Flash Drive Problem-Files gone

I have an 8GB flash drive I got from my college. Half of it is filled. I plugged it in this morning and all my files are gone. But under My Computer, it says 4.64 of 7.50 is free. What should I do?

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Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Be very careful and try not to do anything to erase the drive.

What type of computer was it in before? Have you tried it in another system or different USB ports?

If you look at it in disk management, what does it show as far as being initialized and what type of format?

I will get messages such as yours every once in a while, and it seems it normally involves a device that has been in another system.

It happened after I plugged it in to a XP laptop and then plugged it in to my regular laptop running Windows 7. Under disk management, it's an E drive with a FAT 32 format.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
It seems XP did something to the drive which is causing problems for Windows 7. I have a flash drive and will try a little later to see if I can duplicate.

Do you remember XP asking to do anything when you inserted the flash drive? Did you do a safe removal from XP? Can you read the files in XP?

You might look at the security settings on the drive and see who has access to it. Sharing settings might also be involved.

But we know Windows 7 reads FAT 32 formats just fine, so it is something else. Possibly a different user or some other restriction or change XP made.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Well, just tried it and did not seem to be a problem. The flash drive can be read in both XP and Windows 7

Was the version of XP an SP3 install?

Edit: Did you put any files on the drive from the XP computer? And the partition should not show as Active as mine does..I have changed it already.

Since I really can't suggest anything, perhaps you could open an Administrative Command prompt and type the following with enter after each:


List disk

sel disk 2
<-- This disk number should be whatever your flash drive is

detail disk

list Partition

sel par 1

detail par

You can check the info from the detail commands against what I show for my flash and see if you notice anything different.

When you are done, type exit to quit diskpart.


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