Windows Data Recovery- Professional

How to Recover Data After Accidentally Formatting Hard Drive

Table of Content

    Summary: Data loss due to accidental drive formatting or deletion is common. It often occurs when users perform advanced drive operations such as deleting and rebuilding partitions, converting file systems or partition map, or selecting the wrong partition while installing Windows or any other operating system.

    However, data recovery after formatting a hard drive or SD cards and USB flash drives, is possible by using a data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Professional. The software recovers data from formatted (even re-formatted) drive partitions. And there is no other way to bring back formatted data from a storage media when the backup isn’t available.

    However, successful recovery of the formatted data depends on the ‘format option’ selected while formatting.

    For instance, if you ‘Quick Format’ a hard drive or other storage media with Windows built-in program, you can recover it intact, provided the storage media was not used after formatting. Meaning, you can recover up to 100 percent of the lost data, if you didn’t use the drive after formatting.

    Data Recovery after Formatting Hard Drive

    Hard drive formatting refers to two different types of actions. The first one is about preparing a hard drive to boot for data storage, which applies to new hard drives as they cannot be used in the RAW state. The second one is about deleting the overall contents of a hard drive at once.

    Formatting a hard drive overwrites the existing file system by erasing the Master File Table (MFT) that contains addresses of the data stored on the drive. But it doesn’t delete or remove any data from the drive. The data remains on the drive and can be recovered, unless it’s overwritten by new data. And that’s why you should never use a hard drive after data loss, as it may overwrite the lost data which then can’t be recovered.

    Figure: File System and OS

    Analogically, MFT is like a book index that lists down the chapters with a page number (address) where you will find the information (chapter). So, tearing off the index won’t delete the chapters. You can still find the chapters -by turning the pages- though it would be difficult.

    But, unlike books, you don’t have physical access to digitally stored information on the disk. Thus, you need a data recovery software to get back the data.

    So if you’ve accidentally formatted your drive, follow the below steps to get back your lost data.

    Steps to Recover Data after Formatting the Drive

    Recovering data from formatted partitions is not a cake walk. But it may be, if you have a professional data recovery software.

    Follow these steps and recover up to 100% formatted data from any Windows PC and supported storage media:

    1. Download and install Stellar Data Recovery Professional software.

    CAUTION: If the data is lost from Windows PC, don’t install the software on it. Instead, use a USB thumb drive for software installation. This is critically important to prevent overwriting.

    2. Connect the formatted drive to the system, if it’s external and then run the software.

    3. Select what files you wish to recover or simply click ‘All Data’ and click ‘Next.’

    4. Select the formatted drive volume from the ‘Connected Drives’ list and turn on the ‘Deep Scan’ toggle switch at the bottom left.

    5. Click ‘Scan’ and wait for the scan to finish.


    6. After the scan, the files are listed in the left Tree View pane. Click ‘File Type’ to sort the files according to their file type.

    7. Click on a file to see its preview and click the checkbox to select the file for recovery.

    8. After selecting the files, click ‘Recover’. A pop up appears.

    sdr pro

    9. Click ‘Browse’ and choose a Save location on an external drive if recovering from the internal drive and vice-versa.

    10. Finally, click ‘Start Saving’ to save the recovered formatted files at your desired location.


    Backup is the most reliable way to restore lost files and prevent permanent data loss due to formatting and other reasons. But when the backup isn’t available or is obsolete, use a professional formatted drive recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Professional for data recovery after formatting the drive.

    The software thoroughly scans each sector on the formatted hard drive to find traces of lost data, and recovers the maximum amount of data. It uses advanced file signatures based techniques to recover lost files from formatted, re-formatted, and severely corrupt hard drives.

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    About The Author

    Oliver Powell linkdin

    Oliver Powell is a Data Recovery Expert at Stellar®. He is a passionate technology blogger & content creator, He explores new applications and has deep understanding of data recovery. He has experience in Windows & Mac data recovery domain.


      1. Hello Lance,

        Yes, they are alarming. You need to immediately move your important data to another storage media. Once done, you may contact reliable data recovery service experts in your city.

    1. I have unintentionally formatted the drive of my system. Was having a huge stock of data inside it. But, want to recover it. So, I discussed this issue with one of my friends, and he suggests me to use the Stellar software. So, I immediately purchased the software on his recommendation and recovered my drive with the help of its partition recovery software. Thanks!

    2. I don’t have any intention to format my hard drive. But unfortunately, I did so. All my data has lost. I discussed this matter with my friend and found that the software of Stellar he has recommended me worked well for me. I have easily downloaded it and run on my formatted hard drive to recover my data. The result is – now, I have all my data with me. Thanks Stellar!

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