How to Recover Deleted Photos and Videos from USB Flash Drive

Summary: Are your photos and videos deleted from the USB flash drive? Learn how to recover deleted photos, videos from USB flash drives without software. Also check out the best tool that restores any deleted photos, videos or music files from USB pen drives on Windows and Mac computers.

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 ‘Deleted video files from USB flash drive’

‘USB drive not showing files and folders’

‘Photos and video files disappeared from flash drive’

‘USB video files missing but space still used’

USB flash drives are popularly used for storing and transferring digital photos, videos or music from one device to another. However, users often complain about their files disappearing suddenly or files deleted mistakenly from the USB drives.

So why do files disappear from flash drive?

The cause of missing files from USB drive can vary. Often technical glitches, deletion or formatting can result in the loss of media files from USB flash drives.

The most common reasons for loss or deletion of photos and video files from USB drives are:

  • Accidental deletion
  • Formatting
  • Sudden system shutdown during file transfer
  • Pulling out USB from the system during file transfer process
  • Virus infection in the USB drive
  • Hardware failure due to excessive moisture, heat, dust, etc.
  • Old or overused pen drive in multiple systems

How to recover deleted photos and video files from USB flash drives?

The easiest and most assured way to recover deleted media files from a USB drive is by using a data recovery software. However, there are also ways to recover files from USB flash drive without using software.

Here we will share the best methods to recover deleted photos and videos from a USB flash drive with and without software.

Methods to recover deleted videos, photos from USB pen drive

The first thing to do is check your backup folders. You might have created one on Google Drive, OneDrive or your computer’s hard drive.

In the absence of backup or if you don’t find the deleted photos in the backup drives, go for the below methods to recover USB media files:

  1. Recover USB photos and video files with software  – Stellar Photo Recovery
  2. Recover deleted USB media files without software using CMD
  3. Restore deleted USB photos, video files using Previous Versions (for Windows 8 & above)
  4. Recover USB flash drive photo files with Backup and Restore (for Windows 7)

Method 1: Use Stellar Photo Recovery for Deleted USB Drive Files Recovery

Stellar Photo Recovery software recovers deleted photos and videos from USB flash drives of any capacity. You can use it to restore lost photos and videos from corrupt or formatted pen drives and USB sticks.

It recovers almost any type of picture, video, and audio file format. The software works with all brands of USB flash drives including Kingston, SanDisk, Samsung and others.

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Steps to recover deleted photos, videos from USB flash drive with software:

  • Download and launch Stellar Photo Recovery software on PC/ Mac.
  • Connect the USB flash drive to your computer (Fig 1).
Figure 1: Connect USB flash drive with laptop
  • On the software first screen (Fig. 2), select the USB media to scan. Click Scan. You can click on Settings icon above and select photo/ video/ audio file types and formats to recover exactly what you want.
Stellar photo recovery select USB drive screen1
Figure 2: Stellar Photo Recovery first screen
  • After the scanning completes, the software lists the recoverable media files. Preview your photos and videos (Fig. 3). Next, click Recover to save them at a desired location.
Stellar photo recovery preview  screen1 usb recovery
Figure 3: Preview window of Stellar Photo Recovery

Method 2: Recover deleted files from USB using CMD

If the photos or video files are missing from your USB flash drive, they might be hidden. You can use Command Prompt or CMD to unhide the files and access them.

Steps to recover USB flash drive files using CMD:

  • Connect your USB flash drive to computer.
  • In the Start menu, type cmd and press Enter.
  • In the Command Prompt window, type chkdsk G: /f and press Enter (Fig. 4). (Here G should be the drive letter assigned to your USB drive.)
use Command Prompt in Windows 10 to recover  USB
Figure 4: Command Prompt in Windows 10
  • Next, type ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D G:*.* and press Enter (Fig. 5). Wait until the process finishes.
Command line for USB drive recovery
Figure 5: Command line for USB drive recovery
  • Restart your PC.
  • You should be able to see the deleted photos and videos now on your USB flash drive.

Method 3: Restore deleted USB photos, video files using Previous Versions

This method will work, if you have had enabled File History feature for USB drive on your Windows PC. Try to restore USB photos and videos by using Windows Previous Versions feature. Previous versions are copies of photos, videos or other files automatically created by Windows File History backup. You can use Previous Versions to get back the deleted original photos and videos.

Steps to restore USB files with Previous Versions on Windows 10 PC

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Find the image or video file or folder that you want to restore. Right-click on it and select Properties.
  3. Click on Previous Versions tab.
recover usb with Previous Versions window
Figure 6: Previous Versions window
  • If you see the file versions with date, select the file version you want to recover from the list. Click Restore at the bottom. You can click Open to view its content.

The USB pictures and videos should be restored.

Method 4: Recover USB flash drive photos with Backup and Restore (For Windows 7 users)

Windows 7 users can use this backup facility to recover deleted USB files. But this will only work if you have enabled the Windows backup feature on your system.

Steps to recover deleted media files using Backup and Restore:

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Click to follow System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore.
  3. Click Restore my files.
  4. Click Browse for files or Browse for folders to see the content of the backup.
    Quick Tip: If you’re searching for photos or videos, type the file type in the Search for box. For example, to find backed up MP4 files, type MP4 in the Search for box. You can search by location as well. For example, to search for MP4 files in your external drive, type G:\Users\<your name>\MP4 in the Search for box.
  5. Select location to save the backup.


Stellar Photo Recovery is the easiest as well as assured method to recover deleted photos and video files from USB flash drive. Unlike Windows CMD or File history feature, you can restore lost or deleted USB files within few clicks without any hassle. Also, Windows backup provision will only work when you have enabled the feature.

Take the free trial of Stellar USB flash drive recovery software and preview your deleted photos and videos now!

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