Can I reformat an external hard drive without losing everything on it?

me November 7, 2012
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My computer is saying the hard drive needs to be reformatted and it is not showing up on any other computer that I have tried it on.

  1. Meeth Jain
    December 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

    you can format the drive and then use a data recovery tool like easeus data recovery wizard...
    one of my external drive partition was corrupted, used the recovery software and got back all the data...

  2. Marc Carrion
    November 9, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Reformatting it means you will lose it. Like others said, after you reformat there are tools you can use to recover the data. Hope it works out well!

  3. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    November 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    You can't. Formatting a drive means erasing every bits of data you have in it. To put it simply:wipeout. Recovery software could do good job recovering deleted files, but formatted drive is more tricky. You might not be able to salvage anything depending on your luck.

  4. michel jon
    November 8, 2012 at 10:22 am
  5. Dimal Chandrasiri
    November 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

    if you format a device, you'll lose all data. if the device malfunctions, use another pc to check it. if it persists, ask the manufacturer to replace it, and ask them to backup the data first!

  6. Jim Chambers
    November 8, 2012 at 3:19 am

    If the drive is in 500GB to 2TB range recovering data after formating would be a very long and frustrating process with no guaranty of success. Plus you would have to purchase the recovery software as most free programs are demoware that only recovers a very limited amount of data

  7. Alex Perkins
    November 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Formatting the drive will erase all the information on it, there are different standards of course so a quick format would leave the data there until it was overwritten by new data by saying that it's space is available, but if it's not overwritten then a file recovery program might be able to recover most of the data.

  8. Naveen Kumar
    November 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    no you will loose formatting means it will erase it. there are tools available which lets you to recover the lost data

  9. HonYin Kok
    November 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    The answer is probably there is nothing wrong with your external drive and it does not need to be formatted.

    One reason I could think of for prompting you to format the disk is your laptop went to sleep (conserve battery) and there could be some race condition that confuse the OS thinking the disk is inconsistent/bad. Check to see if you can tweak your power settings in control panel to keep your usb port up and you should be fine. If you are in doubt, run scandisk or chkdsk on your external drive to verify everything is consistent.

    Formatting will virtually destroy any data you currently have on your external disk. Hope this helps.

  10. Douglas Mutay
    November 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    No, you can't reformating a HDD means you destroy the data in it. The good news is that once you drive is now accessible by your OS you still can use free tool to recover your lost data. Good luck!

  11. Harshal Warkhede
    November 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    try partition manager or hard disk manager to detect and solve the problem.

  12. ha14
    November 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    there are tools that do try to recover files after format but results depends on situations.

    How do I recover the files from formatted hard drives?
    http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/recover-formatted-partition.htm

    How to Scan a Reformatted Hard Drive to Recover Files
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-scan-reformatted-hard-drive-to-recover-files/

    How to recover files and folders from formatted or reformatted hard drive?
    http://www.uneraser.com/quest12.htm

  13. Anonymous
    November 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Reformatting a drive is a destructive operation. The act of reformatting a hard drive wipes out the index information on the drive so all filenames, first sector information, date created/modified/accessed data, file size, file attributes, etc are all removed from the drive at a minimum (quick format). A full format will wipe out even more information and a low-level format (performed at the factory on current drives) wipes out everything in every sector as well as checking for bad sectors and rewriting the bad sector list. So if you reformat the drive, you will lose its current contents.

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