I've reformatted my hard drive and reinstalled Windows but nothing else. I've looked at several hard drive recovery options and many say they can recover data after reformatting but the reformat I did was a low-level reformat, not the quick format. Is it technically possible to recover files after a low-level reformat?


  • If money were no issue it might be possible to recover the data. If you were a spy from an enemy government your government would spend a million dollars they would probably get the data back. – cybernard Oct 12 '13 at 22:57
  • Are you asking if there's any method that has a non-zero chance of recovering the data? Or are you asking if there's any method that's likely to recover the data? And with what level of resources used? – David Schwartz Oct 12 '13 at 23:12
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    What kind of "low-level reformat", precisely? – grawity Oct 12 '13 at 23:15
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    I wondered the same thing as grawity. I suspect you just mean you didn't do the "quick format", but if it was a software format such as from (or while installing) Windows, that's not a low-level format. In fact, it's hard to low-level format a drive these days; Seagate says the equivalent is to 0-fill (knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/203931en ), but I'd say the best you'd get is to use UBAN with at least 3 passes. If you meant you used a tool like UBAN, though, then it is equivalent to a low-level format and almost impossible to recover. – Debra Oct 12 '13 at 23:45
  • Ok, I'll keep you guys informed; thanks for your input. – frenchie Oct 13 '13 at 12:16

Technically ( for example for security companies with special tools), it's maybe possible to recover data. But for a normal user: No, it's not possible.

Don't worry. Normal users aren't able to recover the data.

  • Ok, thanks for the answer; I'll keep you informed. – frenchie Oct 13 '13 at 12:16

The accepted answer is wrong - You can't do a low level format in Windows, so what was meant was a full format. You may be able to use Testdisk to recover some data in some cases - even with a full format - but this depends on the way the format was implemented.

(For those that doubt this, google g=c800:5 )

protected by Community Dec 18 '14 at 10:49

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