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How do I recover a formatted external drive? Login/Join 
Knowing is Half the Battle
Picture of Scuba Steve Sig
posted
Sometimes you have those days where your cat throws up in your bed, you get a thorn in your finger and YOU ACCIDENTALLY FORMAT A MULTI TERABYTE EXTERNAL DRIVE... I am not 100% of what all data I had on there that wasn't duplicated elsewhere. I was intending to format a 32GB memory card and I guess that isn't what my fingers did. I have not moved any files to it after this happened. It has been unplugged from my laptop though.

From what I read, there is software that will recover it. As long as you don't write more data on to the hard drive, the data is still there, just not able to be indexed via your operating system. I have Windows 10. What do the IT experts of SF recommend?
 
Posts: 2310 | Location: Iowa by way of Missouri | Registered: July 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
For real?
Picture of Chowser
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Someone way more knowledgeable should be along but I have always had success with EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard.



Not minority enough!
 
Posts: 7492 | Location: Cleveland, OH | Registered: August 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Knowing is Half the Battle
Picture of Scuba Steve Sig
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quote:
Originally posted by Chowser:
Someone way more knowledgeable should be along but I have always had success with EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard.


That's what my Googlefu was coming up with. I didn't want to end up getting locked into a business relationship with a Nigerian prince though so good to hear that might be a viable option.
 
Posts: 2310 | Location: Iowa by way of Missouri | Registered: July 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
Picture of parabellum
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Just restore the data from one of the other two copies you have of that drive.

You do have other copies, right?
 
Posts: 98567 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
McNoob
Picture of xantom
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I've used this with success in the past.

https://www.ccleaner.com/recuva




"We've done four already, but now we're steady..."
 
Posts: 1489 | Location: MN | Registered: November 20, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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Posting here so I can monitor this thread. We have an on old external hard drive with family photos. Some idiot, me, accidentally formatted it trying to help the kids play some game. It’s been sitting in my closet for years. The same idiot didn’t have a backup.
 
Posts: 566 | Location: Tyler | Registered: October 22, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
Picture of parabellum
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Three copies, one of which- if practical- is stored at a different location.

I'm going to preach this every time one of these threads comes up.
 
Posts: 98567 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Knowing is Half the Battle
Picture of Scuba Steve Sig
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quote:
Originally posted by parabellum:
Just restore the data from one of the other two copies you have of that drive.

You do have other copies, right?


Much of the data is replicated across other laptops and desktops and external drives, but I don't remember what all was on there. It was a backup itself with the exception of LOTS of trail cam pics and videos of minimal importance in the grand scheme of things. When memory is so cheap, you end up hoarding stuff you will likely never look at again.

I never was good at being the Chairman Director Leader of the Office Department of Redundancy Backup Duplication.

Also....a 5TB external drive formats just as fast as a 32GB memory card. Who would have thunk it?
 
Posts: 2310 | Location: Iowa by way of Missouri | Registered: July 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of maladat
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quote:
Originally posted by Scuba Steve Sig:
Also....a 5TB external drive formats just as fast as a 32GB memory card. Who would have thunk it?


Well, the good news is, no, it doesn’t - so if it did, you’ve got a good chance of getting your data back.

ACTUALLY formatting a drive entails writing over all the data on the drive. This takes, in technical terms, fucking forever.

A standard hard drive will write about 100 MB per second and 5 TB is 5,000,000 MB. This works out to about 14 hours.

So virtually everything, virtually all the time, does a “quick format.”

A quick format doesn’t touch most of the data on the drive, it just deletes the table that describes how data is organized on the drive and writes a new one.

The data is still THERE… the computer just doesn’t know where to look for it anymore and will happily write over it with new data.

Sometimes, recovery software can fix the table back the way it was - essentially, un-quick-format it. Other times, instead of being able to use a handy table that tells the computer where all the files are, the recovery software will just laboriously read the entire drive and look for the actual file data.

Either way, after a quick format, you SHOULD be able to easily recover all or virtually all of the data, as long as you haven’t done anything else with the drive in the meantime.

The previously mentioned EaseUS and Recuva are both good and have been around a long time.
 
