How to recover data from an external hard drive - logical problem

Logical problems with external hard drive include:

  • Filesystem failure, for example external hard drive filesystem turned to RAW, which can be caused by suddenly unplugging the drive. When trying to open a drive, system asks you to format it – don’t.
  • Accidentally formatting the external hard drive. It is important to never write anything onto an external hard drive you need to recover data from.
  • Deleting wrong files by mistake. It is important to stop using the drive immediately once you discover a data loss. Also, do not save the recovered data back to the same drive you are recovering data from.

The solution for all these cases is to use data recovery software and then copy the extracted data to a safe location.

The key point is to ensure the operating system sees your drive. The simplest way to do this is to open My Computer. If there is no disk in there you should check whether it is listed in Disk Management - press WinKey + R on the keyboard, type diskmgmt.msc and then press Enter.

If your drive is listed in My Computer or at least in Disk Management, use ReclaiMe File Recovery to extract data. Otherwise, none of the data recovery tools would be able to recover your data untill your drive is recognized by the PC. This may be due to the broken enclosure and/or faulty hard drive inside the enclosure.

If you get your external drive recognized by the PC, but data is not readable, follow the instructions below to recover data from the drive.

External hard drive recovery using 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. Download, install, and run ReclaiMe File Recovery software.
  3. Identify the device you want to recover data from in the device list. Most likely, it will be under the "USB devices" section (need help identifying your drive?). The external drives typically have a single partition, so if there is no logical drive associated with your device, have ReclaiMe analyze the physical device instead.
  4. Double click the drive to start recovery.
  5. The files are displayed as soon as they are discovered.
  6. Select the file(s) or folder you want to recover, and click Save button on the toolbar. Alternatively, click Save and select Save All from the menu.

All the steps on video

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