Unformat USB Drive - How to Recover Formatted Files from USB Stick

Updated to File Recovery Tips by Robert on Mar 16, 2023 | Approved by Christian Cawley

Formatting a USB drive is the common method to make a USB stick work when it is inaccessible, displayed as RAW, attacked by a virus or there is any system error. However, you’ll get a bad result – losing all the data, including videos, photos, documents, and more from your USB drive. In this case, the only way to make it up is to unformat USB drive on Windows 11/10/7 and Mac as soon as possible.

Part 1. The theory for formatting USB flash drive

In fact, formatting a USB flash drive does not completely delete all USB drive data. Just only mark all the files as useless, making room for initial use. Though you can’t see all the lost formatted files, they are still on your USB flash drive, waiting to be overwritten by new data. In this case, if you can hurry up and unformat USB as soon as possible, then you can get the data back.

Part 2. How to Unformat a USB drive

Due to the situation, you need to stop using the USB flash drive right away after the formatting. Otherwise, new data will be overwritten the formatted data, which will result in data loss permanently. Here in the following, I’m going to tell you how to unformat USB drive on Mac or Windows PC easily and efficiently.

Method 1. How to Restore Files after Formatting USB with Software

First, please prepare the tool you’re going to use to find lost data. There are many unformat USB drive tools you can download over the internet. You need to try them out and choose the best one that’s right for you. Here in this place, I’d like to recommend you try iBeesoft Data Recovery. It can unformat hard disk, USB drive, SD card and more.

Your Safe & Effective Unformat USB Drive Software

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  • It provides two powerful scanning modes, not only to unformat USB stick but also to undelete files from the computer and removable drives.
  • The best USB drive recovery software supports all the commonly used file types, like photos, videos, audio files, documents, archives, and more.
  • The unformat USB drive tool has a simple interface making it quite easy for you to navigate. No computer technique is especially needed.
Download for Windows Download for macOS

Besides, there are amazing features in iBeesoft Data Recovery, making it the best choice to unformat SD card, USB drive, hard drive/partition, SSD, and other drives.

Steps for how to use tool to unformat USB flash drive in Mac or Windows 11/10/7

  1. Connect USB Stick with Computer
  2. Please connect the USB stick with your computer on which you’re going to recover files from the formatted USB. After connecting it, you can see the USB stick becomes a hard drive on your computer.

  3. Install iBeesoft Data Recovery for Windows/Mac
  4. Please note that iBeesoft offer Windows and Mac USB drive recovery version are both available. First thing first, you need to download the right version to your computer according to your computer os. After then, install it like the way you install other software on your computer to unformat USB drive. It is virus-free and never collects any of your personal data. Feel free to use it.

  5. Click "go to setting" to filter file types
  6. Select formatted USB drive to extract data
  7. In the new window, you can see that all hard drives as well as your USB flash drive are listed. You only need to select the USB flash drive by selecting it. Next, click "Scan". After then, you can see the software is scanning your USB flash drive for the formatted data.

  8. Unformat USB on Mac or Windows 11/10/8/7
  9. In the result window, all found files are listed and sorted into categories. You can preview them by checking the category on the left side and selecting the file on your right side to preview. After then, select all the wanted files and click "Recover" to save them on your computer again.

Method 2. How to Recover Files from Formatted USB Using CMD

For method 1, it is suitable for users who want to retrieve files after formatting USB quickly and efficiently. It’s very friendly for individuals who don’t know much about computer techniques. As for people who know much about computers, then they can learn how to recover data from formatted USB using CMD.

  1. Press Windows and R buttons at the same time. Type in cmd in the search box and press Enter.
  2. Type this command: chkdsk G: /f/x/r. (G is the drive letter for the USB stick you have formatted. You should replace it with the right drive letter.)
  3. Hit Enter and let the process complete.

After then, if files are recovered from the formatted USB stick, then they will be put into the previous folder. If not, you have to try method 1 to get the data as soon as possible to avoid data overwritten issues.

Part 3. Frequently Asked Questions for Data Recovery from USB after Formatting

1. Does formatting a USB delete everything?

There are 2 types of formatting, Quick Format, and Full Format. Generally, formatting a USB deletes everything, at least making them invisible. However, it’s much easier to recover files from Quick Format than Full Format. With Data Recovery software, you can try to scan the formatted USB, displaying recoverable files.

2. How can I recover my formatted USB for free?

To recover formatted USB for free, the only way is to make use of Command-Line as well as free data recovery software. As I have mentioned above, to use Command-Line, you must know the computer techniques. While using free data recovery, it’s easier and simpler. iBeesoft Free Data Recovery is able to resume USB after formatting for free. Here are the steps.

  1. Connect a USB flash drive with your PC.
  2. Download and install iBeesoft Free Data Recovery.
  3. After then, launch it.
  4. Click "Scan" beside the USB flash drive to scan it.
  5. Select needed files and click "Recover" to save them.

3. Can data be recovered after formatting?

It depends. If you have stopped using the USB after formatting, then the chance to recover files from a USB after formatting is big with data recovery software. If you can’t find the right way to do the USB unformat, then you will lose the data permanently.