Do your files copied to a USB drive disappear in Windows 7/8/10/11? Now in this post from MiniTool, we will tell you why USB drive files disappeared and walk you through how to recover disappeared files from the USB drive with the best data recovery software.

Files Copied to a USB Drive Disappear

USB flash drives are one of the most commonly used portable data storage media, often used for file storage, data backup, and file transfer between devices. It shares information between devices such as computers through a USB port and does not depend on a network connection.

Although a USB flash drive has many advantages, in the process of using it, you may encounter various problems from time to time. For instance, the USB drive is not recognized by Windows, the USB drive cannot open, the USB file transfer is stuck at 0, and so on.

In today’s post, we will talk about another USB drive issue – files copied to a USB drive disappear. Some users reported that their USB copied files disappeared after unplugging and re-plugging the USB drive. A user describes his problem as follows.

Hello there, I was given a USB flash drive that has two problems (or just one problem which causes the other one). When I copy any file to it, then try to eject it, the famous error message "The device is currently in use" pops up. If I unplugged it and then re-plug it, I find it empty as if I didn't copy any

Before fixing the issue, you had better know why this problem occurs.

Why USB Copied Files Disappeared

Various reasons can lead to files copied to a USB drive disappear. Listed below are the common causes.

  • The USB drive is not properly connected to your computer.
  • The files in the USB drive are hidden so that they are not showing up.
  • The copied USB files are deleted by mistake.
  • The USB drive is infected by viruses, causing copied files to disappear.
  • The file system of the USB drive is corrupted or damaged.

After having a basic understanding of why your files copied to a USB drive disappear, let’s see how to show or recover deleted files and fix the USB drive.

How to Fix Files Copied to a USB Drive Disappear Windows 7/8/10/11

Fix 1. Reconnect the USB Drive to Your Computer

As mentioned before, if the USB drive is not properly connected to your computer, you may find that your USB copied files disappeared. To rule this out, you can safely eject the USB device and reinsert it to another USB port. Or plug the USB drive into another device to see if the files really disappear.

If the USB file is still not visible after trying the steps above, try the next method.

Fix 2. Check If the Files Are Hidden

Hidden files usually don’t show up on the USB drive, so you may mistakenly think the files disappeared. With the Show hidden files feature, you can make the hidden files displayed. Follow the steps below to complete the necessary actions.

Step 1. Press Windows + E key combination to open File Explorer.

Step 2. In File Explorer, move on to the View tab, and click the Options button.

Step 3. In the pop-up window, go to the View section and make sure the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option is checked.                                              

show hidden files

Step 4. Click Apply and OK sequentially to make this change take effect.

There are multiple ways to show hidden files on USB drives. For a more detailed guide, you can refer to this article: How to Show/Recover Hidden Files in USB or SD Card.

Fix 3. Recover Disappeared Files From the USB Drive

If the above two methods fail to retrieve the files you copied to the USB, then it is likely that these files are automatically deleted by Windows or deleted due to wrong operation.

In this situation, to recover deleted files, you can turn to a piece of free data recovery software. MiniTool Power Data Recovery is highly recommended here. It supports recovering various types of files, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, pictures, videos, audio, and more.

In addition to USB flash drive data recovery, MiniTool Power Data Recovery also works great on SSD data recovery, HDD data recovery, SD card recovery, external hard drive data recovery, and so on.

Besides, as a secure data recovery service, MiniTool Power Data Recovery can bring back your deleted or lost files without damaging the original files and the storage media.

Before recovering your USB copied files:

  • Connect the USB drive to your computer via a USB port.
  • Download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

A step-by-step guide to performing USB drive data recovery:

Step 1. Double-click MiniTool Power Data Recovery to launch it. In its main interface, move your cursor to the target USB drive and click the Scan button.

If the USB drive is not displayed here, you can click the Refresh button to refresh the drive list.
select the target USB drive to scan

MiniTool Power Data Recovery will start to scan for the data on the selected USB drive. During scanning, found files will be displayed by file path in the scan results window. You are allowed to Pause or Stop the scanning, but this is not recommended for the best scan and recovery result.

Step 2. After scanning, usually, a substantial number of files will be listed. So, you can make use of the following features to locate the desired files faster.

