How to Recover Deleted USB Files

Unplugging your USB drive while it’s in the process of transferring files isn’t a good move. Doing so may cause file loss if the transfer is not completed. Files can also go missing if the drive is infected with malware or the power supply to the device is interrupted. If you experience deleted USB files, regardless of how it happened, there are ways to recover them. This article will give you several USB file recovery options. Read on to learn more.

How to Recover Deleted USB Files

Recover the Files With Windows Backup

Creating a USB drive backup is great in case you lose files and need them back. For this to work, the backup should be available when restoring the files.

  1. Go to the start menu and type “Control Panel.”
  2. In the control panel menu, choose “System and Maintenance.”
  3. Select “Backup and Restore.”
  4. Choose “Restore my files” to open a wizard with the necessary steps you need to follow.

These steps should help you recover files successfully.

Recover USB Deleted Files Using Command Prompt (CMD)

This is an effective and easy method that you can use if you don’t want to download a third-party tool. The command prompt is a part of the Windows installation. It works with several commands. Here are the steps you need to follow to use the Windows feature:

  1. Connect your USB to the computer.
  2. On the start menu, write “cmd” and select “Enter” on the keyboard.
  3. This will open a CMD window where you need to write “chksdsk X: /f” and select “Enter.”
  4. Type this: “ATTRIB-H-R-S /S /D X:*.*” and choose “Enter.” The X should also be replaced here with the letter assigned to your USB drive.
  5. Wait for the command to run.

If the process is successful, you will see the deleted files in a new folder on the USB Flash drive.

Restore Deleted Files Using Software

It can be pretty upsetting if crucial files are lost on the USB, especially when the deletion is permanent. However, there is hope since there are software programs you can be used to restore the files. Such software options have advanced algorithms to scan your drive and recover lost files successfully.

One third-party software you can use is Disk Drill. It is a professional-grade solution that is relatively easy to learn, even for novices. The software helps retrieve damaged, formatted, or corrupted files on your USB. To recover the deleted files, you need to:

  1. Find Disk Drill on the internet. Download and install it on your PC.
  2. Connect the USB from which the files were deleted to the PC.
  3. Choose “Search for lost data.”
  4. Preview all the files under this window.
  5. Choose all the files you need to be recovered.
  6. Select the “Recover” option.

You can scan the USB drive and other devices using the best file recognition algorithms with Disk Drill. These can positively identify any damaged files and recover them. This software can be tried out for free up to 500 MB, after which you have to pay.

Use the In-Built File Recovery Tool on Windows

Due to the high demand for data recovery software such as Disk Drill, Microsoft released its own version, Windows File Recovery. This recovery has been available since Windows 10 version 2004 and later versions. This option can be used to recover deleted files from USBs. The only shortcoming with the option is that it lacks a graphical user interface making it hard to compete with third-party software options. To recover files using this method:

  1. Open the Microsoft Store and download “Windows File Recovery.”
  2. Connect the USB to your PC and master the assigned letter (drive letter).
  3. Open the CMD or Windows Terminal as an administrator.
  4. Enter the command: “Winfr E: C: /extensive” (the letter E: should be replaced with the USB drive assigned letter. Replace letter C: with the letter assigned to the destination device the files will be stored after recovery).
  5. Wait as the recovery completes.

Reasons Why USB Data Loss Occurs

There are lots of scenarios that could lead to deleted files in a drive in addition to unplugging while the drive is still in use. Other reasons why you could lose your files include:

  • USB port power supply issues
  • Software bugs
  • Hardware failure
  • A USB drive that is physically damaged
  • Formatting a USB drive
  • Malware infection
  • Accidental or intentional deletion

Regardless of how the file loss occurred, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of a successful recovery.

  • Disconnect the flash drive and stop using it when you discover you’ve lost data.
  • Store the USB safely until you get ample time for data recovery
  • Don’t try to copy anything from the USB to other locations. This could make things worse.

Preventing USB Data File Loss

It’s possible to protect files on a USB drive to avoid loss. You should ensure that:

  • Files are backed up: They can be stored in the cloud or another physical storage device. In this way, files can be accessed should they be deleted.
  • Label the flash drives: If you are not the only one with access to the USB drives, ensure they are clearly labeled to warn others from deleting them.
  • Keep the drives safe: USB drives can be damaged physically or lost if they are stored carelessly.

Enable write protection: Consider this for extremely important files. Use the write protection option to prevent accidental modification or deletion.

Another good option is to reactivate the recycle bin on the USB drive. You might notice that the recycle bin is not used when deleting information from the storage devices in the newer Windows version. This means the deleted files are permanently deleted. Here’s how the registry can be tweaked to enable the feature:

  1. On your PC keyboard, hit the Windows key and R simultaneously. This will initiate the “Run” dialogue box.
  2. In the box, enter “regedit” to access the “Registry Editor” application.
  3. In the editor, navigate to find
  4. On the “Policies option,” right-click and choose New > Key. The new key should be named “Explorer.”
  5. Select Enter.
  6. Choose “Explorer.” In the right pane, right-click a space and choose New>DWORD (32-bit) from the menu. Name the new value RecycleBinDrives.
  7. Double-click it and write “fffffff” (don’t include the quotation marks). The best should be “Hexadecimal.” Choose “OK.”
  8. Restart the computer for the changes to be applied.

A hidden $RECYCLE.BIN folder will be created on USB drives when connected to the PC. Configure File Explorer to show the hidden files if you want to see them.


Can a damaged USB drive be fixed?

It is not easy to repair a USB drive that’s been damaged physically. Much work is involved in such a case, such as removing and soldering the chip to another circuit board. This is not in everyone’s skill set, but if you are determined to recover your files, consider taking the drive to a data recovery center.

Recover All Your Lost USB Files

Losing important USB files is something we all dread. However, there is always hope and a good chance that the files can be recovered using different methods. You may not have to download software to get the files back, but it might be a necessity in some extreme cases.

Have you ever lost important files from a USB flash drive? Did you recover them with any of the steps above? Let us know in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos