Unformat a hard drive

"Unformat" is data recovery from a drive that was formatted by accident or from a drive which suffered catastrophic logical failure for whatever reason, but is mechanically fine.

Important safety notice

Never install any software to the drive you are going to unformat. If you need to unformat a drive containing Windows installation, refer to how to recover unbootable Windows installation.

Unformat hard drive with ReclaiMe

  1. Make sure you have enough free space on a known-good drive or on a network to hold all the recovered data.
  2. If you hear unusual sounds, refer to unusual hard drive noise.
  3. Download, install, and run ReclaiMe File Recovery software.
  4. Identify the drive you want to unformat in the device list (need help identifying your drive?).
  5. Double click the drive in the device list to start recovery.
  6. The files are displayed as soon as they are discovered.
  7. Select the file(s) or folder(s) you want to recover.
  8. Click Save button on the toolbar.

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Unformat a hard drive

Recovery time

If you only want a particular file or folder, you may start browsing the directory tree as soon as it shows up, to locate the file and save it without waiting for the scan to finish.

If you need all the content of the formatted drive back, or if the files you need are not showing up, it is recommended that you wait for the scan to complete, although it may take several hours.

During the unformat process, the data collection is distributed evenly throughout all the scan time (as opposed to undelete, when all the data is typically collected just after starting the scan).

More info

Read more about types of the format procedure.

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