Accidentally Formatted Hard Drive? Recover Files From Hard Drive Now

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Accidentally formatted hard drive and lost important data? Read this article and learn how to recover files form formatted hard drive now. For whatever purpose you format a hard drive, all files on the drive will be removed. Disk formatting is one of the common reasons behind hard drive data loss issues. Fortunately, in most situations, formatted hard drive is quite easy to accomplish. In this page, you will find three methods that can help you recover data from accidentally formatted hard drives in Windows 10/8/7.

DiskGenius - Safely recover data from formatted, corrupted, crashed or RAW hard drives in Windows 10.

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Table of Contents

Accidentally formatted hard drive? Can I unformat hard drive?

Formatted hard drive overview

Quite simply, formatting means the process of clearing all data from selected drive, repairing errors for file system and changing file system type. Some user formats hard drive on purpose, and yet some formats by accident. Formatting a wrong drive will be a pathetic situation, because you will have to face data loss issue, for instance:

Case 1: "I formatted the secondary hard drive on my PC just an hour ago. I was trying to create a bootable USB using Windows 10 media creation tool, and I should have selected the USB flash drive instead of the hard drive. Now there is only a 32GB ESD-USB partition and unallocated space on the hard drive. Is there any way to unformat the hard drive and restore lost files?"

Case 2: "I tied to dual boot computer with Windows 10 and Ubuntu and wanted to install Ubuntu. However, when I was installing Ubuntu, entire hard drive got formatted instead of certain partition. Now Ubuntu was installed successfully, but the whole hard drive was formatted. Someone please help me restore lost and formatted partitions."

For all we know, formatting is one of the common actions we might do every day, and it is really easy to format any drive except C drive in Windows 10. For whatever reason you format hard drive, you will end up with a drive that contain free disk space only. If you are not concerned with lost files, you can continue using the hard drive.

Is it possible to recover formatted hard drive in Windows 10?

Delightfully, the answer is YES. In most cases, recovering formatting hard drive is available in Windows10/8/7 and Servers. Let's take a quick look at what happens when formatting a hard drive. When you format a drive, Windows performs a quick format which can finishes formatting rapidly. The quick format removes and creates new filesystem. All storage devices should be formatted to some type of file system such as NTFS, EXT4, otherwise operating system will find no way to locate stored data. Since formatting process removes original file system, Windows won't be able to access files that are recorded in the removed file system. In fact, lost files remain on hard drive being invisible to users. As long as the disk space is not occupied (overwritten) again by other files, formatted files are recoverable. In Short, lost files caused by a quick format are recoverable until they are overwritten.

How to recover files from accidentally formatted hard drive in Windows 10?

Nobody wants to go through complicated steps when recovering files from accidentally formatted hard drive. The good news is that methods discussed here can be completed via simple steps. Moreover, format recovery software chosen in this part is powerful and easy-to-use. So you can rest assured to continue reading and learning how to unformat hard drive.

Formatted hard drive recovery software free download

DiskGenius is multipurpose software and its data recovery functions are all-sided and effective. It is the best option to recover hard drives which is formatted, reformatted, corrupted or RAW, and the HDD recovery supports NTFS, exFAT, FAT32, FAT16, EXT4, EXT3 and EXT2 file system. DiskGenius can recognize all types of hard drive interfaces such as SATA, ATA, SCSI, PATA, IDE, SAS, USB2.0. USB3.0, etc. Continuously optimized algorithm ensures excellent recovery result and user experience. More features:

  • Apart from recovering formatted hard disk, it is also capable of recovering formatted partition for external hard drive, virtual disk, USB flash drive, SD card, Windows Storage Space, RAID, dynamic disk, etc.
  • Recover files from RAW hard drive quickly without scanning the entire partition, and files are recovered with original names and paths.
  • Recover deleted or lost partitions on the same hard drive, and there no need to copy found files to another hard drive.
  • The registered edition supports to create images for hard drives with bad sectors, after which you can recover files from image instead of the damaged hard drive.
  • The free edition supports to create boot USB drive which helps to recover data from crashed internal hard drives of laptop and desktop.
  • File preview is available for the trial edition. With the trial edition, you can search for and preview lost files before purchasing and registering the software.

Steps to recover accidentally formatted hard drive using hard drive recovery software

Step 1. Stop using the formatted hard disk.

As previously mentioned, formatting does not permanently wipe data from hard drive, and yet operations done to the hard drive after formatting might overwrite lost files. Hence you should stop using the disk and do not make any changes before you successfully unformat hard drive.

Step 2. Free download and install DiskGenius on your computer.

DiskGenius is available for both home and business users who want to recover formatted hard disk. With the unregistered edition, you can search for lost files and preview them to make sure if files can be recovered normally. Again, make sure the software is installed on a difference drive.

Step 3. Start DiskGenius > select the formatted drive > click File Recovery button > click Start button on the appeared window.

