USB Data Recovery Software: Recover Deleted Files from Flash Drive

From quickly transferring data between computers to backing up important files, USB flash drives have many uses, which is perhaps why so many users want to know how to recover deleted files from them. Fortunately, there are several effective recovery methods, including Disk Drill, a highly capable data recovery software application that can restore files from flash drives with a simple click.
usb data recovery
Disk Drill is packed with the best data recovery algorithms that cover NTFS, FAT32, EXT, ExFAT, HFS+ and other file systems. Undelete your erased data on system disks, external devices, memory cards, USB drives, and other computers. Free Disk Drill will determine and let you know whether it can restore your files. 500 MB of recovered data are on us.

Causes of File Corruption on USB/Pen Drives

Files stored on USB/pen drives can become corrupted for a variety of different reasons. Luckily, most corrupted files can be repaired and restored by applying the right USB data recovery method.
  • Driver failure

    Driver failure

    A faulty flash drive driver can cause random read/write errors and even extensive file corruption.
  • Connection issues

    Connection issues

    If you keep using a pen drive with a worn-out USB connector, you risk experiencing connection issues and, consequently, file corruption.
  • File system errors

    File system errors

    Not all file systems are equally reliable, and that’s especially true if you connect your USB flash drive to computers with different operating systems.
  • Malware


    Cybercriminals are constantly perfecting their tactics and coming up with more dangerous malware.
  • Hardware damage

    Hardware damage

    USB drives are tiny and fragile, and it doesn’t take much to damage them. Fortunately, lightly damaged USB drives can usually be repaired and recovered.
  • Power loss

    Power loss

    A sudden loss of power may prevent important data transfer processes from finishing correctly, and it’s not always possible to prevent it from happening.
  • Software crashes and bugs

    Software crashes and bugs

    The fact is that most software applications contain bugs, and some bugs may lead to corruption-causing crashes.
  • Partitioning mistake

    Partitioning mistake

    It’s easy to make a mistake when partitioning a USB flash drive. Depending on the severity of the mistake, the result may be widespread file corruption.

Restoring Pen Drive Data with a Popular Recovery Tool

There’s no need to enter panic mode when you accidentally format your trusty USB flash drive or lose valuable files to corruption because there are several ways how you can turn the situation around and save your data. We recommend you start with a popular USB data recovery software tool called Disk Drill because it offers many important benefits, including:

  • Intuitive user interface that takes very little time to get acquainted withIntuitive user interface that takes very little time to get acquainted with.
  • Support for all makes and types of USB flash drivesSupport for all makes and types of USB flash drives.
  • Ability to recover all common file typesAbility to recover all common file types.
  • Instant file preview of recoverable filesInstant file preview of recoverable files.
  • Multiple scan options that address different data loss situationsMultiple scan options that address different data loss situations.

Recover Deleted Files from Any USB Drive

It doesn’t matter which type of USB drive you have because our favorite USB recovery solution described on this page, Disk Drill, can be used to recover lost files from all USB drives.
  • USB 1.0–1.1
    USB 1.0–1.1
    A, Mini-A, B, Mini-B
  • USB 2.0
    USB 2.0
    A, Mini-A, B, Mini-B, Micro-B
  • USB 3.0–3.2
    USB 3.0–3.2
    A, B, Micro-B, USB-C

Supported Devices

Disk Drill can be applied to recover data from any USB mass storage device, including:
  • USB pen drives
    USB pen drives
    Patriot®, Kingston®, SanDisk®
  • USB flash drives
    USB flash drives
    Verbatim®, PNY®, Samsung®
  • USB external hard drives
    USB external hard drives
    Buffalo®, Western Digital®, Adata®
  • USB mobile devices
    USB mobile devices*
    Samsung®, iPhone®, Huawei®
  • USB digital cameras
    USB digital cameras
    Nikon®, Canon®, Olympus®
  • Video and audio players
    Video and audio players
    Astell & Kern®, JBL®, FiiO®
*Note: USB Mobile devices are only supported in Disk Drill for Mac at the moment

Recoverable File Formats Commonly Stored on USB Drives

USB drives are used to store all kinds of file formats, which is why Disk Drill can recover everything from documents and file archives to pictures, videos, and audio files. In total, the USB data recovery tool supports over 400 file formats, which is more than most users will ever come in contact with.
  • Video
    M4V (iTunes video), MP4 (MPEG-4 video), AVI, FLV (Flash video), WMV (Windows Media Video), MPG (MPEG video)
  • Audio
    MP3 (MPEG Audio Stream, Layer III), AIFF (Audio Interchange File), AIF, AIFC, WMA (Windows Media audio files)
  • Images
    JP2, GIF, TIFF, BMP, JPEG, PSP. Polaroid/Sigma: X3F. Pentax: PEF. Adobe: AI, IDML, INDB, INDD, PSB, INDL, APM, INX, LRCAT, PSD.
  • Documents
    DOCX (Microsoft Word), PPTX (Microsoft PowerPoint), PDF (Portable Document Format), XLSX (Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet)
  • Archives
    DMG (Mac OS X Disk Image), RAR (WinRAR Compressed Archive), 7Z (7-Zip Compressed), CAB (Windows Cabinet File), ZIP (Extended Zip File),
  • Other Files
    Other Files
    ACCDB (Microsoft Database), OTF (OpenType Font), SQL (bundled SQL queries), DB (Paradox), MYO (MYOB Limited Windows File)
6 Easy Steps

How to Recover Files from a USB Flash Drive with a USB Recovery Tool

Follow the steps below to recover files from a USB drive with Disk Drill.

1. Download and Install Disk Drill USB Data Recovery Software

Start by downloading the free version of Disk Drill. Launch the setup file and provide administrator-level credentials to complete the installation process. With the free version of Disk Drill, you can recover up to 500 MB of data from any USB flash drive or other storage devices. If that’s not enough for you, you can always upgrade to the Pro version to unlock unlimited recovery capabilities.
usb data recovery software

2. Plug Your USB Flash Drive into Your Computer

Have you been able to successfully install Disk Drill on your computer? Great! You can now go ahead and connect your USB flash drive. Wait until you hear the familiar notification sound to tell you that it has been successfully recognized and mounted before moving to the next step.
free online data recovery from usb drive

3. Launch Disk Drill and Select Your USB Flash Drive

You’re now ready to launch Disk Drill. Give it a few seconds to collect information about all connected storage devices and present it in the main window. Select your USB flash drive or the partition with the files you’re trying to recover. Since most USB flash drives have only one partition, your decision won’t matter too much.
how to recover deleted files from usb drive

4. Click Search for Lost Data to Initiate a Scan

To initiate a scan, you need to click the Search for lost data button located in the bottom-right corner of the main Disk Drill window. One thing that’s great about Disk Drill is that it automatically runs all recovery methods in the optimal order to recover as many files as possible. All you need to do is wait for the scan to finish.
pen drive recovery

5. Preview and Select Recoverable Files

After not more than a few minutes, you should see a whole bunch of recoverable files. You can select any file to see its preview or narrow down the list of files using the filters in the left pane. When you find a file that you want to recover, check the small checkbox next to it to add it to the recovery queue.
pen drive recovery software

6. Click the Recover All Button to Restore Selected Files

To recover the selected files, you need to click the Recover all button below the list of recoverable files and specify the recovery directory. Never recover any deleted files to the same storage device on which they were stored prior to their deletion because you could overwrite them.
usb recovery tool

Undelete Protected Data

You can always ensure successful data recovery before it is lost. Activate Recovery Vault to make invisible copies of deleted files and keep them protected from accidental deletion. When active, Recovery Vault helps make the recovery process fast (a matter of a few seconds) and 100% efficient. All the original metadata stays intact. Keep in mind that you’ll need to enable data protection to benefit with Recovery Vault.
flash drive recovery

Recover Deleted Files from a Pen Drive Without Software

If you don’t want to install a USB data recovery software application, there are other ways to recover deleted files from a pendrive.

Restore Deleted Files from a USB Drive Using CMD

Provided you’re comfortable using the command-line, you may be able to restore deleted files from a USB drive with just a few commands. This method delivers the best results when dealing with corrupted USB drives.

  1. Plug the USB drive into your computer.
  2. Launch the Windows command-line by typing “cmd” in the search box.
  3. Enter the following command to verify and fix the integrity of the USB drive:

    chkdsk X: /f

  4. Enter the following command to recover hidden files:

    ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D X:*.*

  5. Exit Command Prompt and open your USB drive in File Explorer.
usb recovery software

Use the Restore Previous Versions Feature

Included in all recent versions of Windows is a useful backup feature called Previous Versions. If you activated it before you lost your data, you can now use it to recover all lost files without third-party software.

