Data Recovery from a Formatted Hard Drive

It happens to loads of us – playing around in your PC or Mac’s settings, and accidentally formatting a drive. But is data recovery possible in these scenarios? There’s no easy answer really – but here are some tips.

You must format a hard disk drive before you can use it; formatting erases all bookkeeping information on the disk, and tests the disk to make sure that all the sectors are reliable, then creates internal address tables that are used to locate information. When you format a disk, the data isn’t actually erased, only the data on the address tables is. So if you do accidentally format a drive, don’t panic – data recovery might still be viable.

The most important thing to remember if you want data recovery to be successful is not to write any data to the formatted hard drive; if you overwrite it to the location of the data you want to recover, you’ll render the data recovery impossible. Your best bet is to disconnect your hard drive from your machine as soon as you’ve realised your mistake - data may still be written to the drive without you realising.

There are several tools you can use for data recovery in this instance, but we’d recommend trying EaseUS Data Recovery first. Upon launching the data recovery program, select the disk you want to recover data from, followed by the ‘Scan’ button. EaseUS will quickly scan your disk, let you know if data recovery is possible, and present you with a list of recoverable files. It will then run a second, deeper scan (that will take a little longer) to find more lost data. When the scan is over, it will provide a list of files that are recoverable from your hard disk. Click the ‘Recover’ button, and browse for a folder to save the files to.

When you format a hard drive using a PC, it’s what’s known as high-level formatting, also known as logical formatting. This is required to initialise a drive so that it can be used to store data on, to kill a virus that has infected it or to change the file system/drive size. Low-level formatting is performed by hard drive manufacturers before the devices leave the factory. Data recovery from a hard disk that has been through a low-level partition can be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Data Recovery Specialists can help you if you don’t have any luck using free data recovery software like EaseUS – our data recovery technicians see this problem all the time. Get in touch now for a free data recovery diagnosis, quote and file listing