What is the best tool for recovering deleted data from a flash drive (pen drive)?

  • 1
    How did you delete the data? What did you do AFTER you deleted them? – arrange Mar 22 '11 at 11:22
  1. TestDisk

find lost partitions and data for External and Internal Drive for all of these file systems, ext2, ext3, ext4 and encrypted partition. for windows FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 and NTFS boot sector.

For Recovering data from external Hard drive
Type testdisk on your terminal and follow this well written step TestDisk Step-By-Step

For Recovering files from internal and External hard drives there is PhotoRec which comes with TestDisk.

type photorec on your terminal

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Select your drive and hit enter to proceed and follow the instruction.

  1. Extundelete

    extundelete is a utility that can recover deleted files from an ext3 or ext4 partition

  • 2
    PhotoRec is not just for internal hard drives. I regularly use it to recover files from corrupted flash drives. – ændrük Mar 22 '11 at 17:25
  • 1
    I used PhotoRec to recover deleted photos from my camera sd card! This was a life saver as it was a very important occasion and there were over 300 pictures that just went poof! – smac89 May 1 '18 at 22:24

The Ubuntu Wiki has an excellent page on Data recovery.

I've recently used the command line tool foremost for recovering 9000 photos off a SD card.

  1. Install foremost: sudo apt-get install foremost
  2. Mount and create the target directory for storing recovered data, make sure it's large enough to hold the data. I assume it's located at /media/backup/recover now.
  3. Assuming your flash drive to be named /dev/sdb, run:

    sudo foremost -i /dev/sdb -o /media/backup/recover
  4. Do something else, it might take a while to read and recover the data over USB.

(source: DataRecovery - Foremost)

  • Thanks! This one worked for me, unlike recoverjpeg which recovered only about one third of files, for some reason. – Artem Pelenitsyn Feb 10 '18 at 16:00

recoverjpeg works perfectly for a formatted USB disk / thumb drive.

  1. Install recoverjpeg: sudo apt-get install recoverjpeg -y
  2. Recover the pics

    $ sudo recoverjpeg /dev/sdc -o ~/recover_usb/

    Restored 1056 pictures

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