Follow those steps to retrieve USB data:
  1. Plug the USB drive into your computer.
  2. Open File Explorer and choose This PC.
  3. Right-click on your USB drive and select Properties.
  4. Go to the Previous Versions tab.
  5. Select the most recent previous version and click Restore.
how to recover deleted files from pendrive free

Use a Recovery Service to Repair a Damaged or Unresponsive USB Flash Drive

Recovering data from a physically damaged USB flash drive is no easy feat since it often requires special equipment and expert technical skills. Instead of attempting to get your data back by yourself and potentially making the situation much worse than it already is, consider contacting a professional data recovery service.
usb file recovery

How to Avoid USB Flash Drive Data Loss

By taking certain precautionary steps, you can avoid USB flash drive data loss and all the hassle associated with it.
  • Be careful when formatting
    Be careful when formatting
    If there is one operation that you need to be extra careful with when working with a USB flash drive, it’s formatting. Also, double-check that you’ve selected the right drive before you wipe it clean.
  • Keep your battery charged
    Keep your battery charged
    When transferring data to a USB flash drive from a laptop, make sure the laptop’s battery charge level never falls dangerously low. To be extra safe, we recommend you always keep it above 20%.
  • Update your computer
    Update your computer
    Outdated software with unpatched bugs is more likely to crash unexpectedly at the worst possible moment, such as when transferring files to a USB flash drive, so keep it up to date.
  • Install an antivirus
    Install an antivirus
    Certain computer viruses and other kinds of malware can erase all data from USB flash drives, which is why you should always have a reliable antivirus solution installed on your system.
  • Protect it from physical damage
    Protect it from physical damage
    USB flash drives are fragile, and they can be easily damaged if not handled with care. While it’s sometimes possible to recover data from a physically damaged USB flash drive, specialized equipment is often required.
  • Back up your data
    Back up your data
    Backups are, by far, the most reliable protection against USB flash drive data loss. If possible, back up your USB flash drive every day to a different storage device and check if your backups are recoverable from time to time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

To recover deleted files from a flash drive follow this procedure:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill USB Recovery for Windows or Mac.
  2. Connect the flash drive/USB stick to your Windows or Mac machine.
  3. Launch the application and choose the drive from the list of disks.
  4. Click Search for lost data to scan for deleted files.
  5. Preview and select the flash drive files for recovery.
  6. Click Recover all to restore your selected files.

You can recover files from your USB without spending any money with the free version of Disk Drill:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Choose your USB drive from the list of available storage devices.
  3. Click the Search for lost data button.
  4. Preview recoverable files and select those you want to get back.
  5. Click the Recover all button and specify the recovery directory.

11 Best USB Flash Drive Recovery Tools:

  1. Disk Drill Flash Drive Recovery Software
  2. TestDisk
  3. SALVAGEDATA Total Recovery
  4. Data Rescue PC
  5. Undelete 360 Recovery
  6. Recuva Recovery Software
  7. PhotoRec
  8. R-Studio
  9. Wise Data Recovery
  10. Pandora Data Recovery
  11. Recoverit Data Recovery

How to recover files from a Corrupted USB drive:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Connect the corrupted drive to your computer.
  3. Start the app and choose your drive from the list.
  4. Click Search for lost data to scan for deleted files.
  5. Preview files found for recovery.
  6. Click Recover all to restore the files to a selected storage location.

To recover data from a formatted flash drive use these steps:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill for Windows.
  2. Connect the formatted flash drive to your computer.
  3. Launch the app and choose it from the disk list.
  4. Click Search for lost data to look for files.
  5. Preview and select the files you want restored.
  6. Click Recover to retrieve the selected files.

Without software you can try to recover deleted flash drive files with this process:

  1. Locate the storage media you use for your backups.
  2. Connect the device to your computer.
  3. Fire up your backup and recovery tool.
  4. Search for the deleted files in previously made backups.
  5. If you find the files, select them and restore the data to your computer.

You can recover permanently deleted data from any pen drive by following the steps below:

  1. Download, install, and launch Disk Drill.
  2. Select your pen drive and click Search for lost data.
  3. Select the files you want to recover.
  4. Click Recover all.
  5. Specify the recovery directory.

If your USB device is not recognized, you should first reinstall its driver before you attempt to recover data from it.

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Select Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  3. Right-click USB Root Hub or USB Root Hub (USB 3.0) depending on the type of your USB flash drive.
  4. Select Uninstall Device.
  5. Restart your computer and wait for Windows to automatically reinstall the driver.
That depends on the extent of the damage. If the USB drive is only lightly damaged, you should be able to recover data from it using USB data recovery software. However, it the damage is extensive, you need to send the drive to professionals and hope for the best.
When you delete a file from a USB drive, the storage space occupied by it is made available for other files. However, the file itself remains on the drive until new data is stored in its place, which is why you can recover it using a USB recovery tool.

Customers and software guru say

«After extensively using Disk Drill, we've come to the conclusion that this software is capable of recovering data from any storage, or should we say the ones we have tested. Whether it be USB flash drives, external drives, an MP3 player or memory cards, Disk Drill will get the job done without a fuss.» by
Very impressive technology. It was very useful after windows program deleted my father's files in the USB drive. Thank you very much.

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