Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I opened up my flash drive this morning and all of my folders and files are normal, except for one folder and all its included files, which is the most important folder. The subfolders and files are renamed with bizarre characters and when I click to open them, a pop-up appears saying it's not accessible and the filename or directory name is incorrect. I don't want to reformat the flash drive because I'd lose all those files. Is there a way for me to restore it or something?

I would attach a screen shot, but apparently new users do not have that privilege. If you have a vague idea of what I'm talking about, let me know and I can email you screenshots so you can have a better understanding. Any help is greatly appreciated!

share|improve this question
Post a link to the screenshots and somebody will modify your question for you. – Ramhound Dec 12 '12 at 12:40

If you are lucky you could solve the problem by simply running a checkdisk on the USB drive (make sure to make a copy of the entire drive before doing this):

  1. Right-click on the USB drive
  2. Select Properties
  3. Select the Tools tab
  4. Select Check now...
  5. In the Check disk options window that will appear, make sure to select both "Automatically fix file system errors" and "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors"
share|improve this answer
This is a potentially destructive operation. In data recovery, the golden rule is to make an exact copy of the drive and work from there; put the original one away! After I'd done that, this answer is probably the first thing I would try. – Marcks Thomas Dec 12 '12 at 11:38
@MarcksThomas thanks for pointing this out, I've updated my answer :) – user1301428 Dec 12 '12 at 11:49
@user1301428 - This action can still result in data loss if problems are found. Of course data loss might not be avoidable if there is a problem actually with the drive so its not exactly the fault of the directions. – Ramhound Dec 12 '12 at 12:40
@Ramhound True, the full drive copy would come in handy in this case – user1301428 Dec 12 '12 at 12:59

This sort of thing usually happens when you plug in flash disk to old PCs (Pentium IV or lower) or on PC's internal card reader with USB port. Apparently, some old USB controllers (those that were manufactured before 4-GB flash storage were developed) simply do not support USB drives larger than 2GB. As a result, the files get corrupted.

If you can still open those folders and files then I suggest you copy those files to another drive immediately. Before attempting to fix it, copy the files to another drive as backup.To fix, simply run CHKDSK on your flash drive.

If you cannot recover your data through CHKDSK then I suggest you to use a recovery software.

I just found this excellent recovery software TestDisk.

It is called TestDisk and it is a powerful recovery software. It can fix partition tables, FAT, FAT32, NTFS boot sectors, recover deleted files, copy deleted files, and many more. I suggest you go to the website, download, install and give it a try for yourself. It is easy enough to use for experts and novices alike.

Another powerful tool you can use is GetDataBack for NTFS and Fat.

Hope it helps.

share|improve this answer

Try Recuva. This may help you. I tried Recuva and it helped me.

Recuva is a freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players. It will even bring back files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses.

share|improve this answer
Please don't link to random software without instructions. To truly answer the question explain how one would go about fixing the problem with that software. – zeel Feb 12 '14 at 15:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.