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How to Recover Deleted Files from USB Flash Drive on a Mac

If you discover that your important files are gone from a USB flash drive, then there are some options available to you that can help you to recover this information.

  • The files might be in the trash bin on your Mac.
  • They could be available in another folder or storage device.
  • You can use data recovery software to restore access to the information.

You can easily restore and protect files from a flash drive by using the following options, making your Mac recovery USB work much more manageable.

Flash Drive Recovery (Mac)

If you cannot find your files anywhere on your Mac or USB flash drive, then recovery is still possible when using a tool like Disk Drill. This utility can search through internal or external storage thanks to its advanced scanning algorithms.

It will look through each sector of the USB flash drive, salvaging files in numerous formats to ensure you have the information access you require.

You will want to stop using the flash drive for saving files until you complete the recovery process to prevent an accident overwrite.

There are some additional options, like in this guide, that can help you to find your lost files as well.

USB Flash Drive Write Protection

You can enable an additional security layer to prevent data copying or deletion on your USB flash drive.

The easiest way to add this protection is to flip the write protection switch that is on the flash drive. Look for a small button or slider on the device. Then move it to the correct position so that it becomes a read-only drive. This process allows you to see the data, but you are not able to modify it while the switch is in place.

You can also mount the USB drive to be read only by using Diskutil on a Mac. Run “diskutil list” from the Terminal, taking note of the device that represents the drive. Then eject the disk by running “diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskN” replacing the N with the number representing the drive.

Then mount the flash drive by running “diskutil mountDisk readOnly /dev/diskN” to finish the job. You will need to run these commands actively every time you wish to run an archive stick.

Incorporate Time Machine

You can also incorporate the USB drives that you wish to protect into the Time Machine backups that you create on your Mac. That means you’ll need to get into this utility to turn it on.

You will need to go through Launchpad (the rocketship in your dock) to access this option. Then select “Other,” which is where you will find this utility. Make sure that it is turned on to start creating backups because it will not do so until you give this command.

A Finder box with your profile will begin to load. Then you can go back through the various backups that your Mac created to protect your system. Choose the option that goes back beyond where you lost the file on your USB to restore your access to it.

This option only works for files that were created and saved during the last backup cycle. If you recently created the data in the previous hour, then you’ll want to look at a data recovery option like Disk Drill instead.

Are You Ready to Recover Your Deleted Flash Drive Files on Mac?

The best practice to get into when using USB drives is to back them up whenever possible. When they are not in use, then incorporate the write protection option to maintain the integrity of your folder structures.

If you do lose some information, then come back to this guide to evaluate which options can help you to recover your files.Flash drive recovery on a Mac is possible if you take proactive steps today.

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