Recovering deleted files from a formatted hard drive is possible. In most instances when you think your data is gone, experienced data recovery professionals know how to get your files back for you.
When the drive has been re-formatted, and the operating system has been reinstalled, there is still hope to retrieve deleted files.
Understanding the dangers, and following the proper process will help ensure the success of all recovery attempts.
The FIRST thing to do is to shutdown the computer, or device, immediately. The reason this is so important is data is constantly being written to the drive when the operating system is running.
One stipulation in order to recover deleted data
There are many debates regarding the possibilities of recovering deleted files among computer scientists. All evidence points to the fact that in order to recover files deleted from recycle bin, or any other part of the operating system, they must not have been written over.
In order to recover a deleted file every sector that included data for that file must be in it’s original condition. Overwriting any part of this file with new data will cause corruption.
Images are the most forgiving when this happens. Deleted images can still have some sectors missing and work, or open. In these situations some of the picture can be cropped, and still be viewable. The image may end up with bars, or a portion of it that is either grayed out, or distorted (see below).
Our engineers are very successful in recovering accidentally deleted files, documents, and partitions from USB drives, memory cards, solid-state drives, desktop and external hard drives.
Format recovery is possible as long as the data has not been overwritten
After formatting a hard drive, the most common “next step” is to reinstall the operating system. Doing this automatically overwrites the portion of the area of the hard drive where it begins to write when it’s newly formatted.
Formatted hard drive recovery is possible at this point, however success diminishes if more than the operating system is reinstalled.
100% success with format recovery or a full hard drive restore is usually rare
Unfortunately there is no way to unformat a hard drive once it’s completed. It is however completely possible, to find deleted files and recover them. When you delete a file, it doesn’t necessarily erase the data from the drive, so it’s not permanently lost.
Instead it deletes it from the MFT entry ( MASTER FILE TABLE), and the sectors that contain the data referring to the deleted file now become available to write to again. If data is written to any of the sectors that will result in a corrupt file.
You will either see something like the error below, or an image with a block of of solid color and it as seen below.
Deleted hard drives are the most complicated recovery to perform
Deleted file recovery can sometimes be compared to finding a needle in a haystack. It requires an engineer to spend very focused time searching and carving out the headers and file signatures of particular files and sort them into respective folders.
This is the same when it comes to cases requiring an engineer to recover files after format. Sometimes it can be much easier more successful to recover deleted files from external hard drive. External hard drives do not include an operating system and usually will not have data written to the drive afterwards.
There is no easy process on how to recover deleted files from hard drive, it’s usually a long and grueling process. This is because many hours of searching and confirming the integrity of the data is required, in order to determine success.
Recovery of lost data methods
When you lose data either by deleting the files or reformatting the storage device, there are various avenues that most people will travel attempting lost file recovery.
This is especially common with FLASH drives as they are usually used for transferring different sets of data regularly between computers. If your data is important and valuable to you, then there is only one option that will yield the results you are looking for, while protecting you at the same time.
DIY methods are very risky and should only be implemented when the data is of no importance whatsoever.
Successfully retrieve files with a company like SERT Data Recovery
Certain data recovery companies like SERT Data Recovery have specialists whose only job is file retrieval data that has been deleted, or to recover data from drives that have been formatted.
Our professionals have the experience using advanced tools that are able to carve out the data files, And retrieve deleted files.
Using Software Recovery Programs
This is the option that most initially try, and the worst one you can choose. Many search for these programs usually online, or in file sharing (torrent) sites hoping to avoid the cost of having to contact a professional.
If you are inexperienced you can permanently lose your data. In our experience Many attempt to run this software on the drive where the data has been deleted. This means the software has been installed on the drive or device where the data has been deleted, therefore overwriting the data that they are looking to recover.
This causes the program to overwrite sectors of the drive where the data is stored and permanently destroying the data.
Other posts about hard drive problems:
FORMATTED AND DELETED DATA RECOVERY PAYMENT POLICY: The standard NO DATA NO PAY guarantee SERT Data Recovery provides does not FULLY apply to these types of cases. Deleted and formatted recoveries require many man-hours focused solely on your particular case in order to determine if there are any good working files,and ultimately the success of such efforts. A SERT engineer has to perform the recovery, and then laboriously inspect many of the files to determine if they are working or corrupt. The results of these types of recovery cases vary depending on how many sectors of the file has been written over. Many cases yield a high probability that portions, or all the sectors of the files you are expecting to be recovered have been written over. This results in corrupted or broken files that will not open, or will be corrupted. Nevertheless SERT still still has to focus one engineers time on your case regardless of the outcome. Due to this fact you will be expected to pay up to 80% of the initial agreed-upon quote.