How to Recover Data from a USB Flash Drive

Every personal computer owner knows exactly why USB Flash Drives can be important in the quest to store and transfer data. Today, many companies including SanDisk, Sony and Imation continue to manufacture these flash drives giving them all the necessary features. However, even a touch from the finest manufacturers, data loss is inevitable. In this article, we focus on some of the ways that you can recover useful data from your USB Flash Drive.

Causes of Data Loss in USB Flash Drives

Before learning any data recovery methods, we provide you with some of the main causes of data losses in USB flash drives below:

  • Improper unmounting of the USB drive
  • Corruption of some of the data in the flash drive
  • Invalid data in the Master Boot Record
  • Poor directory structure on the USB drive

Inaccessible USB Flash Drive Data Recovery

Mostly, the cause of the data loss on a USB Flash Drive determines the method that you will use to recover the data. Either the cause can be a physical or logical corruption of the files in the drive, the depth of the data loss is also a factor to consider during your quest to recover lost files and documents. Here are some USB flash drive data recovery methods to consider:

  1. 1. Using the Repair File Structure Method

Using your personal computer or desktop, insert the USB Flash drive that you want to recover data from into the port of the system then click on the tools tab. Depending on the type of operating system that you are using, the steps to follow slightly vary from this stage.

For Windows 7, click on the check button. This will begin the scanning process and if the data loss were not fatal, you would recover most of your lost data. At the end of the process, click on the close icon to complete it. Right click on your mouse and click on “eject” to remove the USB drive safely.

  1. 2. Using a Data Recovery Software

If the depth of your data loss was deep (you can tell this if the process above fails), resorting to a data recovery software is your next option. This software can be downloaded on the internet at no cost. However, you should be careful not to download malware that come in the form of data recovery software.

Currently, Stellar Phoenix Windows data recovery- professional is one of the best software for data recovery. You can download it from the internet and install it on your computer at no cost. After installing, connect your troubled USB flash drive to your computer. Mostly, the USB will be visible on the label D: or E:

Select the affected USB flash drive and click on the “scan” button. After a full scan, the data recovery software will highlight all of the files and documents that you can recover ready for the recovery process. Depending on your preference, you can choose to recover a part or all of the data. Click on the “recover” button once you are decided on what you want to recover.

Fixing Undetectable USB Flash Drives

Sometimes your PC can fail to detect the drive that you are trying to recover data from mainly because of physical damages. Follow the steps below to retrieve lost data from such drives

  •  From your computer, go to Start>Control Panel>Device manager
  • After that, expand the list next to “Disk Drives” to view more options.
  • Click on the “Next” icon until you reach the “finish” option.
  • Assign a letter to your USB flash drive and click OK.
  • Once you see that your USB is online, continue with the data recovery process above

If the above method fails, you can choose the “FIX IT FOR ME” option on your computer. Sometimes this can help resolve the issues as well.


Even though there are many good brands of USB flash drives on the market currently, they are all prone to data loss either physically or logically. However, we have provided you with some methods through which you can recover your lost data above. It is important to note that the type of method that you use to recover will depend on how you lost the data in the first place. The depth of the loss is also a factor to consider.

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