How to Recover a Formatted Hard Drive?

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Lost all your data after formatting your hard drive? Don't worry in this article we have explained various methods using which you can recover your data from your formatted hard drive. In case you are looking for a quick and safe way to recover your formatted hard drive, then download the Remo Recover tool to perform a hassle-free recovery.

User Query: How Can I Recover Data From A Hard Drive I Formatted?

Source: Reddit

Solution: In many cases, formatting a hard drive can resolve many problems. But, it also erases all of the data present on the hard drive. Sometimes you might end up formatting your hard drive accidentally and lost all your important data. This article explains when it is necessary to format your hard drive and how to recover data from a formatted hard drive using reliable, hassle-free methods.

Since formatting a hard drive can solve many problems on a computer, many users may tend to perform it as soon as they encounter some minor problems on their computer. But in reality, this way their data vanishes into thin air. Thus, most users will always feel unsure whether to format their hard drives or not. Practically, formatting is not always necessary. Below we have mentioned some probable situations when you can format your laptop hard drive.

Table Of Contents

What Does Formatting A Hard Drive Do?

1. Clean and Rebuild File System

When you format your hard drive, you choose the type of file system you want to use on your newly formatted hard drive, such as NTFS or exFAT. Formatting basically erases the disk information and changes the entire structure to store new data.

2. Improves Performace of the Device 

Improving device performance is one of the biggest benefits of formatting your hard drive. Formatting acts as a reset, returning your computer to how it was when you first bought it. But what makes formatting a hard drive so beneficial?

Formatting frees up disk space. A large amount of memory allows the device to access more memory and process commands more efficiently. Simply put, the more disk space you have, the faster your computer will be! Whether your computer is running slow or you're experiencing strange errors, formatting your drive can help.

Moreover, formatting your hard drive removes unnecessary or harmful content and frees up disk space. This includes malware and other viruses that your antivirus tool didn't warn you about and by removing unwanted data, viruses, and malware you ended up boosting the performance of your computer.

3. Erase the data

Will formatting the drive erase the data? Yes! In fact, the reason most people format their hard drives is to erase the contents of the device. If you don't need the information stored there, formatting makes it easy to clean it up with just a few taps.

When can you format your hard drive?

  1. For Removing Your Data
  2. When Your Computer Fails to Boot
  3. When Your Computer is Running very slowly.
  4. During the updation of an Operating System
  5. When Your Hard Drive Becomes Full
  6. Registry Errors
  7. Virus/Malware Attacks
  8. To Change Your File System
  9. To Erase The Partitions

Alert: Make sure you take a backup of your computer before formatting the drive.

Can I Recover Data From a Formatted Hard Drive?

Yes, you can recover data from a formatted hard drive. When you format a hard drive, the operating system can't reference the data that was on the disk anymore. But, if the specific drive sectors are not overwritten, you can recover your formatted external hard drive

Therefore, retrieving lost files from a formatted hard disk is still possible as long as your data is not overwritten. That’s why it is important to stop using your hard drive once you lose your files and try recovering them as soon as possible.

Methods to Recover Data from Formatted Hard Drive

Method 1: Recover Data From a Formatted Hard Drive On Windows (For Windows and Mac Users)

Method 2: Recover Formatted Hard Drive Using Windows File Recovery (For Windows Users)

Method 3: Recover Data From Formatted Hard Drive Using Backup (For Windows and Mac Users)

Method 1: Recover Data From Formatted Hard Disk On Windows

To safely recover formatted HDD on your windows computer make use of a professional data recovery tool like Remo Recover Windows.

Remo Recover is a trusted data recovery tool to recover data from the formatted hard drive. This tool works with advanced data recovery algorithms to scan and recover more than 500 file formats (like photos, raw images, videos, documents, etc) in simple clicks. Moreover, this hard drive recovery tool can also recover data from damaged, unrecognized, and unreadable drives and other storage devices like SSD, SD/Memory cards, etc.

"Remo recover has 4.5-star ratings and great reviews on trusted review platforms like Trustpilot." 

Source: Trustpilot

Download this tool for free on your Windows computer!!

Follow the below steps to start the recovery process from your formatted hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7:

  • Download and install Remo Recover software on your Windows computer. And make sure you don’t download the software on the same drive from where you want to recover data. This is to avoid overwriting files.
  • Select the formatted hard drive (NTFS, exFAT, FAT 32) from which you want to recover data and click on the Scan button.
  • Once the scan starts you can click on the Dynamic Recovery View to recover the lost file during the scanning process itself.
  • After the scanning process, you can see your lost data under the Lost and Found folder or Lost Partition folder.
  • You can double-click on any file to freely Preview the recovered files such as documents, PPTs, excel sheets, photos, videos, etc.
  • If you are satisfied with the recovery results, select the files which you want to restore and hit the Recover button to save them at your desired location.

