Last updated: May 12, 2017
I have a 16GB Cruzer USB flash drive. I formatted it because the device couldn't be recognized properly by my computer, thought it was corrupted. Now I realize I have several important documents saved there. Is it still possible to retrieve the lost data?
To be frank, it all depends on whether your files are overwritten (if you kept saving new items to the drive)
And yes, it's often possible to recover data from a SanDisk Cruzer USB drive even if you've formatted it. I'd assume it was a quick format, see more from this article how to fix usb can't format error for why.
But again, chances of recovery lies in whether you've continued using the same USB drive 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, only the data is marked as unimportant and the space is 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 want to recover could be written over.
However, the good news is that since your SanDisk USB has a decent volume (i.e., 16 GB), that overwriting operation would take quite some time to occur. And before that happens, your lost files are totally recoverable.
How to get back the lost data from my Cruzer?
The best way is to use a third-party data recovery software, which we've covered in this USB data recovery guide (see chapter 6).
It only takes a few steps, here's how:
Step 1: insert your Cruzer flash drive into the USB port of your computer (PC or Mac, it doesn't matter).
Step 3: now launch the recovery 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. Check if your lost files are there. If yes, save them to a desired location.
Note: to avoid partial data from being overwritten, do not save the recovered files back to your USB stick again. Select another disk drive on your computer, for example.
Hope this guide has helped you get back your lost files. Meanwhile, you can also visit this SanDisk flash drive support page for more information.
Remember, do not try to write additional files to your drive when you realize you've formatted the disk or deleted something out of it. It's 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 versatile as well. Online backups like DropBox, Google Drive, etc. are free and popular these days, leverage them for sake of data security.
Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. While he is not reading technology journals, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends or hiking in the wild.