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How to Recover Deleted Files from Hard Drive: A Step by Step Recovery Solution

Step By Step recovery solution

Photo by Vincent Botta on Unsplash


Our hard drives are undoubtedly the most important storage units where all kinds of files are saved by us. It doesn’t matter if you heavily use external hard drives or rely more on the internal storage of your computer, anyone can suffer from an unwanted loss of data from them. A while back, my Seagate external hard disk encountered a similar issue and got corrupted. In the end, I had to format it, which deleted all the stored photos and videos on it. This made me look for ways to recover deleted files from a hard drive to get my data back. In this post, I will provide a similar solution to my own experience.

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What to do when your files are deleted from a hard drive?

It doesn’t matter if you have lost your files from an internal or external disk, most of them operate the same way. As soon as your data gets deleted, I would suggest following these tips:

  • Stop using your hard drive right away. The more you use it, the lesser you have the chances of getting your data back.
  • If it is an external disk, then just unmount it from the system for now and only connect it back when you have a recovery plan.
  • If it is an internal drive, then don’t even use your system too much. Any major operation like internet browsing, installing new programs, copy-pasting of data, etc. can make your files unavailable.
  • Use a data recovery tool right away or consider visiting a professional. Since there are plenty of DIY recovery applications out there, you can give a reliable solution a try.
  • Once you get your data back, save it to any other drive or storage unit and maintain its second copy as a backup.
  • Repair your hard drive using the system’s native solution or a third-party tool so that you won’t encounter a similar problem again.
Hard drive repair

Which Data Recovery Tool Did I Use?

Whenever I list the above drill about what we should do to recover deleted files from hard drive, I get asked which data recovery tool I use. Ideally, you can use any reliable recovery tool, but make sure you consider the following things in mind:

  • What is the success rate of the recovery tool?
  • Does it run on the Windows or Mac system I own?
  • Is the hard drive that I own supported by the tool?
  • Does it support the recovery of an external hard drive?
  • Is the drive’s file system (like exFAT, HFS+, or NTFS) supported by it?
  • Other things like ease of use, user experience, pricing, free trial version, etc.

After considering all these things in mind, I opted for Recoverit Data Recovery as it met my requirements. The basic version of it is available for free, but later I upgraded to its premium one to get unlimited recovery support. It supports almost all kinds of hard disks, file systems, and other external devices as well.

The last time I lost my data from the hard drive, I launched Recoverit Data Recovery on it and followed a simple click-through process. If you wish to recover deleted files from an external hard disk, then connect it to your system first. Later, just launch Recoverit on your computer and select the partition or hard drive from where you have lost your data. It will scan the selected source and would let you preview your results in the end. You can select the files or folders of your choice and just click on the “Recover” button to restore them.

Image Recoverit Data Recovery

Does Data Recovery Tools Actually Work?

A while back, even I was apprehensive about data recovery applications, but after using some reliable tools, I changed my mind. If you want to know how they recover deleted files from hard drive, then try to understand how data is stored on it (virtually and physically). A system has a memory allocation table that stores just the location where your files are stored. When you delete any file, it isn’t wiped off or shredded right away. No — just the address that was allocated to it before now becomes available to be overwritten by something else.

Memory Allocation

That is why it is recommended not to use the drive after data loss to prevent the overwriting of information. Your files might still be there on the hard drive, but they are just no longer accessible to you. To get them back, you can use a dedicated data recovery tool that would extract the drive on a low-level.

How can I Prevent the Deletion of Data from Hard Drive?

To make sure that you don’t suffer from an accidental loss of data from your hard drive, consider following these steps:

  • Avoid using Shift + DEL while getting rid of a file so that you can later have the scope of recovering it from the Recycle Bin.
  • Maintain a dedicated backup of your important files on the cloud or any other drive.
  • Install a secure anti-virus tool and keep scanning the drive to make sure it won’t be infected by a virus.
  • Try not to connect your computer to public networks or any other external source (like a pen drive) that you don’t trust.
  • Don’t shut down your system unexpectedly when a file is still getting processed in the background.
  • Check the health of your disk regularly (using Mac’s Disk Utility or Window’s CHKDSK utility). This will help you diagnose an issue with the drive beforehand.

I’m sure that after reading this guide, you would be able to recover deleted files from the hard drive the same way as I did. To make things easier for you, I have also listed some quick suggestions that you should follow to keep your data safe. Go ahead and try these suggestions to recover deleted files from the hard drive and feel free to share these solutions with others as well!

I hope this article is helpful. If you think something is missing, have questions, or would like to give feedback, go ahead and leave a comment below. I’d appreciate the feedback.

Sharing (knowledge) is caring 😊 Thanks for reading this article. Be sure to clap or recommend this article if you found it helpful. It means a lot to me.

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Danish Amjad

Senior Mobile Engineer (Android). Open Source Contributor, Technical Writer, Email: check my website at