Partition Recovery™
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An expert tool for recovering lost partitions

How do I unformat a hard drive?

There are situations when formatting a disk occurs by mistake or due to inattention.

Don't panic, this article will show you how to format a hard drive to recover data from a hard drive.

In addition, you will learn all the intricacies of the formatting procedure and what actions will be prohibited until the disk is restored. It's actually not that difficult if you follow the recommendations in this article.

Article content:

  • What is formatting?
  • How to unformat
  • How to recover lost data

What is formatting? How does it compare to unformatting?

In general, formatting a hard drive is the process of determining the file system database on the hard drive and then preparing the hard drive for data storage.

Traditional formatting typically uses the NTFS format, which defines a Master File Table (MFT) database.

Whenever you format a hard drive, you override the file system database and thereby overwrite the existing one. These actions overwrite the information about the file and thus permanently lose access to the data and all files stored on the formatted disk.

Note: the formatted drive can then be used to store new data.

Therefore, if you want to format an accidentally formatted hard drive, you should minimize any activity on your system or, if possible, stop using the system altogether. This will greatly increase the chances of recovering all data when formatting the hard drive.

The unformat process is designed to recover data from a formatted storage device, and this can only be done using third-party software, which will be discussed next.

How to unformat with DiskInternals Partition Recovery

DiskInternals Partition Recovery is the best professional software to recover various types of data after unformatting a hard drive.

You can immediately download the free version of the application and start the data recovery process right now without spending even a cent. You will be able to see all the results of data recovery and only then proceed to purchase a license and export data. Don't worry, all scan results in the trial version of the app will be saved and you won't have to go through the process again.

Use Partition Recovery to unformat USB drive

Below is a step by step guide to format a USB drive:

To get started with DiskInternals Partition Recovery, download it to your device and open it.

Then indicate which file system or file formats you need to find (if you wish, you can search for file formats after scanning).

Now Click the "Next" button and wait for the scanning process to complete and after that a window with the found files will appear (indicated by a red cross).

Next, be sure to use the preview (right mouse button) - preview any file you choose.

Finally, buy the license to complete the process and store the recovered data on a suitable storage medium.

Helpful Tips to avoid future data loss:

  • You should have a backup copy of at least important files, although in practice very few people do this.
  • Always keep the system up to date; this applies to the OS, drivers, antivirus software, etc.
  • Take good care of your hard drive, check it regularly for viruses (and make sure your antivirus software is good).

These are the most effective tips so that you don't have to format your USB drive in the future.

How to recover HDD data with DiskInternals Partition Recovery

Data can be recovered by formatting the drive using Disk Management.

In general, using Disk Management, you can create a partition, delete a partition, format a partition, expand or shrink a partition. Therefore, if you accidentally used Disk Management to perform a format, your data can be recovered using format recovery software.

To format your hard drive using Disk Management, you should refer to the following instructions:

Step 1. Right-click the Start menu and select Disk Management or run diskmgmt.msc to open Disk Management.

Step 2. Decide on the partition you want to format, and then right-click it and choose Format.

Step 3. After selecting the volume label, allocation unit size, and file system, click OK. Be sure to select the "Perform a quick format" option if it's not set by default. Otherwise, you will perform a full format and then the data cannot be recovered.

Step 4. After these steps, just click OK, then the partition will be formatted very quickly, the data is not overwritten, and you can format the disk.

For data recovery, you still need to rely on the professional DiskInternals Partition Recovery application, which has many advantages over similar applications.

For example:

  • The presence of a quick scan mode to search for recently lost files, which significantly reduces the time for data recovery and thus saves your personal time. Despite the high speed of this recovery process, the result will pleasantly surprise you!
  • Ability to flawlessly restore partitions even with different file systems based on FAT, ReFS, UFS and NTFS, etc.
  • If your storage is marked as RAW, DiskInternals Partition Recovery can still recover your information.
  • The full recovery feature allows you to reconstruct (programmatically) the previous file system and restore the files you need.
  • The ability to use both manual (for professionals) and automatic (for amateurs and beginners) recovery. The automatic recovery process is available thanks to the built-in wizard and it's clear steps.
  • Any recovered data after purchasing a license is instantly exported to local or remote space.
  • The application easily supports multi-level folders and Unicode filenames and bypasses Windows limitations perfectly.
  • The application is suitable for creating disk images, which makes it possible to test the system with the most dangerous methods.

When the program comes in handy:

  • Accidental deletion and formatting of the drive. Unfortunately, this is a common mistake, because the human factor is almost always present.
  • System errors and bad sectors somehow appear on your computer over time and can harm your data, and can also cause the operating system to stop recognizing the partition.
  • Damage to the hard drive by a worm, virus, or other malware can lead to the loss of a partition or even a disk.
  • Power surges that can damage not only the partition, but the entire hard drive.

Recovery tips:

  • In quick scan mode, it's very important to mark the drive correctly; otherwise you won't find your files.
  • You must be patient so that each step is carried out properly until the end.
  • Do not save data repeatedly to the same hard drive as this will most likely overwrite the data.


Now you know how to quickly and easily format a hard drive using DiskInternals Partition Recovery, and it's also better to back it up again in case of data loss.

If you still have questions about how to recover data from a formatted hard drive using DiskInternals Partition Recovery, you can contact technical support.

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