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How to Recover Deleted Files from the External Hard Drive For Free?

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    Summary: In this post, we’ve mentioned different ways to recover deleted files from external hard drive for free. However, the best way to recover deleted files from external hard drive for free is by using a data recovery software, such Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition.

    External hard drives are popular storage devices used to store documents, photos, videos, and other files. Due to their portable nature, these drives allow the users to carry huge amount of data from one place to another.

    However, sometimes, users lose files and other data from external hard drives due to accidentally deletion.

    In this post, we will be discussing different methods to recover deleted files from external hard drives and that too free of cost.

    How to Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive for Free?

    Here are some methods that you can use for free external hard drive recovery on Windows.

    Watch this video to recover your deleted files from all types of storage devices

    Note: In case of data deletion, stop using the external hard drive immediately to avoid overwriting.

    1. Recover deleted data using Stellar Data Recovery for Windows

    This is the most effective and easiest method to recover data from external hard drive for free.

    Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition software is an efficient and 100% secure DIY software for data recovery. Follow the steps below to recover your lost files/folders.

    Step 1: Download the Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition for Windows.

    Step 2: Install the software and launch it. Connect the external hard drive to your system (if not connected).

    Step 3: Select the type of data you want to recover from the user interface of the software and click ‘Next’.

    Select What to Recover

    Step 4: Select the external hard disk drive shown under the ‘Connected Drives’ section in the ‘Recover From’ screen.

    Select the Drive

    Step 5: Turn on the ‘Deep Scan’ toggle switch and click ‘Scan’.

    Select Deep Scan Option

    Step 6: A window showing scan progress would appear.

    Preview the Data

    Step 7: Once the scan process is complete, the ‘Scanning Completed Successfully!’ message will appear. Click ‘OK’.

    Scanning Completed Successfully

    Step 8: The software gives you an option to view your recovered files according to File Type, Tree View, or Deleted List.

    Step 9: From the Preview section in the right pane, select the files you wish to recover and click ‘Recover’.

    Select the file and Click on Recover Button

    Step 10: A message box saying, ‘This free version recovers only 1 GB of data’ appears. If you want to recover more than 1 GB data, click ‘Upgrade Now’. Otherwise, click ‘Upgrade Later’.

    Upgrade Now

    Step 11: Select the destination where you want to save the recovered files and click ‘Start Saving’.

    Start Saving

    Your files/folders will be saved at the designated destination.

    2. Recover deleted files using Command Prompt

    The Command Prompt or CMD allows you to give text commands to your system and connected devices.

    This is quite useful in the case of malware and virus attacks that affect the attributes of files stored on an external hard drive.

    For external hard drive recovery using command prompt, follow the steps below:

    Step 1: Connect the external hard disk drive to your computer system.

    Step 2: Press Windows + R to launch Run.

    Step 3: In the Run window, type ‘cmd’ and hit Enter or click OK.

    Step 4: Type the command ‘ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D X:*.*’ without inverted commas in the CMD window and press Enter.

    Type command on Command Prompt

    Note: Replace X with the letter of your external hard disk drive in the above command.

    Your lost data will be recovered once the cmd completes the process.

    3. Restore a previous version of deleted file

    Note: This method will only work if you’ve enabled the File History option before deleting the files.

    You can recover your deleted files by using the File History option on your system. To recover a file using this option, follow the steps below:

    Step 1: Locate the folder where your deleted files were saved.

    Step 2: Right-click the designated folder and select Properties.

    Right Click > Designed Folder > Select Properties

    Step 3: From the available versions, select the latest one.

    Step 4: Click the Restore button.

    Restore Previous Version

    To Wrap Up

    You can follow the above-mentioned methods to recover deleted files from external hard drive for free. If the File History option is enabled on your system, you can use it to restore the previous version of the deleted file.

    However, it is best to use a free data recovery software, such as Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition for Windows.

    This is a powerful software to recover deleted files from internal/external hard drives, pen drives, SSDs, SDs cards, etc.

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    About The Author

    Aruna Attri linkdin

    Aruna Attri is a Senior Data Recovery Expert at Stellar®. She is a technology blogger and Windows expert. She has experience in Windows data recovery domain. She loves to troubleshoot Windows issue and write technical tips and tutorials.


    1. Hi Aruna,
      I have followed the above-mentioned methods to recover deleted files from an external hard drive for free.Thanks for sharing this article.

    2. Losing data is always a horrible experience for anyone. I searched various data recovery software on the internet. Since I tried using your software, it helped me recover my data back. Thanks for the great results

    3. Hey, I have used Stellar Data Recovery software and recovered my files. I found it easy to use, really appreciated. But some file which I recovered were password protected and still asking for password. Any solutions to access these file.

      1. Hello Patricia,
        Stellar Windows Data Recovery Software recover all lost data and password protected files. But you should have password to access those file. Thanks.

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