In DiskGenius, you can see all disks and partitions listed on the left pane. It's easy to locate the formatted drive you want to recover. If the hard drive does not show up in DiskGenius, check if it is properly connected to your computer.

Accidentally formatted hard drive

DiskGenius is scanning the formatted drive to search for lost data. The scanning make take quite a while if the drive has very large capacity, and you can view the scanning speed and estimated time on the dialogue. Just wait for the process to complete.

Accidentally formatted hard drive

Step 4. Preview and examine recoverable data.

After scanning process finishes, all recoverable files will be displayed in the software, and you can preview and examine whether they are correct. Photos, videos, PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Text and audio files can be opened by double clicking, which helps to check if files are recoverable. If you are not satisfied with the scanning result, please contact tech support who will analyze causes and check if there is possibility to improve the recovery.

Accidentally formatted hard drive

Step 5. Recover files you want.

Simple select files and folders you want to recover > right-click selected data > choose Copy To > set a target location on other drives > start copying files > view recovered files after file copy completes.

Accidentally formatted hard drive

Other methods of recovering files from accidentally formatted hard disk

Recover hard drive data from backups

Another way to recover accidentally hard disk is restoring data from backups which were created before the formatting. Disk or partition formatting removes all files, and yet backups help you get out of data loss troubles. The importance of backing up data regularly is vividly demonstrated when you accidentally delete files or format hard disk. Restoring data from backups works much better than any hard drive recovery software, and here is a brief process to recover hard drive files from backups:

Step 1: Look for the correct backups for the formatted disk. The backup might be an image file created by third-party software, or an identical copy of files that are stored on another disk or cloud drives.

Step 2: Search for wanted files from backups and copy them to your hard disk. When the process finishes, file recovery is done.

Hard drive data recovery services

In addition to using hard drive recovery software, you can also seek help from data recovery technicians. As to complicated data loss issues, such as RAID data recovery, technicians are more experienced and skilled, making sure you get the best data recovery result. In most cases, the recovery task can be carried via remote assistance. That means you do not have to take your hard drive to the recovery center. DiskGenius support team provides data recovery services via network and provides free diagnose and analysis.

FAQs on unformatting HDD

1. Can a formatted hard drive be recovered?

A formatted hard drive can be recovered if it meets all following conditions:

  • The hard drive is formatted via quick format instead of a full format.
  • Files are not totally overwritten after the formatting.
  • The formatted hard drive is not SMR (shingled magnetic recording) hard drive.

2. How do I recover an accidentally formatted drive?

First, you need to pick up a data recovery program in order to recover accidentally formatted hard drive. Here we recommend DiskGenius which supports to unformat hard drive, external HDD, USB flash drive, SD card, Windows Storage Spaces, etc. Here is the step-by-step guide: How to recover accidentally formatted drive in Windows 10/8/7?

3. Can data be recovered after overwriting?

No. It is out of the questions to recover files which have been overwritten. But, if the file is partly overwritten, for example, only the file entry gets overwritten, and the file data part remains unaffected. Then there is chance to recover the file by type via a deep scanning. It is uncertain whether a file is totally overwritten until you try the recovery. So, it is still worth trying data recovery even though you are aware of data overwrite.

4. Can you undo a formatted hard drive?

Files will be lost after formatting a hard drive, and Windows cannot undo a quick format. To unformat a hard drive, you can try recovering files from formatted hard drive with the help of hard drive recovery software such as DiskGenius. As long as original directory structures are not damaged and files are not overwritten, you can restore formatted hard drive data successfully.

5. Can a dead hard drive be recovered?

Yes. Data recovery from a dead hard drive is possible, but it should be done by experts using professional machines and labs. A physically broken hard drive can not be recovered by third-party recovery software. The price of recovering a dead hard drive is usually very high.

6. How do I fix a formatted hard drive?

When a hard drive reports "You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it. Do you want to format it?", the first step is to recover or back up important files before trying any fixes. The best solution to fix an unformatted hard drive is formatting it in Windows, after which it will be accessible again.

7. How to recover data from formatted external hard disk free of charge?

Steps to recover formatted external HDD for free:

Step 1: Download and install Eassos Recovery Free on a Windows PC.

Step 2: Attach the formatted external hard disk to this computer as well.

Step 3: Select Recover Files From Partition recovery mode from main interface, and run a full scanning for the formatted external HDD.

Step 4: View lost files and copy them to another drive.


After reading instructions above, you should have a good command of recovering accidentally formatted hard drives. Hard drive recovery software and backups are the recommended solutions to deal with formatted drives. Operations done after formatting make a big difference to data recovery result, so, it is vital to avoid data overwrite to achieve a successful format recovery. If you are uncertain whether DiskGenius can unformat your hard drive, you can either use the trial version first or contact technical support team.

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