How to Recover Data from Pen Drive after Formatting?

How to recover data from pen drive after formatting? Check this tutorial and get some help to restore data after accidentally formatted flash drive.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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“How can I recover my pen drive data after format?”

Pen drive, also known as a thumb drive, or USB flash drive, is a kind of storage device that is fairly light, tiny, and portable. Nowadays a pen drive has made great progress in storage capacity, which has increased to over 1 TB.

People in all walks of life use pen drives to store, transfer, and back up their precious work and life data, including photos, videos, documents, compressed files, etc.


In this post, the possibility and methods to recover data from pen drive after formatting will be discussed. Prior to that, we could look into the disk or pen drive formatting itself.

About pen drive/disk formatting

When it comes to disk formatting, we are talking about the process to prepare a disk before using it. Usually, it refers to the operation done to a new disk, including low-level (physical) formatting and high-level (logical) formatting.

Some people may wonder does quick format delete files, generally, formatting is referring to high-level formatting, also quick format, which rewrites the MBR area, and allocates space for FAT, catalog table, etc.


When formatting a used pen drive, all current contents on it will be totally wiped, meanwhile, an empty file system will be generated to facilitate file management.

Is it possible to recover data after accidentally formatted flash drive?

Then people would ask if it is achievable to recover files from a formatted pen drive. And eager to figure out a feasible means to do so.

Here, let’s take a look at two real cases to make it clear.


I have a 2TB external USB drive, I formatted it while working, which has quite literally Years’ worth of data… I need to recover them, is it real? What software is better to use for this?


- Question from Sitepoint Community


I foolishly formatted a USB pen drive when creating a boot image of Windows 7. I now need to know if I will be able to recover any of the documents.


- Question from Tom’s hardware


We could see 2 cases here. For the first one, this user just formatted the USB drive, and from the description, we can imply that no new data is written to it. In this case, recovering data after accidentally formatted flash drive is feasible.

However, for the second case, it can be inferred that this poor user has formatted a pen drive while making a bootable image. Perhaps this user had accidentally deleted boot partition and had to create bootable media with a USB to start the computer.

In this event, new data has overwritten the formatted data in it, thus the old data is gone and cannot be recovered.

Now, for those who did not do any overwriting operations to the formatted pen drive, they could follow the solutions in the following part.

Feasible methods to recover data from pen drive after formatting

To perform flash drive recovery after formatting is not an easy task. But luckily some data rescue utilities can help.

Method 1. Achieve flash drive recovery after formatting via Windows File Recovery

According to Microsoft, Windows File Recovery is command-line software that can restore deleted data from healthy/corrupted/formatted hard drives. But it doesn’t possess an intuitive user interface, which can be fairly difficult to use.

This app uses recovery mode and switches to scan a filtered range and locates the deleted files. What modes and switches to use depends on the file system and the data loss situation.

More detailed info and explanations can be found in the Windows File Recovery use guide.

If meet any errors or issues, check the Windows File Recovery troubleshooting solutions.

Step 1. Connect your pen drive to your PC > go to This PC > right-click on the pen drive > click Properties and check the file system that your USB flash drive is using.


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. Select switches to narrow the scanning range and shorten the scanning duration.

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. Go to Microsoft Store > click Get to install Windows File Recovery > run the app.


Step 5. Input the command:

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

Source drive: the place where the lost data was stored.

Target drive: a place to save the scanned data. Must be different from the source drive.

For instance, input:

winfr F: D: /extensive /n *.jpg

Using it, you could recover all jpg files from F: drive to D: drive. If you find there was an error parsing your command, check your command syntax or use an easier alternative in the next section.

Method 2. Recover data from pen drive after format via professional Windows data rescue tool

Compared to using the complex Windows File Recovery commands to get data back from the pen drive, it is much more convenient and easy to rely on an efficient Windows data rescue tool.

MyRecover will be the best choice when meeting data loss on HDD/SSD/SD card/USB.

Being an advanced data rescue utility, it is equipped with efficient scanning methods ad algorithms. Let’s see its amazing features.


Use a versatile utility to Rescue Data from Pen Drive effortlessly.

  • Retrieve lost and deleted data with all formats/filenames/directories kept intact.
  • Support data recovery at a very high speed and recovery rate.
  • Get back over 200 types of data.
  • Compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7 SP1/Server.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch the software > connect the pen drive to the PC > hover the mouse over the formatted pen drive > click Scan.


Step 2. During the scanning process, you could preview the scanning results or directly select files to recover.


Step 3. Select the data that you want to recover, for example, Images > click Recover x files.


Please remember to save your restored data in another safe place. Moreover, it can also help you restore files from other devices, like SD cards. Seek help to achieve SD card recovery.

FAQ about pen drive data rescue

Two practicable solutions are provided in this article to help you recover data from pen drive after formatting.

To get more info and instructions about flash drive data recovery, please check the FAQ as follows.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.