How to Recover Files from Formatted USB Drive on Mac/Windows
USB drive is a portable device that we often use to store and carry important files. However, losing important files stored in the USB drive can be a nightmare. Whether you accidentally formatted a flash drive or it malfunctioned and wiped everything out, the feeling of loss can feel insurmountable! If you are really going through this disaster, please calm down. You can still recover files from formatted USB drive in Windows 11/10 and Mac. Here, I will guide you through the process and share some tips to prevent this from happening in the future.
- Quick Navigation
- Part 1. What Forces You to Perform the Formatted USB Drive Recovery?
- Part 2. Can I Recover Files after Formatting USB Drive?
- Part 3. How to Restore Data from a Formatted Flash Drive for Free
- Part 5. Last Resort to Retrieve Files from Flash Drive after Formatted
- Part 6. How to Fix Access Denied/Asked Format USB Drive without Formatting
- Part 7. How to Prevent Your USB Drive from Being Formatted
- Part 8. Frequently Asked Questions
What Forces You to Perform the Formatted USB Drive Recovery?
Intentionally or accidentally formatting your USB drive without a backup means losing all the items. It may be caused by the following:
- ⛔ USB drive access denied: Prompt that it needs to be formatted before it can be used.
- 👽 Virus Infection: You must format Flash Drive to remove all threats.
- 💽 Bad sectors/logic errors: You must format the USB drive to fix this.
- 🔄 Convert file system: format it directly without backup to adjust the file system type.
- 📰 Format it for other reasons: fix Windows or Mac USB transfer very slow, unexpected operation, initialization, the capacity of "0," and more.
Losing important data on a USB drive due to formatting can be a harrowing experience. But don't despair; use the suitable method and a little patience, and all your priceless memories will be stowed away safely in the USB drive again!
Can I Recover Files after Formatting USB Drive?
Usually, when the USB drive is formatted, all saved data will be cleared at one time in two ways. They are:
- 🗞️ High-level formatting (Quick format): It just rebuilds the master boot information and file allocation table of the drive and does not delete the data. Therefore, this method is reversible, and we can use appropriate tools to recover files from formatted USB.
- 🤖 Low-level formatting: It will erase all the items, re-outline the cylinders and tracks, and finally, divide the sectors again. So, it will redefine the physical location where the data is saved. This method is irreversible, and hard to find the removed data.
Low-level formatting differs from regular formatting and is typically done using the RM command or special, purpose-built tools. Usually, you have no reason to use this mode. So, you will easily restore a formatted USB drive on Mac or Windows PC.
How to Restore Data from a Formatted Flash Drive for Free
Have you ever experienced the pain of accidentally formatting your USB drive? This can be a horrible experience, leaving you helpless and hopeless for fear that you will lose all important files forever. The good news is that there are some ways to recover files from formatted USB drive free.
Use Command Prompt [For Windows]
By running specific commands against the drive, users can quickly and easily find any files that may still be left inside after formatting. However, you may find it difficult to follow commands if you are not technical. For this, you need to follow the following steps:
- In the search bar of Windows, type "cmd."
- Choose the "Command Prompt" App and click "Run as administrator."
- Typing the command as: "attrib -h -r -s /s /d F:*.*", the F is the drive letter.
- Now press "Enter" to complete the formatted USB data recovery process.
Use Command Line [For macOS]
Although macOS also has a command line tool (Terminal), no command is available to recover files from formatted USB drive on Mac. So, you need to download an open-source and powerful tool - TestDisk.
- First, download it from the official website and unzip the installation package.
- Find the "Testdisk" executable in the folder and open it.
- Select No log > your formatted drive > select drive type > Analyze.
- After the scan is complete, you will see a list of recoverable files.
- Hit the "C" key to select the erased items and follow the wizard to choose a save folder. Click "Y " to confirm.
- Finally, open the location where the files are saved to check them.
