Q&A: Possible to Recover Files from a SanDisk Cruzer USB Flash?

I have a 16GB Cruzer USB flash drive. I formatted it because it couldn't be recognized properly on my computer, thought it was corrupted. Now I realize I have several important documents saved there. Is it still possible to retrieve my Cruzer disk data?

The quick answer is — yes, it's possible to recover data from your SanDisk Cruzer USB key even if you've formatted it. I would assume it was a quick format, as we have introduced in another article how to fix usb can't format error.

But, chances of recovery depends on whether you've continued using the same USB to store new data. If you did, then the possibility would decrease.

What do I mean? In fact, when you quick formatted a disk drive or deleted files out of it, the data contained in the drive are not removed immediately. Instead, the data is marked as unimportant and left over on the disk waiting to be occupied. So, if you have generated new data writing activities to your Cruzer USB, the old data you wish to recover could have been overwritten.

However, the good news is since your SanDisk USB has a decent volume (16GB, in your situation), that overwriting operation would need some time to take place. And before that happens, your lost files are totally recoverable.

But how?

The best way is to use a USB flash drive data recovery software. Follow the step by step below to get started.

Step 1: insert your Cruzer flash drive to a computer, PC or Mac, doesn't matter.

Step 2: download a data recovery program (Windows PC here, Mac OS X here) and install it on your computer.

Step 3: launch the program you've just installed. Follow the instructions shown on the software interface until a scanning procedure starts.

Step 4: preview the found files after the scan is complete. Save those items you desire to retrieve.

Note: to avoid partial data from overwritten, do not save the recovered files back to your USB key again. Select another disk drive on your computer.

Hope this guide has helped you get back your lost files. Remember, do not try to write additional files to your drive when you realize you've formatted the disk or deleted something in it. Best to put the disk in a plastic bag to prevent physical or water damage.

Last but not least, always make multiple backups of your important data. USB flash drives are convenient but not reliable. Online backups like DropBox, Google Drive, etc. are free and popular these days.

Andreas Louis
 

Based in CA, Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. He also has contributed to several other notable technology journals.

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