Here's an interesting problem and predicament that I'm currently in.
I have a 239 GB large VHDX, originally formatted as NTFS. It contains a lot of important files, including proprietary code, game development assets and a ton of artwork.
I was trying to create an Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 installer on my flash drive, and I used Rufus to try and put it in. I was in class, so I wasn't that concentrated on my laptop.
Funnily enough, Rufus sorted that mounted VHD as the first, and without double-checking, I started the operation. In less than 7 seconds, the entire disk was formatted into FAT32, and Windows instantly recognized the drive, along with the available space and all. Luckily enough, I was able to cancel the operation before it started writing to the drive. Immediately after this, I set the drive as read-only, and until now I have not unmounted the drive, in fear that it might implode (even though this isn't that possible.)
Now, here's the fun part: I am certain that the files are still there. The VHD size is still 239 GB, and Recuva is still able to determine a few files in the drive. I have tried deep-scanning the drive, and there are still a few files that it can muster up.
The problem is, with the changed filesystem, and the circumstances that the drive was formatted in, will I still be able to recover the files (possibly with free recovery tools) or not?
I've tried to use Recuva, but given that a Deep Scan is worth 9 hours and I might come up empty-handed, I just wanted to ask here first. I'm also seeing TestDisk as an option, although I don't know how it works.
As hopeless as this seems, at least I kept a month-old backup of the drive. This was the main reason why I frequently use virtual hard drives. Although this drive contains a lot of the nostalgic stuff, I'm more interested in the newer files, since these contain projects and it's going to be a major setback to start from a previous time.