Can You Recover Data from a Formatted Hard Drive?
The fallout from a crashed
hard drive can range from a minor frustration to a complete nightmare.
But don't despair. There's a good chance that your final paper,
treasured family photo, or sensitive financial document is completely
recoverable. Whether you choose to enlist the help of a professional or
save the money and go at it yourself, these
hard drive failure recovery
tips will help increase your chances of getting back those crucial
Step # 1: Stop using your drive
When you format your hard
drive, you create a new file system for your data. This means that meta
data for all your files before formatting have been deleted. Most or
all of your files are still on the disk at this point, but the record
of their location has been deleted. Data recovery software can help you
find the data without the location records. However, the more you use
your computer, the more data you overwrite, thus the greater chances of
your data becoming unrecoverable.
Step # 2: Choose data recovery software
The Internet is
overflowing with easy to download
data recovery software. With a quick
search, you'll find everything from free basic software to pricey
professional software. Free software can be effective, but isn't always
quite as stable or user-friendly as some of the mid-range priced
Step # 3: Download data recovery software
During the download step,
you'll need to use another computer to download your data
recovery software. You can then burn the software onto a CD or DVD
or transfer it to a flash drive to use in recovery. Since you've
formatted your hard drive, it's unusable unless you've installed a new operating
system, something I don't recommend during data recovery.
Remember, writing anything
to your hard drive can damage your data. However, if you have already
done this, hope is not lost, especially if you have a large drive -
your files may or may not have been overwritten.
If you've installed a new
operating system on your formatted drive, don't boot into it. Instead,
look for a portable or bootable version of your data recovery software.
This will let you start your computer without using your system disk.
Step # 4: Run your data recovery software
Good data recovery
software will give you step by step instructions to follow as it scans
your computer for your missing files. Just follow the instructions and
wait for your scan to complete. Once it's done, a list of recoverable
files should appear.
Step # 5: Download recovered files to another drive
Most data recovery
software allows you to choose between recovering some or all of the
files it finds. Make your selections and download your files to another
drive. You don't want to download them to your formatted drive as you
could overwrite some of your freshly discovered files. Remember: Even
though you can now see the files your data recovery software found,
your computer still sees them as "free space" ready to be overwritten.
Step # 6: Evaluate the recovery process, then
celebrate or seek additional help
So, did you recover the
files you were looking for? If yes, great, back them up on another
drive and you're all done! If you didn't recover your data, don't panic
just yet you can still seek professional help. Data recovery
software is great, but isn't perfect. If the data you've lost is
precious, it might be worth it to enlist the help of a data recovery
specialist who can search for your files in more ways.