Steps to Perform Formatted Hard Drive Recovery On Mac

To safely recover files from a formatted hard drive on your Mac computer all you have to do is download and install the Mac version of the computer which is Remo Recover Mac.

Remo Recover Mac is designed with a highly advanced drive scanning mechanism to produce fast, easy, secure, and complete data recovery results. It works on all versions of macOS including the latest Monterey. Moreover, this tool supports the recovery of formatted drives on various file systems like exFAT, APFS, HFS, and many more.

To Restore the Formatted Hard Drive on your macOS follow the below simple steps:

  • Download, install and launch Remo Recover Mac on your macOS computer. 
  • After launching the software from the home screen select the Recover Volumes or Drives options and from the next screen select the Formatted/Reformatted Recovery option.
  • From the listed drive select the formatted hard drive you want to recover and click on the Next button.
  • Now select Advanced Scan to start the scanning process.
  • If you want to recover a specific file type then select the file format you want to recover. This will avoid recovering unnecessary files. In case you want to recover all the files then click on the Mark All option and hit the Next button.
  • After scanning the entire Mac hard drive, Remo will segregate all the recovered files into the recovery window.
  • From the recovery window, you can select the files you want to recover and can save them in your desired location by clicking on the Save button.

Method 2: Recover Formatted Hard Drive Using Windows File Recovery

You can use Windows File Recovery to recover data from a hard drive with command lines for free:

  • Open the Microsoft Store, search and install Window File Recovery.
  • Launch Windows File Recovery, and use the syntax indicated below to start the process of recovering deleted files.
  • Use the basic command line that is: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/switches].

For example winfr C: D: /n \Users\Documents\test.Docx

  • Next, follow the on-screen instructions to recover data from the formatted hard drive.

Method 3: Recover Data From Formatted Hard Drive Using Backup

For macOS users: 

If you are a Mac user then you can make use of Time Machine. It is the easiest way to back up Mac which is developed by Apple. If you have taken a timely backup of your data using Time Machine, it’s very easy to restore all your data in case of data loss.

Follow the below steps to restore the formatted hard drive using the Time Machine application:

  • Connect the drive you’ve used for the Time Machine backup.
  • Open the folder where the missing files existed previously.
  • Open Time Machine > select Enter Time Machine.
  • Use the arrows to move the timeline to find the data backup for the lost item.
  • Hit the Restore button.
  • Try opening the recovered file to double-check if the data recovery went well.

For Windows users:

Follow the below steps to restore your formatted files from file history backup on a Windows computer:

Step 1: Type file history in the search box, and then you will see the Restore your files with File History option. Please select this option from the result list. 

Step 2: Click the left arrow or right arrow to find the latest file version and select the files you want to restore.

Step 3: Click the Green restore button to restore the selected files. If you want to restore your files to a different location, you can click the Settings icon -> the Restore to option to select a new path.



The article summarizes why you might need to format your hard drive and how you can recover your data from a formatted hard drive. If you have any further queries regarding the article, please make use of the comment section below. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you reformat a hard drive?

When a drive is formatted, all the data is removed, and space is made for new data and file systems. There are several different reasons for formatting a disk. You might be concerned about security, need to repurpose the hardware, or want to install a new file system on your device.

What happens if you cancel the format of a hard drive?

Canceling the format of a hard drive/USB flash drive will leave the target drive unformatted or RAW. Then, you still need to format the drive to its normal state.

What is the best file system when formatting a hard drive?

NTFS or the New Technology File System is the best and the default file system for Windows. It's the most secure, robust file system that a Windows user could wish for. This means it's the format of choice for system drives on Windows computers.

How to Recover Photos From a Formatted Hard Drive?

Step 1: Download, install, and launch the Remo Recover software on your computer.

Step 2: Now, Launch the software, select the formatted hard drive, and click on the Scan button.
Step 3: After completion of the scanning process, the recovered photos will be presented under the Lost and Found folder or Lost Partition folder.
Note: Use the Advanced Filter and select the file type as images to view all your pictures in one place.

Step 4: You can Preview the recovered photos for free to examine if your photos are recovered properly.

Step 5: If you are satisfied with the recovery results, select the photos which you want to restore and hit the Recover button to save them at your desired location.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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