HOW TO RECOVER HIDDEN DATA IN A FLASH DRIVE
Oops!! No data in the flash drive
Ever saved your data in a flash drive only to plug it later and find its empty or some files and folders are missing? This makes it more worse when initially you had cut the data from the original location. You get so annoyed as you try to eject the disk and plug it severally without any success. To most people, the next step they normally take is to format the drive as they consider it faulty. This is also an option but should be the last one after you have tried what am about to give. Don't mind, after all your data might not be lost it can still be in there. In most cases, when you view the properties of the drive by right-clicking, you find it still has some occupied space yet when you open it, there's nothing. This normally is the work of viruses. they will completely hide your data. Even after going to folder properties and activating the display of hidden files and folders, the data cannot be displayed.
Use MS DOS/Cmd.exe
MS DOS means Microsoft Disk Operating System. It is the earliest operating system that was developed by Microsoft Coop-oration. It is a non-graphical operating system which requires you type for every command to be carried out. Nowadays MS DOS is still supported by Windows operating system as cmd.exe. Many people have ignored it terming it old-school yet to me it has saved me big time to recover lost data in disks. You can use it to manage all the disks in the computer. It is also easier to detect and remove viruses using DOS as you can easily identify them from the rest of the data in the disk. In This tutorial we are going to use the cmd.exe to run the commands in recovery.
Steps in opening cmd.exe
- Click on start button and click Run.
- Type Cmd on the run dialog box and press Enter. A command prompt appears where we have to type the commands. Double click on the title bar to maximize the command prompt or else press Alt+D+Enter to work with a full screen.
- On the command line, type the drive letter that you need to recover the files from e.g. H: and press enter. The entry point of your command should now read the drive letter.
- Type "dir /a:h" (without the quotes) and press Enter. Dir is the short for directory while "/a:h" is a switch used to display only the hidden files. Otherwise, /a only will enable the display of all the files and directories in the drive including the unhidden ones. If no hidden files are in the drive, typing /a:h will indicate directory not found.
- Having seen the hidden items, we need now to make them be displayed in windows by removing the hidden properties. Now type, attrib -h -s -r *.* (notice the spaces) and press Enter. Attrib is the short for attribute while -h is to remove any hidden property on the files, -s to deactivate any properties set as system files while -r removes the read-only properties. *.* represents a string of characters for the names of the items in the drive. Most viruses will come with the above properties turned on so that you can't delete them easily.
- Incase of a suspicious file and you may need to delete it, type del (file name together with the extension) and press Enter. e.g. del xyzg.inf
- Type Exit and press Enter to escape the cmd window. When you try to access your drive now from My Computer, you will notice that the items have been restored and you Voila!!! you have your data back.
With cmd.exe, you can do wonders in your disks which Windows cannot be able to perform. Learning a bit of DOS will help you a lot in managing your computer. Please feel free to comment or ask any question or any other steps in cmd.exe operation.