How to Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive After Formatting

No matter what the reason is, you should know how to recover deleted files from external hard drive after formatting in order to retrieve the lost data.


By Dervish / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Overview of recover deleted files from external hard drive

In today's digital age, data storage is an important aspect of our daily lives. We often rely on external hard drives to store and transfer large amounts of data, such as documents, photos, and videos. Unfortunately, these external hard drives are vulnerable to a variety of factors that can lead to data loss, including accidental deletion or formatting. There is no doubt that both accidental deletions and formatting can result in data loss, which can be devastating.

However, in many cases, the deleted or formatted data is not actually deleted from the external hard drive. It is still present on the hard drive, it is just inaccessible to the user. The old data does not disappear completely until new data overwrites its storage space. If no new data is written to the hard drive after a file loss, you can use a data recovery tool to retrieve the deleted or formatted data. Therefore, it is important to stop using the external hard drive immediately after data loss to increase the chances of data recovery.

In the following content, we will discuss how to recover deleted files from external hard drive after formatting.

How to recover deleted files from external hard drive for free

To recover deleted files, I recommend you choose a reliable data recovery tool and support file systems used by external hard drives to ensure a higher data recovery success rate.

Here, I recommend Windows File Recovery, a free command line tool from Microsoft for Windows 10 users that supports NTFS, FAT, exFAT, ReFS file systems. It is used to recover deleted files from local hard drives, external hard drives, and USB drives. You can refer to:

Step 1. Download Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft Store and run it as administrator.


Step 2. Type the following command to recover deleted files: winfr source-drive:destination-drive:[/mode][/switches].

Type Command

Step 3. Hit “Enter” and type in “Y” to start the scan.

Replace "source-drive" with the drive letter of the external hard drive or USB drive, and "destination-drive" with the path of the folder where you want to save the recovered files.
Windows File Recovery supports various [/mode] and [/switches] that you can use to customize the recovery process, click Command line syntax to learn more.
Wait for Windows File Recovery to complete the scan and recover any deleted files. The time it takes to recover files depends on the size of the drive and the number of deleted files.
It is important to note that attempting to recover data from an external hard drive without proper knowledge may result in further data loss or hard drive corruption.

[Easier] Alternative to recover formatted hard drive on Windows 10

As you can see, recovering deleted files via Windows File Recovery is not easy because you need to have the ability to type at the command prompt, which is a challenging task for the common user. So you can try a simpler tool to recover deleted files from external hard drive after formatting.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a full-featured disk partition management expert, its "Recover Data" feature supports recovering deleted or lost files on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It has the following advantages:

Recover lost data from HDD, SSD, USB drives, external hard drive, and other storage media at high speed & recovery rate; Recover 200+ Types of Data, including texts, photos, videos, audio, emails, etc.

Safe download, no malicious programs, and bundled software.

Provides a graphical user interface, so you can complete all tasks with a few clicks.

If you accidentally lose a partition on your external hard drive, it can also recover the lost partition for you.

Free Download Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Now, please connect the external hard drive to your PC to see how to recover deleted files from external hard drive after formatting.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, click "Recover" > "Recover Data".

Recover Data

Step 2. Select the external hard drive and click “Start Scan”.

Recover Windows Data

Step 3. When the scan is over, all deleted files will be listed. Please select the files you want to recover and click  “Recover File”.

Select Recover Data

Step 4. Then, select a path to save it.

Select Saved Path

Step 5. After that, click “OK” and exit it to find the files in the new path.



From the above discussion, you should have known how to recover deleted files from external hard drive after formatting.

Overall, data loss can be a frustrating experience, but by using the right tools and techniques, it is possible to recover deleted files from an external hard drive after formatting. When you lose data remember to stop using the hard drive immediately and then use AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to scan the drive, preview the deleted files, and recover them to a different location. By performing these steps, you can increase your chances of successfully recovering deleted files.

By the way, if you want to recover lost files or partitions on Windows Server devices, please switch to AOMEI Partition Assistant Server, designed for Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012(R2)/2008(R2)/2003 users.

Dervish · Staff Editor
Dervish is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; He is delicated to offering users easy and effecitve solutions for issuses related to disks and partitoins. In his spare time, he enjoy wathcning films, playing footable, traveling and so on.