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Accidentally turned External Hard Drive to Recovery Disk

Last response: in Storage
February 19, 2013 6:57:07 AM

Hi Everybody

Here is the scenario:

I was trying to remove the pre-installed Windows 8. I figured I should create a backup in case I ever have to go back to the piece of junk software. Anyway, I plugged-in my external hard drive to make the backup...

Here's the **ck up:

It said 'formatting drive'. Within two seconds, I cancelled the operation and removed the hard drive.
Now, when I try to access it (tried on 3 other laptops), it just shows the Hard Drive as Recovery Disk with some 20MB data and total 30 GB space.
Disk management shows 890 GB unallocated space.
It's a seagate 1TB backup drive. There was nearly 500 GB of data on it.

Do I need to use some data recovery program or is there another way. I don't think an entire hard drive can be formatted in 2 seconds.

Can someone please help. I can't stress enough how important the data on the drive is to me.


a c 79 G Storage
February 19, 2013 9:53:15 AM

You can try this partition recovery software:

It was unwise not to have backup copies of your data on a second external hard drive.
Even if you hadn't made that **ck up, you need to realize that all hard drives fail eventually so you need to be prepared for that.
February 19, 2013 10:10:17 AM

Thanks phil22...

Is it possible to recover data without using a software? I don't think the data has been deleted nor has the disk been formatted.

Seems to me there is just an error. Disk management is showing the unallocated space. Any advise?
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a c 354 G Storage
February 19, 2013 11:26:01 AM

A quick format only erases the directory/file tree mappings. The data is actually still there. Since you said, "it just shows the Hard Drive as Recovery Disk with some 20MB data and total 30 GB space. ", then some data most likely got over written and will be unrecovererable.

You can try the partition recovery software mentioned above, but I wouldn't expect a full recovery of files.
February 20, 2013 12:29:20 AM

Yes! You are right! You can recover you data back with the help of a hard drive recovery freeware.
I also get it from another thread of toms. The user says it is really an efficient and useful freeware.
One more thing, you should learn to keep at least two copies of everything important on separate drives all the time.
a c 140 G Storage
February 20, 2013 4:16:21 AM

Recuva is also another free tool to try to recover files.

What ever you do, do NOT write to that drive and recover to another drive as you can overwrite data if you try to write to the drive.
February 22, 2013 2:34:06 AM


Thanks a lot guys. I have been able to recover almost 100% of my data. I used R-studio. It took 17 hours to recover everything and thankfully it preserved the old file names and structure.

Tried EaseUS, Acronis True Image, and one more software but none of them worked. EaseUS was the first one I used. It recovered all the files and folders; however, none of the files opened. I did not try to recover RAW files as it would have been a real pain.