What to do if the files copied to USB drive disappeared

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If the files disappeared from the USB stick there might be a problem with your device.
  • Don't worry, even though the USB files disappeared, we will help you retrieve them.
  • The best way to get back your files is to use a dedicated file recovery software.
  • You can also try to show the hidden files on the drive by following our guide.
recover files disappeared from usb

Get back your missing Windows 10 files and foldersEasily find files on your PC with WinZip. Install it now and get back your important data. This tool helps you find all the files, even in cloud and network. Use it to:

find all the files,
even in cloud and network

It is not an entirely unusual scenario for files copied to USB drives to mysteriously disappear. Users have stated on forums that they can’t find files on USB drives that they’re sure they copied to them.

So how can files on USB sticks mysteriously disappear?

Missing USB stick files can often be due to virus infections or File Explorer settings. This is how you can restore missing USB drive files in Windows.

How to stop files copied to USB drive from disappearing

  1. Recover lost files on the USB stick with file recovery software
  2. Select the Show Hidden Files option
  3. Deselect the Hide Protected Operating System Files option
  4. Fix the USB drive qith AutoRunExterminator
  5. Turn off AutoRun

How can I recover deleted files from a USB flash drive?

1. Recover lost files on the USB stick with file recovery software

Stellar Data Recovery USB stick files

Even if you’re sure you haven’t deleted files on the USB drive, a virus might have erased them. Nevertheless, you can still restore deleted files with file recovery software.

Our recommended solution is so powerful, that it can be used to recover files from a formatted or corrupted drive.

It’s very useful for data recovery from all kinds of storage types: classic hard drives, SSDs, SD cards, and, of course, USB drives.

It can search and recover a number of different file types including music, videos, photos, PDFs, documents, and more.

What you’ll really like is the ability to preview any recoverable files found so that you can be sure it’s the right one you’ve been looking for.

In 3 easy steps you can solve the issue of the files that disappeared from the USB drive:

  1. Open the software and select the file types you are looking for (you can select all if you like).
  2. Make sure the USB drive is plugged-in, and select it from the Connected Drives section.
  3. Click the Scan button and wait. Select any or all files found and click on the Recover button to save the data.
Stellar Data Recovery

Stellar Data Recovery

Use this powerful tool to recover all the files that disappeared from your USB drive.

Free trialVisit website

2. Select the Show Hidden Files option

  1. Open File Explorer by clicking the folder icon on the Windows 10 taskbar.
  2. Click the View tab shown directly below.
  3. Then press the Options button to open the window shown directly below.
  4. Select the View tab to open the settings in the snapshot below.
  5. Select the Show hidden files, folders, and drive option.
  6. Press the Apply button.
  7. Click the OK button to close the window.

File Explorer doesn’t display all files when the Show hidden files option isn’t selected. So, you might need to select the Show hidden files setting to reveal invisible files on your USB stick.

Expert Tip: Some PC issues are hard to tackle, especially when it comes to corrupted repositories or missing Windows files. If you are having troubles fixing an error, your system may be partially broken. We recommend installing Restoro, a tool that will scan your machine and identify what the fault is.
Click here to download and start repairing.

Are files and folders randomly disappearing in Windows 10? Check this guide to bring them all back.

3. Deselect the Hide protected operating system files option

Some users have confirmed that deselecting the Hide protected operating system file option also helped them restore missing USB drive files.

To do that, deselect the Hide protected operating system files option, which is on the same View tab as the Show hidden files option.

Then press the Apply button to confirm the new settings.

4. Fix the USB drive with dedicated software

The autorun-virus is one that conceals files on USB sticks. That’s a virus that targets the autorun.inf file on USB drives.

Consequently, erasing the autorun.inf file that triggers the virus might restore your missing files.

You can delete autorun.inf with a dedicated software:

  1. Click the Download Now button to save the program’s ZIP file to Windows.
  2. Open the ZIP in File Explorer and press the Extract all button to extract the ZIP.
  3. Open AutoRunExterminator from its extracted folder.
  4. Then the software will erase the autorun.inf file when you insert your USB drive.

5. Turn off AutoRun

You can also disable AutoRun in Windows. Turning AutoRun off will have a similar effect on erasing the autorun.inf file. You can do that by editing the registry or adjusting Group Policy settings.

Those are a few resolutions that might restore missing USB files which have seemingly vanished.

Note, however, that your USB stick might not be holding saved data. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get a replacement USB stick.

You can return a USB drive that’s still within a warranty period to the manufacturer for repairs or a replacement.

idee restoro Still having issues? Fix them with this tool:
  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated Great on TrustPilot.com (download starts on this page).
  2. Click Start Scan to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click Repair All to fix issues with Patented Technologies (Exclusive Discount for our readers).

Restoro has been downloaded by 0 readers this month.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Files can be recovered from a USB stick using data recovery software or by restoring a previous backup that contains those files.

  • Either the USB stick is faulty and degrading, or malware is removing files. Use a good antivirus to eliminate this possibility.

  • While files from your computer go to Recycle Bin, the ones from your USB stick will bypass the bin and be cleared instantly.

This article covers:Topics: