How to Recover Deleted Files from Flash Drive [4 Ways]

How to recover deleted files from flash drive for free? Here, 4 effective ways are provided to recover lost/deleted data on external devices.


By Ellie / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Millions of users rely on flash drives or similar storage devices to save their data. Unfortunately, flash drive technology is just as susceptible to data loss as any other storage technology.

Is data on a flash drive deleted directly? In fact, there are two types of deletions. One is to move files into the Recycle Bin, and the other is to bypass the Recycle Bin directly. But nowadays, external storage devices like USB flash remove the safety net. When you delete a file it bypasses the recycle bin and is deleted directly.

The good news is your deleted files remain on the flash drive. The space occupied by deleted files is marked as free and used to store new data. So there is a chance to recover deleted files from a flash drive if you don't overwrite them.

Recover Deleted Files from Flash Drive

What causes data loss on a flash drive?

Many reasons lead to data loss from flash drive, but most reasons including:

🚫Accidental deletion It's one of the biggest data loss scenarios. You may simply click the "Delete" button or "Shift + Delete" keys, or accidentally delete files while cleaning the disk, etc.
📋Formatting When you insert the flash drive, you may be asked to format it and inadvertently click the "Format" option, causing data loss.
📃File system errors File system errors can be caused by bad sectors, Windows updates, etc., indicating a problem with how data is stored or accessed.
🦠Virus or malware infection Viruses or malware may reside on your flash drive or the system in which it is inserted as a result of visiting suspicious websites, clicking unknown links, and so on.
💀Software bugs or hardware damage If your software has defects or there is physical damage (eg: shock) on a flash drive, your data may be lost during this process.
🔗Other reasons flash drive data loss may occur due to power loss, partitioning mistakes, driver issues, etc. as well.

When you lose any data on aflash drive, the occupied space will be marked as free for new data. If you continue using this flash drive, such as adding new data to it, your deleted files will be overwritten and become unrecoverable. So please stop using it immediately after data loss.

How to recover deleted files from a flash drive

As previously stated, files erased from a flash device can be recovered. But you need to bear in mind that these files are permanently deleted and cannot be recovered from Recycle Bin. Still, you can recover them in other ways. Continue reading to learn about the other 5 methods on how to recover deleted files from flash drive with or without software.

▶ Option 1. Recover deleted files from flash drive with software 

Data recovery software like MyRecover is the easiest method to recover deleted files from a flash drive or any other storage device. It will scan your disk thoroughly to retrieve and locate all the deleted files. You can then recover all or some of them in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc.

Powerful Data Recovery Software
  • Retrieve files in any scenario, such as accidental deletion, formatting, virus infection , etc.
  • Recover 200+ file formats: recover deleted Word documents, PPT, Excel, 3FR, MP3, MP4, JPG, PNG,etc.
  • AFilter and preview deleted files from flash drive before processing flash drive data recovery.
  • Support all brands of flash drives, such as SanDisk, Samsung, Transcend, Kingston, Patriot, etc.

Step 1. Hover the mouse over the USB flash drive and click Scan.

Select partition to scan

Step 2. Then the scanning process will start automatically. You don’t need to wait for the process to complete if you find the files you want to recover. Expand Other Missing Files and select the deleted files on your flash drive.

Scan Lost Data

Step 3. Confirm you select all the files you want to recover and click Recover xx files to recover deleted files from USB flash drive. You will be asked to choose a destination path to save the restored files. Please select a new location.

Recover Lost Data

  • Restoring files to their original location may cause data overwriting, making data recovery more difficult. 

  • MyRecover is capable of recovering permanently deleted files from flash drives for free, up to 500MB. Once your data amount exceeds, please upgrade to the advanced edition

  • You can also recover deleted files from extermal hard drive, SD card, etc.

▶ Option 2. Recover deleted files with Previous Versions

The second option here is to recover deleted files from flash drives with Previous Versions. As its name suggests, it keeps the previous version of your files and you can choose to restore them if you accidentally deleted files or lost them. 

Please bear in mind that enabling File History or System Restore is required before using this function. Select Control Panel > System and Security> File History> Restore personal files. If the functionality is enabled, you will see the file copies here; otherwise, you will receive a message stating that No file history was found.

Step 1. Connect the USB flash drive to your computer.

Step 2. Open This PC and find your USB flash drive. Right-click and select Properties.

Step 3. Go to the Previous Versions tab and look at the list of available recovery options. Select a previous version and click Restore.

Previous Version Flash Drive

▶ Option 3. Recover deleted files from flash drive using CMD

If you suspect the cause of deleted files is a file system error, try chkdsk command. It's able to check file system error and fix it. To retrieve any readable information, try the attrib command. You can then access your files on the flash drive again.

Step 1. Plug in your USB flash drive to your computer. Type cmd into the search box and select Run as administrator.

Open Command Prompt

Step 2. Type chkdsk G: /f and press Enter to fix your flash drive when it is corrupted or cannot be summoned. Replace the letter G with the drive letter of your USB flash drive

Chdsk CMD

Step 3. Input attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:*.* and press Enter to display or remove attribute files and unbidden hidden files. Replace the letter G with the drive letter of your USB flash drive

attrib CMD

▶ Option 4. Get files back from flash drive with Windows File Recovery

First, install it from the Microsoft store, Then, refer to the following steps to learn how to use Windows File Recovery step by step.

Step 1. Check the file system. Navigate to This PC > right-click on the drive that has lost files > Properties.


Step 2. Choose a recovery mode.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

Step 3. Choose switches to help you narrow the scanning range.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment

Step 4. Run Windows File Recovery > input the recovery command:

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

The source drive refers to the drive that has lost files, while the destination can be anywhere you like, except the source drive – they cannot be the same.

To put it simpler, let’s take an example. You have deleted a file named “paper” in D: drive 3 weeks ago, and you want to have it recovered to E: drive. Then you could input:

winfr D: E: /extensive /n *paper*


Wait for the scanning process to complete, and then you will get your files recovered.

Bonus tip - Backup flash drive to avoid further data loss

Windows provides users with two backup software - Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and File History. But you may be frustrated when try to backup your flash drive. It only supports backing up data on the internal disk. So please turn to a third-party backup software, such as AOMEI Backupper to back up your entire USB flash drive in just a few simple steps. Let’s take a look.

Step 1. Download, install, and launch AOMEI Backupper for Windows on your computer. Connect the flash drive to your computer.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

 Step 2. Under the Backup tab, select the Disk Backup option.

disk backup

Step 3. Edit the task name for distinguishing. Click Add Disk and you will see all the available drives. Select the flash drive in the Select Disk window.

Add Disk

Step 4. Select the destination path to store the backup images. Network path and cloud drive are supported.

Backup to Hard Drive

Step 5. Click Start Backup to carry out disk backup and wait until the operation is complete. Click Finish to exit the interface.


This post mainly introduces five proven methods on how to recover deleted files from a flash drive. If you have accidentally deleted your important files or you have lost your files for any other reason, you can follow the steps in this post to get your files back. Besides, you’re also advised to backup your USB flash drive in case there are something unexpected happens.

FAQs on how to recover deleted files from flash drive

Ellie · Editor
Ellie, a professional and experienced writer who is good at solving iOS-related problems and writing iOS backup/transfer tips.