  • Path: By default, all found files will be listed by file path, you can unfold each folder to locate the wanted files.
  • Type: By moving on to the Type category list, you can view found files by file type.
  • Filter: You can click the Filter button to filter unwanted files by file type, file modification date, file size, and file category.
  • Search: If you remember a partial or complete file/folder name, you can type it in the search box and press Enter to find the specific file/folder.
view files by file path and file type
filter and search for a file

More importantly, to help you make sure the found items are what you want, you are allowed to preview multiple types of files, including JPEG, JPG, MKV, MP4, DOC, DOCX, PDF, and more. To preview a file, just double-click it or click the Preview button.

For videos and most types of pictures, you can choose to save them by clicking the Save button in the preview window. 
preview the video file

Step 3. Once you find the required items, check the checkbox next to them. Then click the Save button to choose an appropriate location to store them. It is suggested to select another drive to store the recovered files in case of data overwriting.

save all needed files

This is the whole process of recovering deleted copied files from a USB drive with MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

When saving all selected files, you may be prompted to upgrade to an advanced edition. This is because MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free supports free data scanning, file preview, and 1 GB of data saving. To break this limitation, you need to choose a full edition.

“Files I copied to my USB drive disappeared. Luckily, MiniTool Power Data Recovery recovered my files.”Click to Tweet

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

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Fix 4. Check the USB Drive for Errors

If the USB drive has file system errors, the trouble of “files copied to a USB drive disappear” may also occur. To prevent USB files from being lost again, you need to repair file system errors. To do this, you can run the Windows built-in USB drive error-checking tool.

Step 1. Insert the USB drive into your computer.

Step 2. In File Explorer, move on to the This PC section and right-click the USB drive to select Properties.

Step 3. In the new window, click on the Tools tab, and click the Check button under Error checking.

check the USB drive for file system errors

Step 4. In the error checking window, click Scan and repair drive. Then this tool will start to detect and repair the errors automatically.

Step 5. Wait for the repair process to complete.

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Fix 5. Scan the USB Drive for Viruses

Viruses in USB may delete or hide files, causing USB files to disappear. After recovering the files, you can use antivirus software to scan for and kill the viruses. For example, you can enable Windows’ built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, to scan your USB device for viruses. Or, you can make Windows Defender scan USB automatically.

Fix 6. Format the USB Drives

If the USB drive has been disinfected and the file system is repaired, the problem of “files copied to a USB drive disappear” still exists, you may need to format the USB drive.

Formatting will erase all files stored on the USB drive. So, make sure you have restored your important files by using MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

How to format a USB drive? Here we provide you with three effective ways.

Way 1. Format the USB drive using File Explorer.

The easiest way to format a USB drive is to use File Explorer.

In File Explorer, go to the This PC section, find and right-click the target USB drive to select Format.

In the new window, set up the file system, allocation unit size, and volume label. Besides, check the option of Quick Format. After that, click the Start button.

format the USB drive

Way 2. Format the USB drive using Disk Management.

Apart from File Explorer, you can carry out disk formatting in Disk Management.

First, right-click the Windows logo button to select Disk Management.

Next, right-click the USB disk partition to choose Format.

In the new window, specify the file system, allocation unit size, and volume label. Also, check the checkbox next to Perform a quick format. Then click OK.

Way 3. Format the USB drive using MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Sometimes when you try to format the USB drive in File Explorer and Disk Management, you may receive a prompt saying “Windows was unable to complete the format”. Facing this message, do not panic. You can carry out USB drive formatting by using a third-party partition manager – MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Get MiniTool Partition Wizard Free installed and start to format the USB drive.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard Free to enter its home page.

Step 2. In the main interface, select the USB drive partition, then scroll down to click Format Partition from the left menu bar.

format the partition

Step 3. Specify the partition label, file system, and cluster size, then click OK.

Step 4. Finally, click the Apply button located in the lower left corner to make disk formatting take effect.

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Fix 7. Replace the USB Drive

If you have tried all the methods listed above and the files in the USB are still always disappearing, it is very likely that the drive is corrupted. In this case, you may consider replacing it with a new USB drive. You can refer to this article to learn how to choose the best USB drive: The Guide to Choose the Best USB Flash Drive.

Wrapping Things Up

To sum up, this post focuses on the topic of “files copied to a USB drive disappear” and provides you with several feasible ways to show and recover deleted or lost USB files, as well as a couple of solutions to fix the problematic USB drive.

If you have come across any other effective solutions to this topic, welcome to leave them in the comment zone below to help more users. Thank you in advance.

Should you have any questions about MiniTool Power Data Recovery or MiniTool Partition Wizard, please feel free to contact us via [email protected].

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