How do I recover files from a drive that has been re-formatted?

Miguel Gutierrez May 5, 2013
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My mom’s external hard drive got formatted and now I’m trying to recover her files. I used various data recovery software suggested in another forum such as

iCare Data Recovery

It took my around three hours just to scan it and the results showed me that they have recovered files that are up to 17gb but these files are not the files of the hard drive. I got different file extensions such as

txt files
blf files
system files
zip files that I can’t open
shockwave flash files

It’s very frustrating already and I’ve been trying to recover the files for over a week. What more can I do?

  1. Julian Williams
    May 16, 2013 at 9:22 am

    It's tricky to recover files from Computer as we always use computer, while you use the computer, a lot of program is running which may write files to your hard drive without you know it.

    What I mean is that you may have to go to look into those files, and get those you want. You may filter them by extension.

    If you want to try more software, try them as soon as possible because longer you wait, more data will be written and rewritten.

  2. Tim Brookes
    May 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

    This should be simple provided you just formatted the drive and didn't write any data to it. Whenever you delete a file or format a file system that space is simply marked as "blank" which gives the drive permission to write over it. The data should all still be there, even if it's "deleted" though if you've begun writing to the drive then you'll have lost some data.

    I'd recommend using a program called PhotoRec, and if that doesn't work it has a bigger brother called TestDisk (which is a lot more powerful). Do a full scan with PhotoRec, but be aware you WILL lose file names (though the files should hopefully return) -

    I've documented a process here where I wrote an .ISO to the USB drive in question twice and was still able to recover everything. I wrote an MUO Article, here: //

    PhotoRec is easily the most effective data recovery tool I've come across, and it's free. If ever you need to recover whole partition tables, then TestDisk (its bigger brother) is the tool you will want.

  3. reha andrew
    May 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Hey! did you try any software by Stellar Data Recovery. Try it you will be able to recover your data.

  4. Mark Williams
    May 6, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Hi Miguel,

    You can also try

  5. Miguel Gutierrez
    May 5, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Alright then, I'll be trying your suggestions. I'll give you my feedback when I'm done. Thanks guys, this gives me some hope

  6. ha14
    May 5, 2013 at 7:55 am

    sometime freeware will not work so you have to go to shareware. Some free suggestions

    Pandora recovery

    TestDisk: undelete file for FAT

  7. Paul Pruitt
    May 5, 2013 at 3:56 am

    In answering another question one of the posters suggested: That's the free version. There is Pro version too that works faster but cost money.

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