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Best Ways to Recover Deleted Files from Thumb Drive

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jul 17, 2024 • Filed to: USB Recovery • Proven solutions

Whether you are a tech professional, a business owner, or just an average individual, chances are you own a thumb drive. It is one of the most common ways to store data.

However, situations may not always proceed perfectly. Despite being portable and user-friendly, mishandling them can expose your stored data to potential loss or leakage. If you are currently concerned about data loss, please continue reading this page. We will explore effective data storage methods, appropriate data encryption, and security precautions, as well as data recovery and decryption procedures.

Part 1: Overview of Storing Data

Before you learn the methods of storing data in a thumb drive, you need to have a fundamental understanding of this issue.

1. Is Your Data Really Safe in Thumb Drive?

Thumb drives are actually built for temporary data storage and are highly effective for their portability and ease of access. Non-the-less, these same features give users a second thought when considering storing data on them. Because their size also makes them easier to be misplaced, and if unencrypted, anyone who finds it can have easy access to the information stored within.

2. What May Cause Your Data Leaking?

keep sensitive data safe

Part 2: Ways to Store Data in USB Thumb Drive

Now that you've equipped with the basic knowledge of storing data, let's begin the most important part today.

1. Encrypt Your USB Thumb Drive

Cybersecurity experts agree that encrypting a USB flash drive is the best solution to protect data. Encrypted USB drives are highly effecting tools in closing risk gaps and helping ensure data security by offering compound password protection (i.e. Top-of-the-line encrypted drives provide FIPS certification known as FIPS 140-2 Level 3 or military-grade encryption), additional features include; data wiping for instances where password attempts exceed a preset limit, anti-tampering technology to prevent hackers from getting access to the internal components of the drive (using advanced hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption in XTS mode and strong anti-tampering security or an "On-Device Crypto chip" that affords an extra layer of fortification), anti-virus protection and a physical layer of tamper-proof security for drives with epoxy-coated boards or epoxy-filled metal cases to shield the physical storage from tampering or over time damage.

Encrypting a portable USB flash drive prevents data from falling into the wrong hands. This guide shows step by step how to encrypt a USB flash drive within Windows using the built-in encryption tool known as BitLocker.

Although Windows 10 OS can unlock a flash drive encrypted on Windows 7 and vice-versa, USB thumb drives encrypted with a Windows OS Can't be opened with macOS.

To encrypt a USB flash/thumb drive within a Windows operating system:

how to activate bitlocker for data recovery

how to activate bitlocker to restore data

Related: What to do if you forgot the BitLocker password for usb drive.

2. Deploy All-around Antivirus Protection

New threats to your data security emerge on a daily, from infected hardware media; such as hard drives, CD-ROMs, or media cards, to corrupted software and malware. Mostly from online sources; websites, blogs, emails. Hence it is very critical to confirm that your Anti-Virus/Malware Protection is active at Every Entry Point.

It is also important to ensure your anti-virus is up-to-date. It is also key to equip endpoint-hosts, for any device outside your firewall, with up-to-date anti-virus software. Also, pay special attention to software programs with extended protection against malware on USB devices when used on other devices.

3. Avoid Using Low-quality USB Thumb Drive

A key factor that could compromise the level of security of a thumb drive, even despite the encryption, is the quality of the drive. Studies show that free drives shared in conferences and business meetings, etc. oft cannot be compared with actual top-quality pen drives, which may cost you a bit. Get to know the most secure USB drive: Top 10 Encrypted USB Flash Drives You Need to Know

The benefits/differences of using these quality USB flash drives, as opposed to cheap handouts, can be seen in their performance and durability over time. Hence, it is key to be knowledgeable on the different types and qualities of USB flash drives and ensure you pay the cost for your data security.

4. Use An Encrypted Cloud Service

Apart from securing files physically, it is also highly recommended that you secure your important data on online servers, referred to as "the cloud.” Such servers include Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud. These tools make it easy to save and retrieve your files from anywhere in the world.

Encrypted cloud service eliminates the risk of data loss due to a misplaced thumb drive. All you'll need is an Internet connection and your password. It's important to also note that not all cloud storage services fully protect your privacy. Most cloud services can help encrypt your files but will retain your encryption keys; meaning they can have access to your files at any time. This thus makes these services more vulnerable to data leaks in the event of a system hack.

You can go around this by only using cloud services with end-to-end encryption; meaning your data is first encrypted before sent to their servers and thus even if their servers are somehow illegally accessed, only you would be able to decrypt them to access the data in those files.

Part 3: What to Do When Your Data Get Lost

If you have lost your data, here are some simple methods for you to recover it.

1. Using CMD to Recover Lost Thumb Data

CMD is the acronym for Command Prompt (also known as cmd.exe), it's a command-line interpreter application on every Windows operating systems that allows you interact with the system. To recover data using CMD, simply follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Select the Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu
  3. Type"chkdsk"(letter of drive containing the deleted files): /f” into the Command Prompt window and click Enter.
  4. Wait for the command to process.
  5. Type the letter of the drive again and click Enter.
  6. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.* and click Enter.

screenshot showing cmd prompt codings

2. Using Wondershare Recoverit to Recover Lost Files in Thumb Drive

Recoverit Data Recovery software can recover over 1000 types/formats of data from all storage devices. With this potent tool, you can effortlessly recover/retrieve your lost data in USB drive. If you have deleted your important captured images due to human error, follow the step-by-step guide.

Download and Install Recoverit Recovery software from here.

Step 1: Click the "Recoverit” icon on your Desktop or locate "Finder"> "Applications" > "Recoverit" and double-click the software. Then select the external devices.

select the location on your windows

Step 2: After choosing the location, right click "start" to proceed with the scanning process.

scan your system on windows

Step 3: When the scanning is done, you can choose the files to have a preview before you recover them. After deciding which ones need to be recovered, click the button "Recover" and select a location to store the retrieved data.

scan the usb location

For more information about data recovery, you can see from these articles:

5 Best Free SD Card Recovery Software in 2021

Top 10 Hard Drive Recovery Software for Windows and Mac

How to Recover Lost Files from SD Card 2021

Video Tutorial on How to Recover Lost Data in USB Thumb Drive


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Despite these multiple measures to secure data, there are instances beyond our control that may occur; leading to data loss. In such scenarios, software such as Wondershare Recoverit may come in handy.

Recoverit means for salvaging data by Wondershare, for both Microsoft Windows and macOS devices. This software is designed to recover over 550 file formats and is a must-have for every computer user. Therefore, when you have trouble recovering data, just give it a shot!

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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