Losing files from a USB flash drive can be frustrating, especially when there are no backups available.
Even simple mistakes – such as transferring files from the USB flash drive to the computer and suddenly disconnecting it from the system – can cause the loss of all stored data.
After all, even though USB flash drives are one of the most flexible devices for storing data – regardless of whether it’s documents, mp3 files, images or videos – they are also prone to various corruption errors and malware that can make your data inaccessible.
If you’ve been through such a situation and want to recover the information on your USB flash drive, we’ll show you how it’s possible, as well as pointing out some situations that can lead to such data loss. Check it out!
Is it possible to recover deleted files from a USB flash drive?
To ease your fears, we’ll start by saying that, yes, in the vast majority of cases it is possible to recover deleted files from a USB flash drive.
However, in order to do this, you need to take some basic precautions:
- Once you’ve realized that you’ve lost data on your USB flash drive, stop using it immediately so that you don’t lose your data permanently;
- Remove the USB dlash drive from the computer by running it correctly and store it in the safest possible environment until you start the data recovery process.
- Do not try to copy data from your USB flash drive to another location on your computer.
Causes of file loss on USB flash drives
There are a number of reasons why your files may be lost on your USB flash drive. This problem is not uncommon and can happen due to:
This is something that can happen to anyone, and there’s a good chance it’s happened to you at least once in the past.
The deletion may have resulted from an accidental key combination that led to the removal of the data, or you deleted the files believing you had a backup of them, when in fact you didn’t.
Whatever the case, the good news is that – if you act quickly – the consequences of accidental deletion can be greatly reduced.
People sometimes forget that they have essential files on USB sticks and click the format button too soon.
Fortunately, formatting is not as destructive as it may seem – at least not immediately – so recovery is usually possible.
Thousands and thousands of new varieties of malware are created every day, and many known varieties have the ability to make files stored on a USB flash drive disappear – either by hiding them or deleting them.
File system becomes RAW
RAW is a file system error that means the operating system can’t recognize the type of file system or can’t access the file system on the USB flash drive.
Some of the common reasons for your USB flash drive becoming RAW are improper removal, file system corruption, virus attack, too many bad sectors, among others.
The other possible cause of the RAW error is a file system that is incompatible with the Windows operating system.
For example, if you connect a USB flash drive formatted in APFS (Apple File System) to your PC, Windows will show that you are using a RAW drive, as it doesn’t support this type of file system.
The files are hidden
Hidden files are usually created by the system or application utilities. They are often used to store configuration information or anything else that the average user shouldn’t touch directly.
That said, any file can be marked as hidden, which is why it’s such a common cause of apparent file loss on the USB flash drive.
How do I recover data from a USB flash drive?
Now that you know some of the reasons behind USB flash drive data loss, it remains to be seen how the data can be recovered.
Here are a few methods that can help you with this mission:
1. Use the Error Checker
The first solution you can try to recover information from the USB stick is to use the “Error Check” utility – if your operating system is Windows.
This native system tool is capable of checking and correcting the simplest errors on a flash drive such as a USB flash drive.
When you run this solution, the tool will scan the drive and – if it identifies an error – correct it.
To use this method, use the step-by-step instructions below:
- Go to “This Computer” and right-click on the USB stick you want to recover the information from;
- Then click on “Properties”;
- Next, in the “Tools” tab, select “Scan”;
- Once this is done, choose the “Scan and repair the drive” alternative.
Wait until the process is complete and check that the information on your USB flash drive has been recovered.
This alternative to recovering information from a USB flash drive requires technical knowledge and familiarity with using CMD – or Command Prompt.
Remember that by using commands such as CHKDSK, you run the risk of aggravating data loss.
Therefore, if you don’t have the confidence to carry out this process, leave data recovery to a specialized company, such as Bot.
That said, let’s take a step-by-step approach to this solution:
- 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”. Just make sure you replace “X” with the letter assigned to your USB stick;
- Finally, type “ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D X:*.*” and press “Enter” (again, replace “X” with the letter of the USB stick);
- Wait for the process to finish.
If the method is successful, your lost files will be saved in a newly created folder on your USB flash drive.
3. Use file retrievers
There are many file recoverers that promise to bring back data from USB flash drives.
However, it’s important to remember that the success of these tools often depends on correct execution – which requires technical knowledge and familiarity with the process.
What’s more, there’s no guarantee that the data on your USB flash drive will actually be recovered when using this software.
Not to mention the risk of aggravating data loss and even making it impossible to recover your files and documents.
So here we’ll show you the step-by-step process, but we can’t be held responsible if the files can’t be recovered or if the method makes the situation worse, okay?
If you want to guarantee the best conditions for attempting to recover your data, we recommend that you send your USB flash drive to a company specializing in data recovery, such as Bot.
That said, let’s go step by step:
- Select the most suitable recovery software for your case. Here are some suggestions;
- Now download and run your chosen software;
- Once the software is open, select the USB drive from which you want to recover the files and start the scan;
- At the end of the scan, the software will display the recoverable files. Select the ones you want to recover and click on “Recover”;
- Don’t forget to choose a different – and safe – location to save the recovered files.
Even though the USB stick is a relatively safer device than an internal hard drive, it is not immune to data loss.
Some of the cases that can lead to file loss on USB flash drives are accidental deletion, formatting, virus attacks, RAW file systems and hidden files.
The good news is that it is usually possible to recover information from the USB flash drive – if you stop using it as soon as you notice the data loss.
The first alternative you can use to recover your data from the USB flash drive is to run an error check (if your operating system is Windows).
Another solution that Windows users can use is the CHKDSK command – run in CMD (or Command Prompt). Remember that this alternative is more recommended for those who are already familiar with technical resources.
There is also file recovery software that can be used to fix the problem. However, it’s worth remembering that none of these are 100% guaranteed to be effective and that their implementation requires detailed technical knowledge.
Of all these solutions, the best is undoubtedly to turn to a company that specializes in data recovery – which guarantees the safe recovery of files, without damaging your USB stick.
A company like Bot, which has over a decade of experience in recovering data from USB flash drives of all makes and models.
What’s more, we work to extremely fast deadlines, recovering your data quickly and on budget within 48 hours.
Join our 99% satisfied customers: start your data recovery with us now!