How to recover deleted files from USB flash drive [Answered]

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • USB flash drives are great backup tools used to store and transfer their data. Sometimes, files on your USB drive may be corrupted or you accidentally deleted your files.
  • The best way to get your data back from the USB drive is to use a data recovery tool.
  • Accidents may happen. Bookmark our Data Recovery section for future reference.
  • We wrote plenty of guides to help you with a lot of problems. Read our How To Hub for countless examples.
Recovering deleted files from USB flash drives
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USB flash drives are great backup tools used to store and transfer their data. Sometimes, files on your USB drive may be corrupted or you accidentally deleted your files.

Today we are going to show you how to recover deleted files from USB drive.

Reasons for USB data loss

There are several reasons for USB data loss, but few reasons include:

  1. Another program deleted the file.
  2. Mistakenly or intentionally deleted the file from the USB drive.
  3. Unplugged USB drive during transfer process.
  4. File corruption due to virus attacks.
  5. Fragmented partition structure on the USB flash drive.

Meanwhile, deleted files on the USB drive cannot be restored in the Recycle Bin unlike files deleted from the local disk/disk drive.

If you can’t find your drive files in the Recycle Bin, take a look at this guide.

However, we have compiled applicable methods that you can use to recover deleted files from the USB drive.

How can I recover files from USB flash drives?

1. Use a data recovery tool to recover files from the USB drive

You can use data recovery tools as well to recover deleted files from your USB drive. Recovery tools are computer programs that are used to recover permanently deleted files on your Windows PC.

There are several recovery tools in the computer world, some of which are free and others are largely premium.

However, these tools scan your USB drive using an efficient algorithm and recover deleted files and folders on your USB drive.

We strongly recommend Stellar Data Recovery in order to perform this action. This tool will recover corrupted and deleted videos, images, documents, and music files. But this is not the only feature it has.

If you want to know more about this tool, don’t hesitate to take a look at our awesome Stellar Data Recovery review. You’ll see whether it is worth the money or not.

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If the software is not able to find the data in Quick Scan, it automatically switches to Deep Scan.

Here are a few of its key features:

  • Recovers lost data on all Windows devices & storage media
  • Built-in support for data recovery on RAW drive volumes
  • Recovers documents, PDFs, photos, videos, & more
  • Allows selective recovery of files for your choice
  • Previews recoverable files for precise recovery
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2. Use Command Prompt to recover hidden files from USB

The simplest way to recover deleted files from a USB drive is to use Command Prompt. Command Prompt is a Windows application available in all Windows Operating System.

Follow these steps to recover deleted files on your USB drive:

  1. Plug your USB drive (where the files were deleted from), and then press Windows and R keys to launch the Run Program.
  2. Type cmd and hit Enter key to open Command Prompt window.recover deleted files from usb
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type chkdsk H: /f and hit Enter key (Replace H with the drive letter of the USB drive).recover deleted files usb
  4. Now, type Y and hit the Enter key to proceed.
  5. Type H (replace H with the USB drive letter) and hit the Enter key again.
  6. Finally, type H:>attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.* and hit the Enter key (Replace H with the drive letter of the USB drive).
  7. Wait for the process to be completed.

After this procedure, you will find all deleted files on a newly created folder on your USB drive.

But you can change the file extension back to a normal format so as to make those found files functional again.

However, ensure you replace E with the drive letter of the USB drive in steps 3 and 6 above. You can also try out this fix on your SD, HD, or another external storage device.


Having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin? We’ve got the right solution for you.


In conclusion, any of the file recovery tools mentioned above can help you to recover deleted files as well.

Also, we recommend that you back up your files on cloud storage services so as to increase your options for file retrieval.

Hope we have been able to help you recover deleted files from your USB drive? If you have any questions, you can comment below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in October 2017 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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  • able to match the cmd output example in step 4, but do not have to type Y enter,
    then after step 7 the cmd output says access denied

  • Once I hit Y the 4th step, it says it does not recognize as an external or internal command, am I entering something wrong…HELP

  • I am trying to recover files accidently deleted from my usb drive- it lists it and say a new file should be created but I cannot find the new file- on my e drive-