key again to execute it. Once again, replace the “X” in the command with the drive letter of the USB drive.
- Once you execute the command that we have mentioned above, your device will start the recovery process. Please wait a few minutes until the restoration is complete, and you will get your files back on your USB drive. The recovered files will be in a new folder on your USB drive.
Restore the Files Via Previous Version Feature of Windows OS
Not a fan of Command Prompt and complicated command lines? No worries. In Windows 10, you can always use the “Restore to the previous version” feature to recover your deleted files.
As long as you have enabled the feature before the deletion of your files and there is at least one version of your USB drive is recorded on your computer, you can use this feature. Rescue your USB files by following the steps below:
- First, plug in the USB drive to your computer.
- Next, type “My PC” in the “Search Bar” and press the “Enter” key to open the My PC window.
- After that, find the USB drive and right-click on it. A new prompt with multiple options will show up.
- Once the prompt opens up, click on the “Properties” option. A new window with multiple tabs and information will be displayed on your computer.
- Now, click on the “Previous Versions” tab and look for the available versions. If there are multiple versions, pick one from a date before the deletion of your data.
- Next, at the bottom of the window, click on the “Restore” button. Wait for a few moments and your USB drive will revert back to a state before the deletion of your files.
Please Note: If you don’t see any available versions after executing the 4th step, you cannot use this method to recover your USB files. If you have also tried the method using Command Prompt and still had no luck, it’s time to use the next one.
Recover Lost USB Files Through Third-party Data Recovery Software
If you are unable to recover the files even after using both of the previous methods, it’s time to switch to a professional third-party data recovery software for USB drives. Before we begin, please remember that you should always choose a professional data recovery application from a reputed company with numerous positive reviews. Once you pick a data restoration software, download and install it on your computer.
Remember, most professional data recovery applications have a similar user interface and recovery process. Therefore, as long as you follow the instructions we will mention in this method, you can easily retrieve your data.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Plugin the USB drive into your computer and launch the data restoration application.
- Next, click on the USB drive to select it and click on the “Scan” or “Search for lost data” option to start the scanning process. The whole process might take a while, so please be patient.
- Once the scan is complete, the software will show all the recoverable files in the result section.
- Look for the files you want to recover from the list and select them. Once you select all the files you need, click on the “Recover” option.
Congratulations! You have successfully restored the files deleted from your flash drive.