Top 2 Ways to Perform Thumb Drive Data Recovery

Use data recovery software to achieve thumb drive data recovery in this post. Moreover, you can get tips for flash drive partition recovery and data loss prevention.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Can you recover data from a thumb drive?


 I don’t know how to recover deleted files from USB sticks? Could you recommend the best USB data recovery software for me to recover deleted files from it? Thanks.

A thumb drive (USB flash drive/pen drive) is a small data storage device with flash memory and a built-in USB interface.

This portable device renders convenience for users to store or transfer data between PCs. Nevertheless, accidental deletion, intentional deletion, hardware failure, incorrect connection, or other mishandling could cause USB data loss.  

How to recover deleted files from USB?

So how to recover deleted files from thumb drive? At the moment, both Windows File Recovery and another USB data recovery software could give you a hand. Furthermore, please follow these suggestions for a better thumb drive data recovery.

In practice, the deleted performance cannot wipe out the deleted files from your thumb drive. There still exists the free storage space as ready for overwriting. 

After data loss, please stop the USB flash drive immediately. Moreover, please don’t add new data to it because new data could overwrite the deleted/lost files.   
Disconnect the USB stick from your PC until you’re ready to start performing flash drive data recovery
Do not attempt to repair bad sectors of your thumb drive because the repair process may destroy the deleted/lost data.

Option 1. Perform thumb drive data recovery with Windows File Recovery

How to recover deleted files from USB? Computer-savvy users can try to use Windows File Recovery to perform flash drive data recovery. Please tap into this command-line software   


▶Recover the lost files from your local storage devices such as internal and external hard drives, USB sticks, and SD cards.

Recover the deleted Word, Excel, PPT, PDF, ZIP, JPG, JPEG, PNG files, and so on.



▶You’ll be asked to recover the deleted files using CMD because there’s no graphical user interface (GUI).

▶Windows File Recovery only works with Windows 10 and later versions.

Please designate the mode and switches first, and you’re ready to resemble your needed command lines with the basic command format winfr source-drive: destination drive: [/mode] [/switches].

  • The source drive (which contains data you want to restore) is different from the destination drive (which store the recovered data).
  • Four (Extensive, Regular, Segment, and Signature) modes can support four (NTFS, FAT, exFAT, and ReFS) file systems.

Step 1. Connect the thumb drive to your PC. Then click “This PC” > right-click on the source drive > “Properties” to check the file system of your source drive.


Step 2. After figuring out the file system of your source drive and data loss scenarios, please choose a recommended mode.

File system




Deleted recently



Deleted for a while



Formatted disk



corrupted disk


FAT and exFAT



Step 3. Select some switches you need 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.


Step 5. Let’s perform how to restore the recently deleted PDF file from the thumb drive (assume it’s the F drive) to the D drive.

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

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


Step 6. Please enter the adjusted command line in the window. Then press “y” to go on. If you need to stop the recovery process, press the “Ctrl + C” keys.

Option 2. Use the best USB data recovery software

For newcomers, Windows File Recovery is not a well-designed data recovery software. Are you looking for another more user-friendly flash drive data recovery software?

Maybe MyRecover can satisfy your various needs. For deleted files, there’s no need for you to open the recovered files to check their contents because you can judge the content according to the original filenames.

Let’s have a closer look at other highlights. 

▶Powerful functions:

  • Besides HDD, you can use it to recover the deleted/lost files from portable devices such as SSD, USB flash drives, and SD cards.
  • Recover 200+ types of data: Microsoft Office, Photos, Videos, Audios, Webpages, Compressed files, etc.
  • Get the original format for the deleted/lost data.
  • Run Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically to find all the deleted files and other lost files on your computer.
  • Handle deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, and other data loss scenarios.

▶Good compatibility and user-friendliness:

  • Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.
  • Be compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Windows Server.

Step 1. Install and run MyRecover on your PC. Then connect your USB flash drive to the computer.

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

Step 2. Hover the mouse over your thumb drive, and click Scan.


Step 3. During the scanning process, you can search your needed files by typing the filename in the search bar. After running Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically, this tool will show all the deleted files and other missing files.


Step 4. Go to the Deleted files folder, select your needed files and click the “Recover x files” button. Remember to store the recovered data in your specified saved path.


Q&A for thumb drive recovery

How do you recover hidden files on a flash drive?

In this case, you can use the attrib command to recover hidden files from USB because ATTRIB allows you to change the file attribute (read-only, hidden, system, or archive) of a file or folder.

Please connect your thumb drive to the computer. Then press “Win + X” and select the “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” option.

Type “attrib –h –r –s /s /d G:\*.*” in the command prompt window and hit “Enter” to recover your files. Remember to replace “G” with the drive letter of your USB.


After the restoration process, you’ll find these hidden files become visible to you in the original location.

How to perform flash drive partition recovery?

AOMEI Partition Assistant Wizard is a good helper for users to recover the deleted/lost partition on the USB drive.

For flash drive partition recovery, you’d better don’t add new data to overwrite the flash memory. Otherwise, the deleted partition will be unrecoverable and sanitized.

How to recover files from USB without drive letter to computers?

If you fail to access your USB drive due to a lack of drive letter, at the moment, please assign a new drive letter to the USB flash drive to fix this issue.

Connect the thumb drive to your PC. Then press “Win + R” and type “diskmgmt.msc” in the Run window. Please click “OK” or hit “Enter” to open the Disk Management.

Right-click on your USB drive, then click “Change Drive Letter and Paths” > “Change” > “Assign the following drive letter” (Please note the assigned new drive letter is different from all the drive letters).


After assigning, you can press “Win + E” to open Windows File Explorer to view your thumb drive.

In conclusion

Although this post shares two thumb drive data recovery solutions with you, most users could prefer the latter USB data recovery software with a GUI. In brief, please select a suitable recovery solution based on your situation.

Moreover, perhaps relevant thumb drive recovery tips can give you some inspiration. To prevent data loss, this free data loss prevention software-AOMEI Backupper could be your second-to-none choice. With its aid, several clicks can help you backup files, folders, disks, partitions, or the system.

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.