Best Ways to Recover Formatted Hard Drive

Computer storage is one of the areas that most users are comfortable with. Windows gives users all of the tools they need to create a folder structure that suits their needs and even creates folders by default such as Pictures, Videos, and Documents so that people can start managing their files as simply as possible. Where Windows lacks is the features to recover formatted hard drive files. There are a couple of built-in tools that help with this but for the most part, users have to find out how to recover files by themselves. Thankfully, we’re here to help.

“Why is my hard drive formatted?”

Generally speaking, your hard drive won’t format without a good reason. Sometimes the reason is negative, but it isn’t something that spontaneously happens. Below are a few of the reasons for this occurrence.

  • -Malware or virus infection. If you download a file that has a virus embedded in it or you fall victim to malware, it may be programmed to format your hard drive. A common situation is viruses that prompt you to enter credit card details to remove the virus and if you don’t do so, it formats your hard drive.
  • -Hardware damage. Plenty of things can cause hardware damage. Laptops that are dropped or moved around a lot can be vulnerable to hard drive damage, or simple over-use of your computer for several years can too. Regardless, this can cause the hard drive to appear formatted even though it isn’t.
  • -Windows factory reset. Some people will do a Windows factory reset to improve their computer’s performance but what they don’t realise is that this wipes the primary storage device. If you had Windows installed on the formatted hard drive and performed a factory reset, this is why your data is gone.

You get the idea – this isn’t a random event. Although it’s useful to know why your hard drive is formatted it isn’t necessary since all of the solutions we’re going to be explaining are dynamic and will let you recover formatted hard drive data no matter the reason.

Top Hard Drive Recovery Solution – StarzSoft Data Recovery

Your best bet is to use a well-known, reputable, and reliable data recovery solution like StarzSoft Data Recovery which is renowned for its high success rate. Not only is this the most likely option that will get your data back but it includes all of these features:

  • -Highly effective at data recovery for hard drives, memory sticks, SD cards, and any external storage devices
  • -Compatible with almost every file format including JPEG, DOC, MP4, PDF, and over 1000 others
  • -Utilizes a user-friendly interface and a quick 3-step process
  • -Scans can be run on entire drives or specific folders to reduce scan time
  • -All data can be previewed before it is recovered
  • -Available as a free trial (and with affordable licenses for the full version)

There is a lot that could be said about StarzSoft Data Recovery but the best way to get a great understanding of what this tool can do for you is to use it yourself. Whether it’s with the free download or the full version, that’s the best way to see how effective this data recovery tool truly is.

Guide to Using StarzSoft Data Recovery

For any readers who aren’t able to install StarzSoft Data Recovery on their current computer or who are reading from a mobile phone, we’ve included a step-by-step guide below to demonstrate how the software works.

Step #1 – First, download and install StarzSoft Data Recovery on your computer. After the installation is complete, launch the program.
Step #2 – You’ll be taken to the main menu where the connected storage devices will be shown. Select the formatted hard drive and click Next.
Step #3 – A scan of the entire hard drive will now begin. Any files that can be recovered from the hard drive will begin to appear on the screen.

Note: if you see the files you want to recover appear you can click Pause or Stop to halt the scan and minimize the time it takes to recover files.

Step #4 – After the scan is completed or stopped, preview files by double-clicking on them and then select everything you want to recover.
Step #5 – Lastly, click the Recover button and choose a suitable recovery folder to store them in.

That’s all there is to using StarzSoft Data Recovery and you can use the software to recover any of your lost or deleted files from any computers. You can search for other software solutions but you won’t find anything as effective as this one!

Alternative Solutions to Recover Formatted Hard Drive

Understandably users like to have several options to choose from, even when it comes to data recovery. As such, here are some other ways to recover formatted hard drive data which may also be effective.

1. Windows File History

This isn’t a method that everyone can use since it depends on your Windows settings, specifically the file management and backup settings. However, if it’s possible, this is another way to recover files from a formatted hard drive.

Step #1 – Open a File Explorer window and navigate to the hard drive that was formatted.
Step #2 – At the top of the window, click Home and select the History feature.
Step #3 – You should now see the File History window appear and any files that can be recovered will be shown here and you can browse files using the navigation arrows. Click on the files you want to have recovered to select them.
Step #4 – After the files have been selected, click the green button in the middle of the bar and they will be restored.

Again, this isn’t a feature that every Windows user can benefit from since some users won’t have this set up. Nonetheless, it’s worthwhile mentioning for the users who do have it.

2. Command Prompt

One method that every Windows user can try is to use the Command Prompt. By entering a series of commands, the operating system will check the hard drive for errors and repair any that it finds, then restore files that have been corrupted or deleted.

Be sure to follow these steps carefully as it’s important that the Command Prompt isn’t misused.

Step #1 – To open the required tool, search Command Prompt in the Windows search bar. Right-click on the top result and click Run as Administrator (approve the security warning if it appears).
Step #2 – In the Command Prompt window, type chkdsk C /f and press Enter.

Note: if your formatted hard drive is a secondary drive, replace the C with whatever drive letter has been assigned to it.

Step #3 – After this command has finished running, enter the command C : \ >attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.* and let this command run.
Step #4 – Wait for this part of the process to finish. Afterward, your files will be recovered to the hard drive.

As long as you follow these steps you won’t run into any problems. This is one of the few data recovery tools that come pre-installed with Windows but it doesn’t always work, so it’s not a good idea to rely on this method.

BONUS: How to Avoid Hard Drive Data Loss

It’s very stressful to deal with data loss in any case. Whether it’s a formatted hard drive or corrupted files, it’s never a pleasant situation. Here are some ways to reduce your chances of experiencing data loss:

  • -Take advantage of cloud backups. There are a lot of cloud storage platforms out there to take advantage of, many of which provide a free amount of storage. Google Drive, for example, gives users a free 5GB of cloud storage and we highly recommend taking advantage of this to back up all your important files.
  • -Only download safe programs. Downloading programs that get flagged as unsafe or malicious is a definitive way of getting a virus on your computer and running into computer problems like a formatted hard drive. You should only download programs that you are certain are safe and are from reputable sources.
  • -Disconnect formatted drives. If you notice that a hard drive has been formatted then you should disconnect it from your computer as quickly as possible. Doing this will prevent new data from being written to the hard drive which would overwrite the files you want to recover, increasing the risk that it will be permanently lost.


We realise how frustrating it is to deal with data loss and that users who face this situation only want one thing: a way to get their files back. Hopefully, the solutions and tips we’ve given you in this article will help make this easier for you and to get your lost files back with ease. Our opinion is that the best way to maximise the chance of successful data recovery is to use StarzSoft Data Recovery. With this tool, any files will be returned to you with minimal effort and you have a lot of control over the scanning process.

Author: Barack James

Barack James is highly concentrated and accomplished on the topics of technology!