Free & Easy Ways to Recover Deleted Files from USB Drives

Seeking ways to recover deleted files from USB drives? This detailed post shares four solutions with you to recover hidden/deleted/lost files from flash drives.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

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How can I recover my deleted files from USB without software?


Can you help me recover deleted files from USB flash drives after accidental deletion? Any suggestion will be appreciated.



My cousin deleted my files stored on my USB drive and added new files to it. So is it possible to get them back, and how can I restore them without the software? Thanks.

After deletion, the operating system will remove the deleted files from the file category. Then designate the storage space as the free space where is ready to write new data. By overwriting, the deleted data will become irrecoverable and achieve data sanitation.


Thus, it’s more problematic for the second user to recover deleted files from USB drives after data wiping. Wondering how to recover deleted files from flash drive with/without software? Please continue reading.  

Four ways to recover deleted files from USB drives

To ensure a higher data recovery rate, you’re supposed to stop written performances to overwrite the memory after data loss. If you settle to recover deleted files from USB drives, you can refer to the four methods below.

Part 1. How to recover deleted files from flash drive without software?

How to recover deleted files from flash drive without software? There’re two scenarios. First, you can recover the hidden files from USB using CMD. Second, you can restore the deleted files from backups if you have one.

Solution 1. Recover hidden files from USB drives using CMD

Hidden files usually are configured by default. And the attrib command aims to modify the file/file folder’s attribute in Windows. Let’s show how it works.

Step 1. Connect your USB drive to the computer. Then enter “cmd” in the search box, and click “Run as administrator” to open it.


Step 2. Type “attrib –h –r –s /s /d G:\*.*” in the command prompt window and hit “Enter” to start the recovery process. Please replace “G” with your USB drive letter.


Step 3. After recovery, open your USB drive and find the new folder that includes your recovered files. You can change its format and destination saved path as you need.

Solution 2. Recover deleted files from USB drives via Previous Versions

If the attrib command fails to work, these files are in a deletion state. As previously stated, this solution closely links to backups. Let’s take previous versions as an example.

But this method only works for those users who have enabled File History or System Restore to backup USB drives. As the name reveals, this Windows feature can offer several file versions for you. Let’s perform how to restore previous versions of files.

Step 1. Plug your USB stick into your PC. Then press “Win + E” to open Windows File Explorer.  

Step 2. Locate the folder that contains your needed files and right-click on it. Then click the “Properties” button.


Step 3. Under the Previous Versions tab, “Restore” your selected file version.


Part 2. How to recover deleted files from flash drives with software?

Without backups, you can seek help from data recovery software to recover your files. Please get an overview of these two tools before making a decision.

Solution 1. Recover deleted files from flash drives via Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery works to help computer-savvy users recover lost files from their local storage devices (internal and external hard drives, USB drives, and SD cards).

Unlike other software, this data recovery tool relies on the command lines to interact with users. Specifically, if you want to utilize Windows File Recovery, it’s unavoidable for you to recover the deleted files using CMD.   

Windows File Recovery is only compatible with Windows 10 and above.   
You can use it to recover the lost Word documents, Excel, PPT, PDF, ZIP, JPG, JPEG, etc.
Replace your selected mode and switches in the basic command format line winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches].  
Ensure the source drive (where to store your desired files before data loss) is different from the destination drive (where to store the recovered files).
Four (Extensive, Regular, Segment, and Signature) modes support four (NTFS, FAT, exFAT, and ReFS) file systems.  

Let’s begin with the first three steps to figure out your needed mode and switches.

Step 1. Check the file system of your source drive (flash drive): Connect USB to your PC, and click “This PC” > right-click on the USB > “Properties.”


Step 2. Select a recommended mode after checking the file system of your USB drive and data loss scenarios.

File system




Deleted recently



Deleted for a while



Formatted disk



corrupted disk


FAT and exFAT



Step 3. Select some common switches you want from the following form.



Supported          modes


Recover specific extension groups, comma-separated



Saves a log file of the recovery operation in a different location than the default location on the recovery drive (for example, D:\logfile).



Overrides user prompts, which is useful in a script file.



Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin.

NTFS Segment


Recovers system files.

NTFS Segment​​​​​


Recovers files without primary data streams.

NTFS Segment


To keep your results manageable and focus on user files, some file types are filtered by default, but this switch removes that filter. 

NTFS Segment


Specifies which file types are filtered.

NTFS Segment

Step 4. Download Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft Store by clicking the “Get” button, then install and “Open” it on your PC.


Step 5. Let’s perform how to recover the recently deleted PDF file from your USB (assume the drive letter is “F”) to the destination D drive.

the basic command format: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

the adjusted command line: winfr F: D: /regular /n*.pdf


Please enter the adjusted command line in the window, and press “y” to go on. If you want to stop the thumb drive data recovery process, please press the “Ctrl + C” keys.

Solution 2. Recover deleted files from flash drives via the best data recovery software

Windows File Recovery is effective, but the complicated command line resembles the process that could dampen many users’ spirits. Thus, several non-tech users seek a handier data recovery tool to recover files from USB drives.

So why don’t you consider MyRecover? With the help of this user-friendly data recovery software, there’s no need for you to recover files using CMD because it has provided a GUI (graphical user interface).

Let’s have a closer look at its functions.


  1. Besides HDD, you can use it to recover the deleted/lost files from portable devices such as USB, SSD, SD cards, and other storage devices.
  2. Recover 200+ types of data: Word, Excel, PPT, Photo, Video, Audio, Emails, Webpages, and Compressed files.
  3. Get the original path, filename, and format for the deleted files.
  4. Search your desired files during the scanning process or you can see all the deleted files and other lost files on your computers after running Quick Scan and Deep Scan.


  1. Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Windows Server.
  2. Deal with deletion, disk formatting, and other data loss scenarios.

Step 1. Download and install MyRecover on your PC. Then connect the pen drive to the computer.

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

Step 2. After running the software, hover the mouse over the USB drive and click Scan.


Step 3. You can search your desired files or wait to see all the deleted files and other missing files after scanning automatically.


Step 4. Go to the Deleted files folder, and select the files you want to restore. Then click “Recover x files” and save them in a new location.


If you cannot find your needed files in the Deleted files folder, please go to the Other missing files folder.

Bonus tips

This post lists four methods for you to recover hidden/deleted files from USB drives. If your files are hidden, you can make them visible by the attrib command. For the deleted files, you can restore them with backups or use data recovery software like MyRecover.

And here comes the best data loss prevention tip for you: make regular backups with Windows features or free backup software-AOMEI Backupper.  

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.