Above are the methods to recover data from formatted flash drive for free without backup. If you're unlucky, don't be discouraged. You can also use professional software to help you.
How Recover files from Formatted USB Drive with Software
With the correct tool, you can easily complete this task with just a few clicks. Here, you can use iBeesoft Data Recovery, which uses intelligent AI deep recovery technology to help you recover everything from text documents and spreadsheets to lost photos and videos you thought were gone forever. In addition, the best undelete or unformat flash drive tool can automatically repair damaged data before recovery and provides Windows and Mac versions. The best USB recovery software is the ideal solution when you need urgent data rescue.
Recover Formatted USB Drive in Windows 10/11
- Launch iBeesoft Data Recovery and connect the formatted USB drive to your PC.
- Select your flash drive in the list of storage devices and click the "Scan" button to search for erased data.
- After scanning, you can select the items found on the result page and click the "Preview" button on the right to inspect the details.
- Select all the files you want to return and click on the "Recover" button in the bottom right corner.
- Choose a destination to store recovered files. After finishing saving, you will see all lost data there.
Recover Data from Formatted USB Flash Drive on Mac
- Install and open iBeesoft Mac data recovery software.
- Deselect the file types you don't want to retrieve and hit the "Start" button.
- Choose your formatted USB drive and click the "Scan" button
- Select the target files in the list of recoverable items and click the "Recover" button to save them.
If the wiped files are not entirely found, you can click Deep Scan to analyze your formatted USB drive for any remaining data thoroughly.
Other 5 Tools for Recover Formatted USB
With a super high recovery rate and simple interface, iBeesoft data recovery software is your best choice to recover files from a USB drive after formatting in Windows 10/11 and macOS. However, it is not the only option. There are many data recovery software available in the market. Here, we will list five famous ones for your reference.
- Microsoft File Recovery [Only Windows]
- Fast scanning
- Knowledge of the command line is required to use
- No preview option is available
- EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard [Windows and Mac]
- Easy to use
- It can save the scan results.
- Deep scan mode takes time.
- Stellar Data Recovery [Windows and Mac]
- A powerful file-filtering option
- Support for dual monitors
- Poor video recovery
- The boot disk is not supported.
- PhotoRec [Windows, Mac, and Linux]
- Open-source software
- Portable version available
- No GUI interface
- It cannot preview files before recovery.
- R-Studio [Windows, Mac, and Linux]
- Provides other useful options
- Supports multiple file types
- Difficult for novices to use
- Slow scan
It offers quick, efficient solutions for recovering lost files. It provides three recovery modes and can detect even the most deeply hidden data. Regardless of the reason for data loss, it helps you retrieve disappeared files from USB drives, disks, memory cards, or other storage devices.
This is an excellent option for those who need to recover files from formatted USB drive. The software can help you get back what was initially thought to be lost forever, whether it's photos, videos, documents, or any other file. It comes ready out-of-the-box for all levels of users; its sophisticated algorithms make restoration fast and easy for everyone.
It is an invaluable asset to anyone looking for USB drive formatted recovery. Whether it be valuable business documents or essential family photos, Stellar provides cutting-edge solutions to complex data loss issues. Time and again, its advanced tools have been a saving grace in the face of daunting recovery tasks.
PhotoRec is a versatile and powerful tool designed to help users recover lost or deleted data from various storage devices. It works with any file system, including FAR NTFS, exFAT, APFS, HFS+, EXT, and more.
It is one of the leading data recovery software solutions available today. It provides users with powerful scanning capabilities and a robust file recovery engine to recover deleted files in Windows 11, 10, and Mac, even if they were removed from an empty Recycle Bin. Additionally, it allows users to inspect disks deeply and extract data lost due to corrupted partitions, accidentally formatted drives, and virus attacks.
Recovering files from a formatted USB flash drive without backup can be incredibly trying. However, you can use the software mentioned above to make the process easier. With these unique tools on your side, there's no need to worry about permanently losing those invaluable files on the USB drive!
