Sometimes after inserting Pendrive in a friend’s computer or in some Cyber Cafe computer, it gets infected by malware or virus. There are several types of malware and viruses, some of them cause problems to your computer, some delete your data and some simply hide it. When a pendrive or USB drive get infected by data hiding malware, you only see shortcuts in it and all the data is gone. But if you check in properties, it shows that Data is still there.
Actually, those computer which don’t have any antivirus installed on them or their antivirus is outdated, are houses for many viruses, malwares, adwares and hackwares. They infect any USB drive that comes in contact with them. Usually they hide all the data from the Pendrive and make their shortcuts. Whenever you click on a shortcut, that file/folder opens and some script is run in background by the virus/malware. But if you delete that shortcut, you can’t easily access those files/folders, even if you show hidden files and folders. All your content is moved to a folder which has either no name or just “_” as folder name. And the attributes of that folder are changed to system, hidden and read-only. So that even after changing view settings to Show hidden files and folders, you can’t see them.
So, what can we do to get our data back? First and recommended action is to scan your Pendrive using a good and up to date antivirus. The antivirus will remove shortcut virus from your Pendrive after scanning but it usually doesn’t show your data in the Pendrive. We have to use some other tactics for that.
In this tutorial I am going to explain two methods, using which you can unhide/recover your valuable data that is hidden or lost in your Pendrive. First method uses a small software utility and other one doesn’t need any utility, it uses Command prompt. If you are not comfortable with Command prompt, you should use first method.
Let’s start with the First method:
Method 1: Software Method To Recover Lost/Hidden Data From USB/SD Card
What do we need:
- A small software utility, named as Mytool.exe , you can download it from here.
- The Pendrive whose data is hidden.
First download FolderAttribute(QH) tool. It won’t take much time to download, as it’s just 157KB in size. After download, go to Downloads folder and right-click on Mytool.exe and choose Run as administrator.
It will ask you for Administrator permission. When User Account Control Prompt appears, click Yes to continue.
Mytool.exe utility will start. It has simple interface, a browse folder button, and an OK button. Click on Browse folder button as shown in screenshot below to browse your Pendrive.
Now, browse window will appear, browse to your Pendrive or SD card. Select your Pendrive or SD Card and click OK to continue.
After selecting your Pendrive, you will see the path of your Pendrive in the box. Now, tick the check-box next to Sub Directory and click OK. Why we have ticked check-box next to Sub Directory? Well, this will allow the utility to show the content of sub-folder inside your Pendrive.
You will get a confirmation message after the process is complete. Click OK and close Mytool utility.
Go to your Pendrive and check, all your data is back.
Above method is good to use when you don’t know about Windows CMD commands, but if you are aware about Windows CMD commands, you can recover the data without using any third party software.
Method 2: Command Prompt Method To Recover Lost/Hidden Data From USB/SD Card
Open Command Prompt. Press Windows Key + R to launch RUN utility, type cmd in the box and click OK or press Enter.
This will launch Command Prompt Window. You should be logged in as Administrator or your can start Command Prompt as Administrator from Start Menu >> All Programs >> Accessories >> Command Prompt (Right-click and select Run as administrator).
Now, command prompt window, type following command and press Enter.
attrib -r -s -h /s /d E:\*.*
attrib – This command is used to change attributes of files and folder.
-r – This switch removes Read-Only attribute of files and folder.
-s – This removes System attribute of files and folders.
-h – This removes Hidden attribute of files and folders.
/s – This allows access to System files.
/d – This allows to change attributes of directories and sub-directories.
E:\*.* – This is the path of your Pendrive. E: is drive letter of Pendrive, it may be different for
you. “*.*” means all files.
After you press Enter, attribute changing process will start. It will show you nothing in CMD window but, cursor will blink and after process is complete, you will see cursor at current directory path. Now, you can close command prompt.
Now, go back to your Pendrive and see all your files are shown. You can now select all files and check the properties if the size of all files is equal to the occupied space on Pendrive or not.
Now all your Data is back. You don’t need to go for some data recovery software for that. You can try any of the two methods explained above. Recovering lost or hidden data from USB Drive or SD Card is easy if you follow above tutorial carefully.