3 Ways to Recover Deleted Files from Your USB Drive for Free

USB Drive is the most commonly used portable data storage tool to save, transfer, and back up significant files such as photos, videos, documents, and other file types. Undoubtedly it’s convenient for us, but sometimes an accidental mistake can make the files inside corrupted or lost from the USB drive.

It will lose not only the data but also our precious memories, which may make us upset or even influence our work. If you are searching for “How to restore deleted files from USB Drive”, here is the right place. In this article, we will show you 3 ways to recover deleted files from your USB Drive for free.

Method 1: Check Previous Versions to Recover Files from USB

Before starting the recovery process, ensure that you have stopped using your USB drive and do not load any new data on it. The continued use of the USB drive might cause the data overwriting, and increase the difficulty of recovering the USB drive.

The first easy method to retrieve deleted files from a USB drive without using any software is directly retrieving the files from the “Previous Versions” feature on Windows. The latest versions of Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11 have the feature to recover the deleted files from the previous versions. If you have opened this feature on your Windows PC, check if the “Previous Versions” feature can give you a favor.

Here is the guide to restore previous versions:
Step 1: Connect your USB drive to a Windows PC. Open the “Start” menu on your Windows PC, and then click “Computer” on your desktop.
Step 2: Navigate to the folder of the USB drive where the deleted files are located.
Step 3:Right-click on the folder“, and then select “Restore previous versions“. If the folder was at the top level of the USB drive, directly “right-click the USB drive“, and then select “Restore previous versions“.
Step 4: You’ll see a list of available previous versions of the deleted files. If you have a Windows Backup to back up your files, this list will contain all the files saved on the backup before. Click on the file and choose “Restore“.
Check Previous Versions to Recover Files from USB.
Easy to use.
No need to download any third-party software.
Built-in feature on Windows PC, and it’s free.
This method has a high possibility that no available version can be found.
Sometimes the recovery process fails.
Limited versions of Windows.

Method 2: Use CMD to Recover Deleted Files from USB Drive for Free

The second method to help you recover deleted files from a USB drive is to use CMD. CMD is an abbreviation of the word “command” and is used when referencing Windows command processor, also known as Command Prompt. It can be used to execute entered commands and perform advanced administrative functions. In this method, we will enter the command to recover deleted files from USB drives.

Compared with the former “Previous Versions” feature, CMD is more complicated to operate. But it can scan the computer disk information more deeply and complete the data recovery tasks more perfectly. What’s more, there’s also no need to download any extra software.

The following is the guide to recover deleted files using CMD:
Step 1: Connect your corrupted USB drive to your computer.
Step 2: Open the “Start” menu, type into “cmd” and press “Enter” in the search bar to open the Command Prompt.
Step 3: Type into the commands “chkdsk E: /f /r“, and press “Enter” to continue.
Step 4: Wait for a moment until the recovery process ends.
Step 5: Check if your deleted files in the USB drive are recovered.
Use CMD to Recover Deleted Files from USB Drive - screenshot 1.
Note: For “chkdsk E: /f /r“, please replace the letter “E” with the letter of your USB drive. The “f” is a command to repair the USB drive errors scanned and found through CHKDSK. The “r” command is to recover all the readable USB drive data.
In general, the “chkdsk E: /f /r” command can help you fix a corrupted USB drive and recover files. If it finally fails, follow the steps below to retrieve deleted files from the USB drive more deeply:
Step 1: Connect the USB drive and open the CMD again.
Step 2: Type your USB drive letter like “E:” and press “Enter” in the Command Prompt.
Step 3: Type into the commands “attrib –h –r –s/s /d E: *.*” and press “Enter” once more.
Step 4: Wait and check your USB drive device to find your deleted files.
Use CMD to Recover Deleted Files from USB Drive - screenshot 2.
Relatively high recovery rate.
Don’t need to download any external software.
Built-in program on Computer, and it’s FREE, too.
Hard to understand.
Complicated to operate.
It can be harmful to your data in some cases.

Method 3: Recover Deleted Files from USB Drive Free via Software

While the aforementioned methods are useful, they have their limitations. Windows’ “Previous Version” feature can only recover a limited range of file types and access recent data, and similarly, CMD requires a certain level of technical expertise and may not be suitable for all users. Therefore, is there a simple yet efficient method for USB Data Recovery?

You are in the right place, and FonePaw’s USB Data Recovery is what we’re going to show you. Compatible with Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7 and MacOS 10.7 or later, this amazing software can recover over 30+ types of files from your USB drive, SD Card, or other devices like computers. It has the highest recovery success rate through all the methods mentioned, which is considered to be the best flash drive recovery program.

Highlighted Features of FonePaw USB Data Recovery:
Restore photos, videos, audio, office documents, and other 30+ file types from USB drives.
Recover deleted files from all kinds of storage devices like USB drives, SD, SSD, HDD, etc.
Retrieve deleted data from the USB drive of almost all brands such as Sunany, Corsair, SanDisk, etc.
Scan and Preview the deleted files containing file name, file size, and file creating time for FREE.
Here’s a simple guide to recovering deleted files from USB drives with the FonePaw USB Data Recovery program on your Windows or Mac computer:
Step 1: Visit FonePaw’s official website. Download and install FonePaw USB Data Recovery. Launch the software, connect your USB drive to the computer, and get started.
FonePaw USB Data Recovery screenshot 1.
Step 2: FonePaw USB Data Recovery software will start scanning the USB drive to search your deleted files, and it will take a moment to show the file list.
FonePaw USB Data Recovery screenshot 2.
Step 3: It allows you to preview different types of files like photos, videos, etc. Choose the files from the list that you want to restore. Click the “Recover” button and wait for the recovery done.
FonePaw USB Data Recovery screenshot 3.
This method has the highest recovery rate.
Download and install the software for FREE.
Scan and preview the deleted data before purchasing.
Filter the files you want according to file names and file-creating time in the software.
Some functions of the software can be used after purchasing only.

FAQ: Can I Recover Files from a USB Drive for Free Online?

You’ll find many online websites claiming to help you recover files from a USB drive for free without downloading software, but in reality, this is challenging to achieve, and we do not recommend it for two reasons:

  • Security Risks: Websites offering online file recovery may require you to upload your files to their servers for processing. This could involve sending sensitive data to an untrusted third party, posing risks of data leaks or privacy breaches. Your files might be accessed or misused by hackers.
  • Limited Effectiveness: Many free online tools may have limited recovery capabilities, unable to fully recover your lost files or only able to recover some files. Compared to professional desktop software, these online tools may have lower success rates and effectiveness in recovery.

Therefore, to protect your files on a USB drive safely, it’s recommended to back up all your data from time to time. You can also save them to more places such as external disks, cloud drives, etc. If you need to recover files that you accidentally deleted, remember to get help from professional and reliable tools.


The word conclusion is written on a brown piece of paper.

In conclusion, this article has given you 3 ways to recover deleted files from your USB drive for free. You can try the built-in “previous versions” feature and the “Command Prompt” program following the step-by-step guide first. If these two methods cannot meet your needs, then turn to professional software to recover deleted files from a USB drive like FonePaw USB Data Recovery.

Furthermore, it’s hard to realize the file recovery process from a USB drive for free online, due to the consideration of technical factors and security. We suggest you use the best option, FonePaw USB Data Recovery software to recover your deleted files quickly. No more hesitation and get started with FonePaw now!

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Published By: Souvik Banerjee

Souvik BanerjeeWeb developer and SEO specialist with 20+ years of experience in open-source web development, digital marketing, and search engine optimization. He is also the moderator of this blog "RS Web Solutions (RSWEBSOLS)".