How to Recover Deleted Files From USB [5 Ways]

This post is mainly to show you how to recover deleted files from USB with 5 effective ways step-by-step. In addition, more information about recover lost data will be mentioned too.

Lora

By Lora / Updated on December 21, 2023

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Have you ever accidentally deleted files on a USB drive, or the files on the USB were lost due to other reasons? You may want to restore it from Recycle Bin, but find that files deleted from flash drive not in Recycle Bin.

Losing files is often frustrating, but please don't worry. In this guide, we offer 5 effective ways to recover deleted files from USB on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7.

Recover Deleted Files from USB

The reason why lost data from USB

There are various reasons for losing data from USB and here will be a list of some common reasons for you:

✦ Accidental deletion
✦ Malware infection
✦ USB is formatted by accident
✦ Unsuitable circumstances (too much moisture, heat, etc.)
✦ Hardware failure
✦ Software bug
✦ Problems with power supply to USB ports

Among them, the accidental deletion is the most likely reason for data loss from USB. Also, you need to know the flash drive is an external device, so files deleted on it will not go to Recycle Bin but be deleted permanently.

How to recover deleted files from USB without software

Here are 5 Windows built-in features to recover deleted files from USB drive, including  use CMD, Previous Version, Windows File Recovery or backup image to recover files. Please stop using this USB when lost data, this may increase the chance for data recovery.

▶ Method 1. Recover deleted files with Previous Version

The easiest way to recover deleted files without the help of other tools is Previous Versions, which is a built-in feature on Windows 7/8/10/11. You can restore USB to previous versions. But it works only if you enable System Restore or Create File History Backup feature in advance.

Step 1. Connect your flash drive containing deleted files.

Start File Explorer, find and right-click USB drive, you can then select Properties > Previous Version.

Step 2. Here, view the list of available recovery options.

Select the previous version of deleted files or folders.

Step 3. Recover the files you need.

Click Restore button to restore deleted files you want.

previous-version-restore

★Tips:
This method applies to recover deleted Word documents, Excel files, and other documents.
If you use this method, you will lose all the changes made to deleted files. To recover the entire content, try to restore files from backup in Windows 10 or 11.

▶ Method 2. How to recover deleted files from USB using Command Prompt

Command Prompt, also called CMD, is a Windows built-in command line tool that allows you to recover deleted files from USB by typing commands. Here, we will use chkdsk command to check and repair file system integrity and attrib to retrieve hidden files and folders.

Step 1. Plug your USB drive into your computer. Press Win + Q to open the search bar, type Command Prompt in it and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Firstly, type chkdsk G: /f and hit Enter. (Replace G with your USB drive letter).

chkdsk-command

Step 3. And then, input attrib -h -r -s /s /d G: *.* (Replace G with the USB drive letter) and press Enter.

type-attrib

▶ Method 3. Find deleted files on USB from Backup and Restore

If you create a file backup just before accidentally deleted files on USB, you can try it. It helps to restore deleted files from USB stick without missing any changes. If you create a schedule automatic backup in Windows 10 or 11, it will include all the changes too.

From Backup and Restore (Windows 7):

Step 1. Navigate to Control Panel > System and Security and select Backup and Restore (Windows 7). Then, click Restore my files.

Restore My Files

Step 2. In the Restore Files window, you can search or browse for files and folders to restore.

  • Search: type part of the name of files and select the deleted files to restore.
  • Browse for files: navigate to the folder containing deleted files from Recycle Bin and select it. Then, click Add Files.
  • Browse for folders: select the entire folder with deleted files.  

Restore Files

Step 3. Select a location to restore deleted files from USB flash drive. You can choose original location or browse to new location. Then, click Start Restore.

From Windows 10 File History:

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security and click File History. Then, select Restore personal files. It will open file history recovery window.

restore-personal-files

Step 2. Click the left arrow to locate your deleted files, and click the Restore to original location icon to restore deleted files from flash drive.

restore-deleted-file

Note: If you still don’t have a file backup, try reliable backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It offers you multiple features to backup files automatically and manage disk space in a professional way.

▶ Method 4. Restore deleted files from USB using Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery is a data recovery tool released by Microsoft, its recovery function is more powerful than the previous three, which can satisfy the needs of most users. But you need to learn its syntax, recovery mode and switches, cause there is no graphical user interface. For more details, check how to use Windows File Recovery.

The syntax:

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

enter-winrf-source-drive

The most common used switches and corresponding mode are in the following:

Parameter / switch  

Description

Supported mode(s)

Source-drive:

Specify the drive where the files were lost. Must be different from the destination drive.

All

Destination-drive:

Specify the storage device and folder on which to save the recovered files. Must be different from the source drive.

All

/regular

Regular mode, the standard recovery option for non-corrupted NTFS drives

Regular

/extensive

Extensive mode, a thorough recovery option suitable for all file systems

Extensive

/n

Scans for a specific file by using a file name, file path, file type, or wildcards. For example: 

  • File name: /n myfile.docx
  • File path: /n /users//Documents/
  • Wildcard: /n myfile.*
  • /n *.docx
  • /n * *

All

/segment

Segment mode, recovery option for NTFS drives using file record segments

Segment

/signature

Signature mode, recovery option for all file system types using file headers

Signature

Step 1. Get Windows File Recovery from Microsoft Store and run as administrator.

