How to Recover Files from a Formatted Hard Drive? A Comprehensive Guide

Formatting a hard drive becomes necessary to erase the operating system data from the disk and organize the available space for future use. Formatting the hard drive wipe cleans all the data from the drive, providing you with a clean disk. However, that does not mean you have lost all the data forever.

If you have accidentally formatted a hard drive or your system crashed and needed to be reformatted, all the stored data may not be lost as long as the sectors where the data was stored remain undamaged or uncorrupted. You can still recover files from a formatted hard drive with specialized software and if you have a backup of your data.

In this article, we will explore the methods to recover data from a formatted hard drive, and the best hard drive recovery software to help you get data back.

Part 1. Importance of Hard Drive Format

Most hard drive failures are caused by physical issues, but human errors are also responsible for data loss or corruption. For instance, if a hard drive is formatted without a backup, important data accumulated over time could be lost.  The following are some common reasons why hard drives require formatting.

1. Virus Attacks – Malware and viruses can cause serious issues with the hard drive. Formatting the hard drive will wipe out these malicious entities.

2. Problems When Accessing Files – When the hard drive is damaged or corrupted, you may be unable to access the files. Formatting can resolve these issues.

3. Corruption – Data corruption occurs when the hard drive is damaged or due to bad sectors. Formatting the hard drive eliminates these corrupted files and folders and restores the drive to its original situation.

4. Performance Issues – When the hard drive storage is at full capacity, in most circumstances, it slows down the whole system. Formatting the hard drive removes unwanted files and frees up space, ultimately improving performance.

5. File System Change – Formatting is required to change the file system from one type to another, such as FAT32 to NTFS.

Part 2. Can I Recover Data from a Formatted Hard Drive?

Yes, you can recover data from a formatted hard drive if it is still intact and the sectors that contain the stored data are still uncorrupted. However, remember that the more time passes after formatting, the less likely it will be to recover all your data successfully. Also, don’t save any new data on the formatted hard drive, as it will overwrite the existing data and make it impossible to recover.

Part 3. How To Recover Formatted Hard Drive Using Wondershare Recoverit?

Using data recovery tools like Wondershare Recoverit is an easy and effective method to recover files from a formatted hard drive.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on using Recoverit data recovery to recover data from a formatted hard drive:

Step-By-Step Guide to Recovering Data from A Formatted Hard Drive

Step 1. Download and launch the Wondershare Recoverit

Download and launch the Wondershare Recoverit software on your computer. It works on both Mac and Windows.

Step 2. Select the Location

The data recovery tool shows you a list of hard disk drives. Select the hard disk where you want to recover the data and click “Start” to proceed.

Step 3. Scan Computer Hard Disk Drive

Recoverit scans your selected computer hard drive to locate the deleted and corrupted data. As the software finds the files in the drive, it lists them in the scanned items menu.

Step 4. Preview and Recover Files from Hard Drive

After the scanning, check all recovered data and files. Recoverit lets users preview the recovered files like photos, videos and others. Select the files, and then click the “Recover” button to restore them.

A dialog box will open, prompting you to select the location where you want to restore the files. Select the desired location and click “Save.”  Your recovered files will be saved in your selected location.

Part 4. How To Recover Formatted Drive Without Software?

If you don’t want to use data recovery software for recovering data, you might still manually retrieve data from a formatted hard drive. These are:

1. Restore Your Data from Backup

This is the best way to restore data from a formatted hard drive.  If you have a recent backup, you can restore your lost data quickly.

2. Check the Recycle Bin

You may find some of your lost files in the recycle bin on Windows systems. Any file deleted without formatting will be stored here.

3. Restore Previous Versions

You can right-click on any file or folder and select the “Restore previous versions” option to restore an earlier version of that file or folder from a backup if available.

Part 5. How to Format Your Hard Drive Safely?

There are two ways to format your hard drive in Windows safety such as:

1. Format Hard Disk Drive In Windows Explorer

1. Go to “My Computer.”

2. Select the drive you wish to format, “right-click” on it and choose “format” from the drop-down menu.

3. The “format” dialogue box will open. You can choose the capacity size but keep it at the default size. You can also set up a file system for the drive that you want to be formatted.

4. Click on “Start.” You will be presented with a warming window asking if you are fully sure to format the disc. Click “ok,” and the formatting will begin.

2. Format The Hard Disk Drive In Windows Disk Management

1. Run “diskmgmt.msc” by clicking the Windows start icon.

2. The Disk Management windows will be displayed. Now right-click on the target partition and select “format” from the drop-down list.

3. A new window will open, asking you to specify the volume label, file system, and allocation unit size. We recommend you keep the default settings. Click “Ok” and confirm it by clicking “Ok.” The formatting will begin.


It’s standard practice to occasionally format your hard drives to free up space, remove unnecessary files, and eliminate viruses and other malicious programs on your computer. However, sometimes you’ll accidentally delete important data or your drive may become corrupted, and you need to recover those files. There are several methods to do this, but data recovery software like Wondershare Recoverit can help you recover data from a formatted hard drive quickly and reliably. But you also need to keep in mind, there is no guarantee that you can recover all the data from a formatted hard drive. So, make sure always to back up your important files regularly.

How to Recover Files from a Formatted Hard Drive? A Comprehensive Guide