How to recover lost data from a USB stick

You could pay over a $1000 for a professional data recovery service after you have lost your precious files from your USB drive(or hard drive), so why not have a go at recovering it for free yourself.

There is a wonderful little utility that made by piriform called Recuva that can recover deleted files from your USB stick, external hard drive and also your internal hard drive. Recuva is a free data recovery tool that I have personally used many times to recover deleted files that people have accidentally deleted(which is why you should always have a backup!!).

You can also use this data recovery software if a drive has been accidentally formatted or has become corrupt.

So what you need to do to recover your files with Recuva is:

  • Download Recuva from the official page (
  • Run the installer (This will also ask you to download Chrome browser, I usually say no but its up to you)
  • Once installed it will automatically launch the software in wizard mode
  • Select next
  • Then specify what sort of files you are trying to recover from the options, or you can select all files if you just want to have a browse through the old files that were stored on the drive you are recovering the deleted data from
  • Then it asks you where the file was that has been deleted. In this section you select browse and find the USB drive letter or the folder on you computer that you have lost the file from.
  • Then select next and start
  • Then it will run the scan. Please be patient this can take some time.
  • Once it is finished you will see a list of all of the deleted files that the software could recover

If the file was not able to be recovered please run Recuva again and enable the deep scan option just before you press the start scan button.


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Many of these programs will be detected by virus scanners and some may just delete them as soon as they are seen, so I recommend disabling your virus scanning temporarily while you use these utlilites.

Nirsoft Password Utilities

Mail Pass View
This useful little program will get the passwords out of outlook, Windows Live Mail and some other commonly used mail clients. This does need to be ran with administrator privileges.

IE Pass View
IE Pass View will get cached passwords and usernames out of internet explorer.

Firefox Pass View
Same as IE Passview but for firfox.

Wireless Pass View
This gets your wifi password. It can only get the ones for networks that have the passwords saved on the computer.

PST Password
This gets the password for an encripted outlook pst file.


Windows Password Recovery

**I prefer to just delete the password and reset it because it is quicker and easier than waiting for it to crack a password.

Offline NT Password Registry Editor
This bootable CD lets you either edit the registry or delete the password

This utility will bypass the logon screen of windows and not delete the password. From there you can change another users password or create another user or do whatever it is that you need to.

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