Data recovery after formatting a hard drive is made possible thanks to the huge range of free and commercial tools available these days. In this post I’ll go through the steps involved in retrieving your documents, pointing out some of the setbacks/tips you should know about in order to ensure minimum data loss and maximum file retrieval.
Disk drives are formatted in order to reinstall the operating system as a last resort when the OS is faulty or when you want to make the computer startup faster. It is only after doing this that many users will discover they are missing files they needed. The use of free data recovery tools (e.g. Recuva/Undelete Plus) or commercial tools (e.g. Remo Undelete) can often help locate these files for you.
Here is the simplified data recovery after formatting process which applies no matter which type of tool you’re using:
- Install your new data recovery software onto the computer. Do not use the same drive that was formatted as doing so code overwrite lost information.
- Start up the program and select the formatted disk for analysis.
- When the scan starts it will initially look for signs of data clusters on the disk and assemble them back into your original documents.
- The scan report can be reviewed and your files copied back onto another partition on the computer or a separate external hard drive.
Different applications will be more successful at identifying clusters that can be pieced together so it is worth trying out a number of different freeware applications or using the free trial scans in commercial products to see which works best.
If you are attempting to data recovery after formatting a disk months previously, then there is a reduced chance of finding your files. Continued usage of the system will have been storing new documents onto the hard drive memory which gradually overwrites your original files.