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I had 500GB portable hard drive. it fell from the table and when i joined it was not showing any data and asked me to format it. i did format. Then again it was not functioning properly so i had to quick format it again.

Now i had lots of data in it. Is there any software which can recover my files and folders with same structure as original

7 Answers 7

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Use a data recovery live CD. I recommended Parted Magic. 1st off before any further damage is done create a disk image using something like ddrescue (included in the live cd). Then from that image of the disk you can run recovery tools. I recommend using TestDisk and PhotoRec, which are also on that live cd.

I have successfully used the above method to recover files from a Mac that was accidentally reformatted to NTFS and had windows installed over OSX.

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There are a number of tools to recover files from a formatted disk both free and commercial. A quick search for disk recovery software will give you a fair amount of choice but I haven't tested these so I won't recommend any particular tool.

What I would like to offer is a few things to keep in mind in this situation.

  1. When you quick format a drive it doesn't touch your files, all it does is zero out the index of which files you have on the drive. They should be recoverable as long as you don't write new files to the drive.

  2. With no index the recovery tools usually have to figure out file sizes on their own and this fails sometimes so you might get corrupted files after the recovery. What I've seen is small files where the tool couldn't find the end so after the recovery they ended up several gigs.

  3. Your drive is probably damaged in some way since Windows could not recognize it and asked you to format it. With physical damage the recovery process can easily hang or take a very very long time to complete.

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You could try Priforms' Recuva, (Windows, Free to use, 2.33MB) which I use to recovered lost data. Under the "Options" and "Actions" tab it has "Scan for non-deleted files" which is meant to retrie files from formatted disks. I haven't tried to recover anything from a formatted disk, but it's worth a go.

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  • Not to say this won't work or anything, but I have tried this before after simply deleting a file, then emptying the recycling bin, and I could not recover my files with this. But it was about a week later and the page file may have overwritten them by that time, or something...
    – David
    Jun 10, 2011 at 16:44
  • @David, yes, you're right. When I use Recuva it's pretty quickly after I've deleted the file so the sectors don't get a chance to be overwritten. After a week (or, indeed, a few hours) the chances of recovery drop rapidly.
    – tombull89
    Jun 10, 2011 at 16:52
  • If @Moorage has only quick formatted it twice, that doesn't even come close to zero-ing out the drive. All it does is delete the index table. He/She should be able to complete the task with this tool. I really like Priform tools, like CCleaner.
    – David
    Jun 10, 2011 at 16:55
  • i tried that and it shows all files at one place . it don't show folder tree. i want lost file recovery not deleted file recovery
    – Mirage
    Jun 10, 2011 at 17:22
  • @Moorage, there is an option to keep file/folder structure when you recover them.
    – tombull89
    Jun 10, 2011 at 21:38
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You could also look into TestDisk and PhotoRec both are from cgsecurity. Website: www.cgsecurity.org

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Best recovery software I have ever used.

Get Data Back

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It would be better for you to fix this problem as soon as possible and DO NOT format the hard drive again and again. Try to save files from this portable hard drive, more or less.

According to my past experience, my suggestion is:

  1. Pick up a file recovery tool to save your files.
    It seems that there is a glitch on your hard drive so save the files as soon as possible. Try using Hdata Recovery Software or Recuva. Follow the recovery wizard and start the file research process. It will help you recognize which files are still recoverable.

  2. Backup all your files to another storage device.
    After you have recovered the files make sure to save all the files to another storage device. (I suppose that you probably need to buy another new portable hard drive). Do not save the recovered file to this portable hard drive again as it's no longer reliable.

  3. Try to check or fix the hard drive or replace a new one.
    It's really not straightforward to fix hard drive problems. Even if you can fix them there is still a concern about the stability of this device. It's better to just replace the hard drive.

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Formatting destroys the metadata related to filenames and folders (and other metadata too).

There are many tools that can help you recover the data from the files, but the structure is almost certainly lost.

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