By Bryce / Last Updated April 10, 2020

Deleted files reappear on USB flash drive

“I want to remove some files from my 32GB USB flash drive to regain free space. After inserting it to my Windows 10 computer, I choose the files need to be deleted and press Ctrl+ D to delete these files. These files disappear but I find that this drive is still almost full. When I open this drive in Windows Explorer again, I see the deleted files reappear. Then, I delete them again but the result is the same. Why these deleted files reappear? How can I resolve such a vexing problem?”

How to fix “deleted files just keep coming back” issue?

Deleted files on flash drive just keep coming back can be related with write protection for this flash drive. To remove files and folders from USB flash drive successfully, it is necessary to change USB flash drive from read only to normal status at first.

Put write protection tab on Unlock position

Check your flash drive; if there is a physical write protection tab, make sure that it is slid up to unlock position. If it is in the position to enable write protection, you will be unable to make any write operation (file deletion included) to it.

Clear read-only attributes with Diskpart

If deleted files and folders on USB flash drive keeps coming back has nothing to do with physical write protection tab, you can consider disabling read-only attributes for it with Diskpart utility. Below are detailed steps:

1. Press Windows key and R key simultaneously to launch Run dialogue.

2. In this box, input diskpart and click OK.

3. In diskpart window, run the commands as follows:

  • list disk

  • select disk n, “n” is the disk number of the flash drive

  • attributes disk clear readonly

Clear Readonly

After that, you can type exit and press Enter to close this window.

Disable write protection in Registry Editor

If files on flash drive still reappear after deletion, you can open Registry Editor to disable write protection through following steps:

1. Open Run box, type regedit and click OK to access Registry Editor.

2. Go to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies

3. Double click WriteProtect and set the Value data to 0.

Value

Disable write protection in Registry Editor

When the three solutions aforementioned are not working, probably you can clean this flash drive in Diskpart utility to solve problem.

Warning: Running Diskpart clean command will erases all data on the flash drive, thus you should copy wanted files to another place in advance.

In diskpart window, input commands as follows and hit Enter after every command.

  • list disk

  • select disk n

  • clean

  • create partition primary

  • format fs=ntfs quick

Tips:

  • You can replace fs=ntfs with fs=exfat or fs=fat32, if you want to format flash drive with exFAT or FAT32 file system.

  • You can replace fs=ntfs with fs=exfat or fs=fat32, if you want to format flash drive with exFAT or FAT32 file system.

Format flash drive with third party GUI format tool

If you are unfamiliar with Diskpart and afraid of cleaning wrong disk, you can employ a 3rd party format tool, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard to format flash drive, when you encounter deleted files on flash drive just keep coming back problem. This format tool is free yet powerful, which can format USB flash drive, SD card and hard drive to exFAT, FAT32, NTFS, Ex2, Ext3 or Ext4 and format drive larger than 32GB with FAT32.

Warning: Formatting will clean all data and you can back up necessary files in advance.

Free download it and have a look at how to format flash drive from which you can’t delete files.

1. Install and fire up it. In its main console, right-click the partition on flash drive and choose Format Partition.

Format exFAT Partition 30GB

2. Among listed file systems, choose one base on your specific demand and click OK. Here I choose FAT32.

Select File System of 30GB USB

3. Returning to the main interface, click Apply and Proceed to commit operation.

Notes:

  • AOMEI Partition Assitant Standard can work with Windows 10/8.1/8/7, XP and Vista.

  • You can enjoy more advanced features, like recovering deleted partition on SD card if you upgrade to Professional version.