Last Resort to Retrieve Files from Flash Drive after Formatted
You can only try data recovery services if all the above methods fail. Such services are available by specialized third-party technicians who bring the right tools and expertise to repair any damaged or lost data successfully. However, they are expensive and time-consuming.
- Type in data recovery providers through Google to find one near you.
- Briefly introduce your data loss situation by phone and wait for the assessment report and solution.
- Choose a solution and send your formatted drive to a service center.
- After waiting 3-5 days, you will receive the USB drive again, and all erased items will be saved on it again.
How to Fix Access Denied/Asked Format USB Drive without Formatting
The USB drive denies access, capacity is 0, file system shows as RAW, or requires formatting before it can be used can be frustrating, especially if the drive contains important information that you want to access. Don't worry, using CMD can fix this problem without formatting. The steps are:
- Run Command Prompt as administrator.
- Type "chkdsk F:/r"; the F is your USB drive letter.
- After completing the progress, you can open the drive and view your data.
How to Prevent Your USB Drive from Being Formatted
Accidentally or being forced to format your USB drive can be a pain; all the data stored on it can suddenly disappear instantly. Thankfully, you can take precautions to avoid accidental loss and damage of files due to formatting. For this, you can follow some valuable tips:
- 🎏 The most critical measure to take is to create a backup of your files regularly and save it to a different storage device - this way, if your USB ever does get formatted, you can always restore the data without any significant losses.
- ⚠️ Avoid plugging the USB drive into unreliable devices or public computers to prevent malware viruses from being installed on the drive.
- 🖥️ If your USB drive will be used on different operating systems, it is better to choose FAT/exFAT; this will avoid formatting due to compatibility issues.
- ⏏️ Do not force eject it. This will avoid file system failure. You can also format it periodically to prevent logic errors.
- ⛱️ Buy a small case for it specifically designed with a write-lock. This design encases your USB drive and protects it from accidental erasures or formatting errors.
- ⏰ Lastly, try not to connect multiple USB drives at once or leave them plugged in for too long - this increases the chances of something going wrong and unintended formatting being carried out.
Following these steps will help keep your USB drive safe from accidental formatting.
Frequently Asked Questions
There can be many questions when recovering data from a formatted USB drive. Is the data still available? Can data all be recovered after erasing the flash drive? Is there anything special that needs to be taken care of to ensure a successful formatted USB recovery?... Here, we will list frequently asked questions about it to help you better.
If you used a quick format, they still remain on your drive, they're just hidden. At this time you can use iBeesoft Data Recovery to get them back. If you're using low-level formatting, they've been physically deleted and can't be easily retrieved.
No, formatting just erases all the data it saves and will not damage it. However, if you use low-level formatting, it will affect its service life.
Yes, it removes the virus and all items saved on it. If your drive is infected with a virus and you want to format it to get rid of it, then we recommend you use a full format, which will clean your USB thoroughly.
Yes, you can unformat USB on Windows/macOS unless they get overwritten by new data or use low-level formatting. However, you must rely on professional format recovery software such as iBeesoft Data Recovery to help you.
If you have a backup then you can use the following steps to get back your files. If not, you can also use iBeesoft data recovery software.
- Start by connecting USB Drive to your PC.
- On your USB Drive, make right-click and tap on "Properties."
- Tap the tab for "Previous Versions" and see recovery options available.
- Select a versions and tap on the "Restore" option.
You can follow the steps below to get wiped files for free.
- Download and install iBeesoft free data recovery software.
- Connect the formatted USB drive to the computer.
- Launch iBeesoft and select this drive to start scanning.
- Select lost files and click Recover to save them.
Formatting an important USB drive without a backup can make you despair as all your files are suddenly inaccessible. Fortunately, this article provides effective methods to help you recover files from formatted drive on Mac or Windows PC. However, they are only remedies. The most important thing is that you should back up your data regularly and develop good usage habits to avoid such disasters from happening again.