Step 2. Learn the following examples and type a command suitable for your situation. Then, press Enter.

To recover “Recovery Test.docx” from G: drive (the USB drive) to E: drive, which was deleted a while ago, the right command should be as the following:

winfr G: E: /segment /n “Recovery Test.docx"

To recover the folder “Work” from G: drive (the USB drive) to E: drive, which was lost after formatting, the right command should be as the following:

winfr G: E: /segment /n Work\

Notes:
The source and target drives must not be the same. 
It is incompatible with cloud storage and network file shares.
This software is only available for Windows 10 and later.
If you have problems with this free software, check the Windows File Recovery troubleshooting tutorial.

How to recover deleted files from USB easily and quickly

If you are looking for an alternative to Windows File Recovery, you should try MyRecover. It’s a free and simple solution to help you get your data back quickly in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11 and Windows Server.

  • Free: It supports recovering deleted files up to 30MB each time.
  • Simple: It will automatically start a quick scan and deep scan to find as many of your files as possible.
  • Fast and secure: It has a fast recovery speed and high success rate.
  • Convenient: The deleted files will remains its original file names, format and path after recovery.
  • 200+ file types: It helps to recover lost Word document, Excel file, images, audios, videos, etcdeleted from USB flash drive.

Besides USB stick, this software is still able to recover deleted files from SD cards, internal or external hard drives(HDDs,orSSDs), etc.

Please download the best data recovery software - MyRecovery and recover deleted files with it.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch the best data recovery software - MyRecover. Select the USB drive containing deleted files and click Start Scan.​

select-sd-card-to-scan

Step 2. The program runs quick and deep scanningprocess to finds all the deleted files in the USB drive quickly. You can even recover files without waiting for the scanning process to complete.

scanning-sd-card

You can also use the Filter feature to search the Word files to locate deleted files faster. It has 3 options in the following:

  • Type:It will contain all the file types in the local drive, such as, images, videos, documents, mails, webpage, compressed files, etc.
  • Data Modified: It supports today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and custom. To recover deleted files at a specific time period, try the last option.
  • Size:It allows you to filter file size from less than 128KB to 128KB ~1MB to 1MB ~ 512MB and above, or custom.

To recover deletedfiles from USB drive, MP4, for example, click Filter > Type and select Videos. Then, input MP4in the Search for files or folders box. It will list all of the deleted MP4 file in the following window.

Search For Videos

Step 3. Select the filesor the foldersthat you want to recover from USB and click Recover Filesbutton.It will display the number of files and the total file size.

select-videos-to-restore-from-sd-card

Things closely related to success rate

Regardless of the reasons, you still need to know things when you lose data. It helps to ensure you can successfully recover deleted files from flash drive.

  • Stop using the flash driveimmediately.
  • Disconnect the flash drivefrom your computer and keep it somewhere safe until you want to recover files from it.
  • Don’t take any actions on the flash drive, such as, format, add new items to it, repair bad sectors of it, copy data to a different location, etc.

These will most likely make things worse if you do. For example, adding new data to the flash drive overwrites certain sectors containing deleted files. Repairing bad sectors may destroy data on it.

Further reading - How to prevent accidentally deleted files from USB drive

You will never want to lose any data in USB drive and other storage devices. You can follow x useful tips in the following:

  • Create a file backup automatically. It will not only backup files currently in USB drive, but also include changes made later. Backup and Restore, File History and AOMEI Backupper Standard are great choices. I prefer the last one since it’s more flexible and makes 3-2-1 backup solution easier.

File Backup

  • Add a clear label for the flash drive to avoid accidental deletion.
  • Use “Eject USB” to disconnect your flash drive.
  • Scan and remove virus on your flash drive with anti-virus software. Please be sure you install the latest patches and signature files.
  • Keep your flash drive in a safe place. Flash drive is usually small and easy to be damaged, so you need to keep it in a safe place to to protect your data.

FAQs about recover deleted files from USB

✍ Do USB sticks have a Recycle Bin?

The answer is Yes. The Recycle Bin folder of USB sticks is hidden. You need to enable show hidden files from File Explorer and then check if there is a folder named $RECYCLE.BIN.

✍ Where do deleted USB files go?

Files deleted from your USB drive do not go to Recycle Bin but deleted permanently from a logical perspective. It’s recoverable before being overwritten.

Can I recover deleted files from my thumb drive using another computer?

You can recover deleted files from thumb drive on another computer, because your files are on the thumb drive instead of your computer.

✍ How to recover deleted files from USB free?

There are many methods to recover delete files from pen drive free. You can use free data recovery software like MyRecover or other methods, such as CMD, Previous Version, Backup and Restore (Windows 7), etc.

Conclusion

With above methods, you can easily recover deleted files from USB in Windows 10 or 11. The most effective method is to use data recovery software - MyRecover. If you want to recover files without software, try CMD, Previous Version, Backup and Restore (Windows 7), etc.

Besides, it’s worth mentioning that you need to create a file backup if you still don’t have. To include all the changes, please create a schedule automatic backup. AOMEI Backupper Standard is a good choice.

Lora
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.