How to Recover Files from Formatted USB Flash Drive [Video Guide Included]

Last updated on 9/1/2019

Can I recover data from formatted pen drive

“I accidentally formatted the pen drive on my computer, is there any way to recover the formatted data easily? Can I recover it with CMD using command prompt?”

Warning! Stop using the formatted pen drive for new data saving or making other changes on the reformatted flash drive since any new data or changes on the drive would overwrite the old data.

Some people may wonder is it possible to recover data from formatted pen drive or even with CMD command prompt. It's lucky that you can restore data after reformat pen drive with a format recovery tool, here we introduce a free one iCare Data Recovery Pro. Unfortunately, CMD command prompt in Windows is not available for unformat since the system does not offer the cmd function for a formatted drive recovery.

CMD provided by Windows can do the following but not the format recovery.

  1. fix the unsupported file system error
  2. format pen drive
  3. repair bad sectors on the disk

You can only recover formatted data with professional tool.

Quick format VS full format USB flash drive

When you format your flash drive, you can choose to quick format the drive or full format it.

When you perform the command on your computer, system will pop out a window allowing you to choose quick format or full format.

Quick format VS full format the lash driveQuick format VS full format the lash drive

If you check the option when you format the drive, the system will quick format your device, if you didn’t, it will full format the flash drive.

What’s the difference between quick format and full format?

If you quick formatted the device, the system will only remove the mft or fat (both record the place where files were restored). If you full format the device, it will remove the MFT/FAT and check the bad sectors at the same time. The later one needs more time to complete the formatting.

Luckily, data stored on the flash drive after either of the above formatting can be recovered by iCare Pro.

Video: how to restore formatted files from USB drive

How to recover data from formatted flash drive for free

iCare Data Recovery is a free data restoration program for Windows, which is able to recover files when flash drive involves in format problem, such as:

  • Format USB flash drive by accident
  • USB drive asks to format before you can use it
  • Formatted flash drive by other software

Besides USB flash drive format recovery, this program can also restore deleted files from USB, flash drive was recognized as RAW file system, quick formatted drive, unreadable flash drive, recover files from inaccessible USB drive etc.


Free Formatted USB Drive Recovery

Download iCare Data Recovery Pro to restore data from formatted USB including SanDisk, Kingston, PNY, Toshiba, etc in all situations. It can restore 1GB data free of charge and it needs a code if you want to recover more data.

Tutorial: Step by step guide to recover files from formatted USB flash drive?

This is a tutorial guiding you how to recover formatted files with step by step instructions. When recovering formatted flash drive, you need to download iCare Data Recovery Pro; plug in flash drive onto your PC as an external drive. Run iCare recovery program to search files. You can preview lost files before register this program.

Step1. Download the flash drive recovery software and install it on Windows PC. Plug the formatted flash drive to computer. Choose a recovery option - 'Deep Scan Recovery' is recommended for flash drive recovery.


Step2. Choose the flash drive as scanning device
wait while scanning lost data

Step3. preview found photos and some other types of files and choose the files needed.
preview lost files

Download USB Drive Recovery

Note: This program is totally free to recover 1GB data.

Tips and notes for Formatted USB Stick

No New Data Written to Formatted USB Please!!!

It is safe and quick to undo format flash drive and recover files. But before performing the recovery, there are something you need to understand. Once you formatted your flash drive, you save new data onto the flash drive again. Then some lost data would be corrupted. Why? You probably never heard the saying in data recovery world - once the data is over written, you suffer permanent data loss.

How long does it take for a formatted usb drive recovery

1GB flash drive - 1-5 minutes
16GB flash drive - 5-10 minutes
128GB flash drive - around 30 minutes

When you run iCare Data Recovery Pro for formatted usb stick recovery, the scanning process usually takes a few minutes. However, if too much data was stored on the USB or the USB stick is corrupted, it may take tens of minutes or even longer. It is worthy of waiting if you want to get back all formatted data.

How to recover data from a flash drive that needs to be formatted

usb warns formattingusb warns formatting

Q: What happened to a thumb drive when it requested a formatting is needed?

Answer: the file system of the thumb drive is damaged that Windows cannot recognize its file system and failed to load its property. So Windows won't allow you to access it too.

What can we do under such circumstances? Format it or not?

The best is to leave it untouched, do not reformat it for the best chance of data recovery and drive repair.

A list of formatted usb drive recovery tools for you to try

Here are some useful tools that we recommend for usb drive recovery.

Tool 1: iCare Data Recovery Pro

As we mentioned above, this program is able to recover files from formatted usb stick and it can restore 1GB data for free.

icare recovery proiCare Recovery Pro for usb drive recovery

Free Download iCare Pro

Tool 2: Stellar Windows Data Recovery

This one is a second choice of formatted usb drive recovery that you may try for the usb data recovery.

Download Stellar Windows Data Recovery

Download and open the program, connect your usb to Windows.

Steps of using this program

  • Step 1: open the program and select files you like to recover
    stellar recoveryChoose files to recover
  • Step 2: select your usb drive to start scanning
    stellar recoveryChoose usb drive to recover
  • Step 3: preview found files.
    stellar recoveryChoose usb drive to recover
  • Step 4: save files from the usb.
    stellar recoveryChoose usb drive to recover

Note: This program is a paid program but it work efficiently in our test. You may choose to try it upon your own call.

Tool 3: Recuva

Recuva is a free program which also has a paid edition and it is dedicated for deleted file recovery. You may download it free to recover formatted usb flash drive and test it for your own luck.

Download Recuva Free

  • Step 1: Select which file type you'd like to recover
    recuvaChoose file to recover
  • Step 2: Save found files
    recuvaChoose file to save

Recuva works excellently for deleted file recovery and just does not find the most files after format compared with the rest.

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Data Recovery Software > Flash drive recovery > Format Recovery > Recover Files from Formatted Flash Drive