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HOW TO RECOVER HIDDEN DATA IN A FLASH DRIVE

Updated on October 8, 2012

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

  1. Click on start button and click Run.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.


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    • Palnatech profile image
      Author

      Paul Njuguna 2 years ago from Nairobi

      make sure you leave a space between every letter but not spaces between the dash and the letter.

      you can also add the following to the commands

      attrib -h -s -r *.* /s /d

      Note: space after the word attrib, after h, after s, after r, after /s, and after /d

    • profile image

      Mahesh 2 years ago

      When i try attrib -h -s -r*.*

      Then it says attrib is not recognized as an internal or external command

      How to recover my data back

      Plz help me.

    • profile image

      Sandesh 2 years ago

      Thank you so much....i got my file unhide in my pen drive.......

    • profile image

      Good Software 3 years ago

      Pen Drive Virus Hidden File Remover Tools

      If your Folders and Files in pendrive were changed to hidden by virus attack, unable to change to visible as the hidden tick box in the properties of folder is disabled use this Pen Drive Virus Tools for remove the hidden attribute in the pen drive.

      http://ekalai.com/downloads/PenDriveVirusToolsV0.0...

    • profile image

      Johnf151 3 years ago

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    • profile image

      Kuldeep Ranga 3 years ago

      Dear,

      i have a 4 gb pendrive. The data showing of drives is full but whenever i tried to open that then we are not see the data in drive so pls help

    • profile image

      Waheed 3 years ago

      Very Simple

      if your Drive Letter name is G

      Type

      G:Enter

      attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:\*.*Enter

      then you Drive G your Hidden Data show

    • profile image

      Anti-Virus 3 years ago

      @Azeem...that is question for the gods.

    • profile image

      Anti-Virus 3 years ago

      @Azeem...that is question for the gods.

    • profile image

      azeem shah 3 years ago

      i am still in problem.

      my flash is not showing data even i have tried the procedure of DOS but in vain

    • Palnatech profile image
      Author

      Paul Njuguna 3 years ago from Nairobi

      Hi Suze, it's good that you can see the files you wish to recover. It it happens that you can't find them after the other attributes, try to make a directory in a separate location and copy the files there. If it's hard for you to make a directory using cmd, you can use your C drive to copy the files there. You can attain this by:

      1. make sure that you are in the root drive where the files are.

      2. type the following; copy myfile*.*.docx c:\ then press enter.

      N/B: replace myfile with the first few letters of your file then type the *.* then replace .doc with the file extension of the file extension you are recovering. I used .docx as an example of a word document. Remember to put spaces after the word copy and after the file extension.

      3. Open C drive to see the copied files which you can easily open from there.

      Good luck.

    • profile image

      Suze 3 years ago

      hi. after typing dir /a:h i see the files that i wish to recover but they do not appear when i type attrib -h -s -r *.*

    • profile image

      Jim 3 years ago

      No, I am using a Transcend 4 GB Flash drive on a Compaq Presario CQ 61 laptop. No SD card either. It is this Transcend drive that is giving the problem.

    • profile image

      Weng 3 years ago

      It is still the same... The files can't be read by the computer..

    • Palnatech profile image
      Author

      Paul Njuguna 3 years ago from Nairobi

      Jim, are you using an sd card in an android phone?

    • profile image

      Jim 3 years ago

      I did everything you said. I did it twice, but both times it did not work. Could it be because my data is not directly in drive G: ? My drive had 2 folders, which themselves contained several layers of folders, and some files. The virus put all my folders, sub-folders and files in something called LOST.DIR. It is this that I need to open. Properties of LOST.DIR shows a huge amount of data in it. Can you advise me further?

    • profile image

      ICTiempo 3 years ago

      I found new and easy way to unhide files hidden by virus, you can try this

      http://www.techchore.com/2013/12/how-to-unhide-you... Somehow I appreciate the above article, I am just offering a second option for the non techy individual that might find DOS command a bit uncomfortable.

    • Palnatech profile image
      Author

      Paul Njuguna 4 years ago from Nairobi

      Mwalens, try to insert this command in Dos to see if they will be displayed in the windows explorer.

      attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:\*.*

      In this case, g is my drive letter so I expect you to type the letter assigned to the drive you want to work with.

    • profile image

      mwalevans 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for the techinfo. I am able to see the hidden folders and files in DOS but cannot still see them in MS Windows 7. What next have to be done. I still hope my problem may still warrant your attention and help.

    • Palnatech profile image
      Author

      Paul Njuguna 4 years ago from Nairobi

      @Kieran, Which OS are you using? I should first suggest you turn off hibernation mode on your computer coz hiberfil.sys is a file that stores the contents in RAM when your computer is in hibernation mode and that could be one reason why. Next, in the case of the bootmgr, make sure you don't have left over files from a previously installed OS

    • kevinbernard31 profile image

      kevinbernard31 4 years ago from Oregon, USA

      I am having an issue with my flash drive. Every time i plug it in, it gives me some weird error message. This is useful post for me.

    • profile image

      bassam 4 years ago

      thanks a lot .. very helpful

    • profile image

      Kieran 4 years ago

      Awesome I really appreciate the knowledge, I'm having one issue though I am getting an access denied :\bootmgr and a access denied :\hiberfil.sys, I'm mainly thinking it's due to the fact that I'm accessing the drive through a USB 2.0- SATA. Trying to get some important emails after a motherboard failure and could really use some input on the issue.

    • Palnatech profile image
      Author

      Paul Njuguna 4 years ago from Nairobi

      Please feel free to leave a comment if you find the hub useful