What Makes Your Hard Drive Data Erased and How to Restore It Using Recovery Utilities?

So you performed unplanned formatting of your hard drive or drive partition and now repenting over your mistake as you lost all your valuable files stored on it. If yes, then you should not worry about your data, as it has not gone anywhere. It is still on your hard drive only and you can recover it with specialized data recovery software like Stellar Phoenix File Recovery software. However, you may be pondering on how the file recovery tools can recover the data that is invisible on the drive. Well, this is possible because of the way your hard drive stores data and the formatting mechanism.

Therefore, let us know what formatting does and how is it possible to retrieve the deleted files with file recovery tool.

What is hard drive formatting?

Well, formatting is the process of preparing a drive for storing data. The process erases everything stored on the hard drive and formats it with a new file system. Therefore, in many cases, when it is done in a planned way, it helps to rectify various OS related issues and the user can restore the data from previously taken backup. On the other hand, when it is done in unplanned situations (like sudden virus infection making system unbootable or other file system inconsistencies), it causes data loss if you do not have backup. However, permanent data loss does not occur in such situations as well.

The formatting does not delete files (files represent both data and folders here) from your hard drive; instead, it removes the index entry of the files from the index file. The index file is a file maintained by the file system of your computer for storing the basic information required by the OS to access files on the hard drive. Now, the formatting deletes only the entry from the index file and the file remains at its original location. Moreover, it allows the files to be overwritten as there are no entries in the index corresponding to the deleted files and the OS fails to locate them on the hard drive.

In such situation, if you start using your formatted drive for saving new data, then the chances of data overwriting are high. However, if you start using professional deleted file recovery software immediately after the format and stop using this disk until the recovery software does its job, you can expect complete recovery of your files.

Stellar Phoenix File Recovery software is one such tool that recovers all your data lost due to formatting of your hard drive. The software is available for Mac and Windows users, so you can select the one according to the OS used on your computer. The stepwise procedure for the recovery of your data from formatted hard drive is explained below:

Recovery of Data from Formatted Windows Based Hard Drive:

Mentioned below are the steps for the recovery of data from formatted hard drive having Windows OS:

  • Step 1: The main user interface of the software that you get initially is shown as below:

This interface of the software contains three options for the recovery of your lost or deleted files. The ‘Drive Recovery’ option is for the recovery of deleted, lost, or formatted files. The ‘CD DVD Recovery’ is for recovery of data from CD or DVD, and ‘Photo Recovery’ is for the recovery of lost or deleted photos. However, you have to select ‘Drive Recovery’ option for the recovery of data from formatted hard drive.

  • Step 2:Upon selecting the ‘Drive Recovery’ option, you will get a list of all the hard drive volumes and attached external media. You will also see a link ‘Click here to search lost volumes’. For the recovery of your formatted data, click this link:

search-lost-volume (1)

Further, you will get a list of all the hard drives (internal and external) present in your system. Select your formatted hard drive and click ‘Search Lost Volume’ button on the flying pane (after selecting ‘Quick’ or ‘Deep’ search option) as shown below:


Upon completion of the searching process, the found volumes are listed under ‘Select Volume to Recover Data’ section. Select this formatted volume from the generated list and click option to start the data recovery from it.

With these simple steps, you can perform the recovery of your files lost due to formatting of hard drive.

Recovery of Data from Formatted Mac Based Hard Drive:

Follow below mentioned steps to perform the recovery of data from formatted hard drives having Mac OS:

  • Step 1: Start the software, click ‘Recover Data’ button, and then select option ‘Formatted Media/Lost File Recovery’ under ‘Data Recovery’ tab for the recovery of formatted hard drive data. The user interface that you get after selecting these options is shown as below:


The interface lists all the hard drive volumes present on your machine.

  • Step 2: Select the volume from which you want to start the recovery and click button to start its scanning. The tool displays all the files and folders that are lost due to formatting in a tree structure as:


You can select the files from this list. After selecting the files, click ‘Recover’ button to start their recovery. Then specify the location where you want to save these files. All your files and folders are saved at this location after the process is completed.

Therefore, with these easy steps of the tool, you can perform the recovery of your data lost due to formatting of your Mac hard drive.

So, do not panic and waste your time on repenting over the loss. Instead, use a professional tool to perform the recovery of your files lost due to formatting of your hard drive.


Alex helps people better understand computer related problem and make them able to recover themselves. Alex is a guest contributor to Next of Windows.

Last updated: 08/04/2014

Posted in: Tips & Tricks , Tools , Windows 8
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