How to recover deleted files from a flash drive

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From quickly transferring data between computers to backing up important files, flash drives have many uses, including storing data.

It is common for users to lose data when using them for data storage.

The good news is that there are some methods that can help you recover deleted files from your flash drive.

In this article, we’ll teach you some of these methods, as well as explaining what exactly a flash drive is and the reasons why data can be lost from it.

What is a flash drive?

A flash drive is a small, portable storage device which, unlike an optical drive or a traditional hard disk, has no moving parts.

Flash drives connect to computers and other devices via an integrated USB Type-A or USB-C plug, making it a kind of combination device and USB cable.

Main causes of data loss on flash drives

In addition to the accidental deletion of files, there are several reasons why data sometimes disappears without warning from flash drives, including:

Accidental removal

When removed accidentally – or without due care – flash drives can suddenly suffer a complete failure.

This is because, when the device is removed without first “warning the system”, a process can end up being interrupted.

As a result, the device can receive an electric current at higher levels, and can be burnt out, just like the USB port on your PC.

Formatting the flash drive

Instead of manually erasing files from flash drives, many users prefer to simply format the entire drive.

Especially when using several flash drives at the same time, it’s easy to accidentally format the wrong drive and instantly lose access to all stored data.

Virus attack

The ease with which flash drives can be shared between several users (or computers) makes them susceptible to infection by malware or other viruses.

To minimize this risk, keep your system’s antivirus software up to date, as well as restricting the use of your drive to verifiable, virus-free machines.

Corrupted files

In some situations, the files stored on the flash drive can become corrupted – such as in cases of a sudden power outage or system failure.

If you have lost access to extremely important files due to data corruption, disconnect your flash drive immediately.

Do not use file utilities or data recovery programs, as the software can contribute to corruption and greatly diminish your chances of a successful data recovery.

How to recover deleted files from a flash drive

Recovering data from a flash drive is no easy task, and may require special resources and specialized technical skills.

So instead of trying to recover your data on your own and potentially making the situation much worse than it already is, consider contacting a professional data recovery service.

If you want to risk recovering deleted files from the flash drive on your own, you can try one of the following alternatives.

Recover files from flash drive using CMD

We decided to start with this method, not because it’s the easiest or most effective, but because you don’t need to download any third-party tools to use it or have any data protection features activated.

To recover files from the flash drive using “CMD” – better known as “Command Prompt” – follow the instructions below to the end:

  • Connect the USB flash drive to your computer
  • Open the Start menu, type “cmd” and press “Enter” on your keyboard
  • Type “chkdsk X: /f” in the “Command Prompt” window and press “Enter”. Don’t forget to replace “X” with the letter assigned to your USB flash drive
  • Finally, type “ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D X:*.*” and press the “Enter” key (again, replace “X” with the letter of the USB drive)
  • Wait for the process to complete.

If the method was successful, you should see all the deleted files in a newly created folder on your USB drive.

Recover USB flash drive files from previous versions

Present in all recent versions of the Windows operating system (including 7, 8 and 10), the “Restore previous versions” feature allows you to recover deleted files without third-party tools.

However, this solution only works if you have enabled it before you deleted your files.

To recover deleted data from a USB flash drive:

  • Connect the USB flash drive to your PC
  • Open the “Start” menu, type “This PC” and press “Enter” on your keyboard
  • Right-click on the USB flash drive and select “Properties”
  • Go to the “Previous versions” tab and look at the list of available recovery options
  • Select a previous version and click on “Restore”.

If you don’t see previous versions, this means you can’t use this method to recover deleted files from your flash drive.

In this case, we recommend moving on to the third method.

Restore flash drive files from Windows backups

If you have backed up the data on your flash drive before, you can check it to try to recover it.

To do this:

  • Open the control panel and go to “System and Maintenance”. Then select “Backup and Restore”
  • Click on “Restore my files”
  • Click on “Browse files” (or “Browse folders”) and select the backup you had created
  • Choose a location to save your backup (which can be either the “Original location” or “In the following location”). In the event of a conflict, select “Copy and replace”, “Don’t copy” or “Copy but keep both files” – whichever best suits your preferences
  • Once the restoration process is complete, all your permanently removed files or folders will appear on your PC, in the location you chose to save them.

Another alternative is to check your online or cloud storage service, if you use one.

After all, you may have synchronized your files on this service, in which case you can recover the data from the drive through it.


A flash drive is a small, portable storage device that connects to computers and other devices using a USB plug and is generally used to store data.

However, some situations can cause the data stored on these drives to be lost. These include accidental removal, formatting, virus attacks and corrupted files.

To recover deleted data from the flash drive, you can use CMD, recover files from the flash drive from previous versions or use Windows backup.

The problem is that these methods are not guaranteed and can make data loss worse.

That’s why it’s best to leave the recovery of deleted flash drive files in the hands of a company that specializes in this – like Bot.

The professionals here at Bot have repaired and recovered countless flash drives every year for over a decade.

We give each case an individualized approach to ensure high recovery rates and fast response times.

Our professionals can successfully handle the recovery of lost files on flash drives, using effective and secure technologies.

In addition, our team operates in a certified Clean Room, which has strict controls to prevent damage caused by device contamination or electrostatic discharge.

Not to mention that we can answer any questions you may have about the data recovery process on our social networks – at any time of the day or night.

Trust those with over 100,000 successfully resolved cases: start your data recovery with us now!


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