What do to if the files copied to USB drive disappeared

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read

Home » What do to if the files copied to USB drive disappeared

How to stop files copied to USB drive from disappearing

  1. Select the Show Hidden Files Option
  2. Deselect the Hide Protected Operating System Files Option
  3. Fix the USB Drive With AutoRunExterminator
  4. Turn Off AutoRun
  5. Recover Lost Files on the USB Stick With File Recovery Software

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.

Steps to restore missing USB drive files

Step 1: Select the Show Hidden Files Option

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. You can select that option as follows.

  • Open File Explorer by clicking the folder icon on the Windows 10 taskbar.
  • Click the View tab shown directly below.

  • Then press the Options button to open the window shown directly below.

  • Select the View tab to open the settings in the snapshot below.

  • Select the Show hidden files, folders and drive option.
  • Press the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button to close the window.

— RELATED: Fix disappearing files and folders in Windows 10 and bring them all back

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: Fix the USB Drive With AutoRunExterminator

The autorun-virus is one that conceals files on USB sticks. That’s a virus which 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 the AutoRunExterminator software. Click the Download Now button on this page to save the program’s ZIP file to Windows. Open the ZIP in File Explorer, and press the Extract all button to extract the ZIP. Open AutoRunExterminator from its extracted folder. Then the software will erase the autorun.inf file when you insert your USB drive.

— RELATED: Fix: Programs disappearing on Windows 10? Here’s how to get them back

Step 4: Turn Off AutoRun

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

Step 5: Recover Lost Files on the USB Stick With File Recovery Software

Even if you’re sure you haven’t deleted files on the USB drive, a virus might have erased them. Nevertheless, you can still restored deleted files with file recovery software. You can restore two GB of deleted files with the freeware EaseUS data recovery software as follows.

  • Click the Free Download button on this webpage to save the EaseUS Data Recovery setup wizard to a folder.
  • Install EaseUS Data Recovery with the software’s installer.
  • Slot your USB drive into a USB port.
  • Launch the EaseUS Data Recovery software.
  • Then select the USB drive you need to restore data on, which will be listed under External Devices.
  • Press the Scan button to scan the USB stick.

  • EaseUS Data will then list files in can restore from the USB stick. Select all the files listed.
  • Then press the Recover button. Select a folder on your hard drive to save the files to, and click the OK button.

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.



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