Posts: 6124 | Location: CA | Registered: January 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Caught in a loop
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Stop using it. Keep it off any of your computers until you have a battle plan. Unless you do a DOD wipe (wipe, overwrite x7) then what actually happened is that your drive just released that space to be rewritten. To minimize data loss we want to overwrite as little as possible.

I've used Acronis, Recuva, and a bunch of other stuff. Recuva has actually saved my butt more than once.

Connect the drive and run the app. Let it do its thing, and see what the scan finds. Select your target drive (protip: don't recover to and from the same drive at the same time) and let it save.

Now buy a second external drive and duplicate the existing drive to the new one.

Edit: maladat and I were thinking the same thing.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 3112 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Knowing is Half the Battle
Picture of Scuba Steve Sig
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Thanks everyone. Yes, it was just a quick format. I'll try it trying to recover one of the memory cards to learn the ropes and then move on to the external drive this weekend or next week.
 
Posts: 2310 | Location: Iowa by way of Missouri | Registered: July 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
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I recently went through this very thing. Accidentally formatted both the internal and external backup drive, even though I was being careful, youknowwhat happens (long sad story).

I initially decided to just let a professional recover the data. Cost about $500. Got a lot of files back, but not all. Also had to pick through well over 100k files one-by-one.

But what really saved me, is I did find a tertiary backup. I knew I had it, but thought it didn't have all the files. Lucky for me, it did, except for the past couple years, which I reconstructed manually easily enough. So, Para is totally right about this one.

Good luck, my friend!



ACCU-STRUT FOR MINI-14
"First, Eyes."
 
Posts: 14856 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good idea backing up numerous times. I do so on external hard drives, discs and other computers ... specifically the data that matters.


________________________
"Be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others - Even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons - they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." ~ Desiderata
 
Posts: 2805 | Location: PNW | Registered: November 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Knowing is Half the Battle
Picture of Scuba Steve Sig
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I went with EaseUS and did a test run on a SD card I had, it recovered the most recent data, and some data before that, 2 or 3 quick formats ago that hadn't been written over. I bought TWO new 5TB drives, one to recover this one to. Started the scan, it predicted 19hrs, I cut it off at 18hrs because it said it was 65% done then and was around 4.05 TB and wasn't going anyway where. I started recovering the 158,048 files, 2.84TB. As I watch how fast this isn't going, it MIGHT be done by Friday.

Lesson learned Para...thanks everyone for the recommendations. I presume at the end of this I will have 158,048 random files no longer sorted by files and subfiles leaving me with only being able to sort by size and type.
 
Posts: 2310 | Location: Iowa by way of Missouri | Registered: July 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you leave that drive connected most of the time, it's probably a good idea to change the volume name so you don't do this again.
Go to 'ThisPC', right click on the drive, choose 'properties', then under the general tab, there will be a box you can type a name like 'don't format me dummy' not sure there is enough characters for that, but you get the idea.

Recovering a drive isn't going to be fast & it won't be linear in progress. You might have really had an hour left if the rest of the drive was mostly empty (probably not if the rest of the sectors had been used before & deleted). If you want the data back, stop dicking around with it & let it run however long it takes. set the laptop not to go to sleep, start the program & walk away. check it 24hrs later. If it's not done, check it the next day. rinse & repeat.

4TB rebuild can take 30hrs on UnRAID, so 19hrs for a dedicated USB drive to be re-tabled doesn't sound that far off.
If you have multiple-TB of data, consider NAS - destructive 'oops' are more than 1 right-click away & you can have parity-protection* fairly cheap.
*parity uses N+1 drives to protect from drive failure. If you have 2x 5TB drives, you can add 1 more and have almost a duplicate. I have 3x 6TB drives in my home UnRAID server. It lists 12TB of storage & if one drive croaks, all the data is still available while I replace that drive. If 2 die, then I lose data, but the chances of that are pretty slim. I also have off-site backup for that risk and/or theft/fire/flood/etc.
 
Posts: 3111 | Location: IN | Registered: January 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
eh-TEE-oh-clez
Picture of Aeteocles
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quote:
Originally posted by parabellum:
Three copies, one of which- if practical- is stored at a different location.

I'm going to preach this every time one of these threads comes up.


Yes, The 3-2-1 rule.

Three copies. Two versions/formats/storage medias. 1 in a separate location.
 
Posts: 12735 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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