My 12 year old deleted 2 years of school work from his Cruzer thumb drive – is there any way to restore these?
The first and probably most important step to data recovery is to freeze the drive in question. Don't write anything on it, quickly plug it out. Once you install any of the apps Tina suggested, plug the USB drive back in, then run the scan.
Deleted data isn't exactly removed from the disk. They're just rendered as free space so that the operating system can fill the space with new information. If the space previously occupied by the deleted data isn't replaced, you can technically recover it.
Cynthia and Ben,
there are several tools that can recover deleted files from a USB thumb drive. On MakeUseOf we have covered the following Windows tools:
PC Inspector File Recovery:
Handy Recovery: [broken link removed]
I made good experiences with PC Inspector. I used it to recover files on a SD card, but it also works on thumb drives.