How to Recover Files from Formatted Hard Drive Free on Windows 11, even without Software

avatar
Connie Wisley
November 08, 2023 Preview 3.2K Preview 1
share it facebook share it Twitter

Having formatted a hard drive for extended storage purpose but realized that was a mistake? Wondering how to recover files from formatted hard drive on your Windows 11? We’ve got you covered in this guide.

File recovery may sound like a tricky task, but you will be happy to learn that it’s never been easier to recover data from a formatted hard drive on Windows 11 today, regardless of whether you have an internal or external hard drive mistakenly formatted, whether it is Seagate, Western Digital or others.

Can You Recover Data from a Full Formatted Hard Drive on Windows?

Yes, you can.

According to Wikipedia, hard drive formatting is the process of preparing a hard dive for initial use. It involves 3 processes: low-leveling formatting, partitioning and high-level formatting. Generally speaking, a hard drive formatting ends with high-level formatting, which refers to the process of setting up a new file system for users to store data in different partitions, it just deletes files, instead of fully erasing data from the hard drive. In other words, formatting won’t completely wipe the data, it just marks the partitions on the disk as available, the saved data will be kept until new data is written to the disk.

This is also the reason why you should stopping writing to the formatted hard drive if you want to recover files from it.

 

Does Windows 11 Have a File Recovery Tool?

Yes, it is called File History.

File History is a built-in too that was introduced on Windows 8 in 2012. With its improved user experiences in Windows 10 and 11 versions, it becomes an indispensable way for Windows users to backup and restore files.

It can back up your data regularly to a selected hard disk, on weekly, daily even hourly basis, also can browse and revert to a previous version of selected files or folders. Even, to save space on the disk, it only creates backup when there is a change made to the file or folder.

 

The Best Way to Recover Files from Formatted Hard Drive on Windows 11

You may be recommended with several ways to recover data from a formatted hard drive on Windows (we list them in the following parts as well), but professional data recovery programs stand a high chance of recovering files from a formatted hard drive, the top ones include Cisdem Data Recovery.

Cisdem Data Recovery is a popular data recovery tool for PCs, Macs. It lets users recover files from deleted, formatted, even faulty internal and external hard drives that connect to a Windows 11 PC, Windows 10 PC, Windows 8, M2 Mac, M1 Mac, etc. , no matter the hard drive is in  FAT, exFAT, NTFS, HFS+, APFS or other formats. This tool can also recover files in different formats, including video, audio, photo, document, email, archive, it allows users to recover them simultaneously and quickly. Even, if your videos, images or document get corrupted, it repairs them smartly.

Main Features of Cisdem Data Recovery

  • Highly compatible on latest and earlier Windows & macOS
  • Recover files from internal and external storage devices
  • Restore 1000+ formats of files
  • Recover unsaved Word, Excel, PowerPoint files
  • Repair damaged videos, photos and Office documents
  • Preview and filter files
  • Create disk image to backup and restore files
  • Recover files to local folder or to cloud

How to Recover Files from Formatted Hard Drive on Windows 11?

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery on Windows 11.
    Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7
  2. Connect the formatted hard drive to your Windows 11.
  3. Go to Hardware Disk, select the formatted hard drive and click Search for Lost Data.recover formatted hard drive cisdem 01
  4. Go to Type, choose and browse the folders to check the recoverable items found by Cisdem. recover formatted hard drive cisdem 02
  5. Double click the deleted files to preview, then select them and click Recover. recover formatted hard drive cisdem 03

 

Free Ways to Recover Files from Formatted Hard Drive Free on Windows 11 without Software

In part 2, we learned that Windows 11 has a built-in tool to backup and restore files, it is File History. If you want a free way to recover files from formatted hard drive on Windows 11 without installing any 3rd party software, File History is worth a try if you have enabled this feature on your computer. And in a similar way, you can also recover files via cloud backup, such as OneDrive.

Recover Formatted Hard Drive with File History

If you have a backup of the formatted files via File History, connect the backup storage media to your Windows 11 and get back the files from your formatted hard disk now.

  1. Connect the backup drive to your Windows 11.
  2. Enter File History in Windows search box and open it. recover formatted hard drive free 01
  3. Click Restore personal files. recover formatted hard drive free 02
  4. Check the backup files and folders, select and click Restore button.recover formatted hard drive free 03 

Recover Formatted Hard Drive with OneDrive Backup

If you have backed up the formatted files in OneDrive cloud, you can use the OneDrive desktop or web version to get back the lost files. If you have downloaded OneDrive app to your Windows and didn’t enable the sync feature, it is still possible to find the formatted files in your OneDrive folder. Here we will show you how to recover the files from formatted hard drive on OneDrive website. Don’t forget to check out the Recycle bin if you cannot find the files.

  1. Log into https://onedrive.live.com/.
  2. Go to My files, select the files you want to get back to your formatted hard drive.
  3. Click the Download button to restore. Choose the hard drive to save the recovered files.recover onedrive

 

Free Ways to Recover Files from Formatted Hard Drive Free on Windows 11 with Software

You may be also considering using freeware to recover files from formatted hard drive on your Windows 11, luckily, we have several options here for you. The freeware we mentioned here are those completely free, open source tools that allow access to their full features, instead of those free editions of premium data recovery programs that are limited to a few of gigabytes of data and common file types. By taking recovery rate, range of file types and support of medium types into consideration, we finally pick Recuva and QPhotoRec for Windows 11 users.

Recuva

It is a free data recovery program working on Windows 11, 10, 8 and earlier to recover files from both internal and external mediums. It can analyze file damage and tell if a file is recoverable or not, it supports restoring documents, photos, videos, audios and so on. When scanning a hard drive, it allows users to find and search specific files only, so users can scan and recover fast.

How to Recover Files from Formatted Hard Drive Free on Windows 11?

  1. Download and install Recuva on Windows 11, launch the program.
  2. Connect the formatted hard drive to the computer.
  3. Choose the file type and file location to scan and click Next. recover formatted hard drive recuva 01
  4. Click Start to scan the formatted hard drive.
  5. Preview the formatted files, select and click Recover to get back the deleted files. recover formatted hard drive recuva 02


QPhotoRec  

Have you heard PhotoRec? It is one of the most popular open source data recovery programs, because it works across different operating systems and has full recovery features to restore 400+ types of files from both internal and external storage devices. However, it is not user friendly, it is command-line based, you need to read the commands and make selections or enter lines using your keyboard, instead of clicking the buttons on an interface. But luckily for Windows 11 users, PhotoRec has a GUI version, that is QPhotoRec, it works as good as PhotoRec but much easier to use.

How to Recover Files from Formatted Hard Drive Free on Windows 11?

  1. Download and install QPhotoRec on Windows 11.
  2. Connect the formatted hard drive to your computer.
  3. Choose media, partition, file system, scanning mode and destination in the following interface. recover formatted hard drive qphotorec 01
  4. Click Search to start the scanning process. recover formatted drive qphotorec 02
  5. Check the recovered files in the destination folder.

Conclusion

By now, you should have a good understanding of how to recover your files from a formatted hard drive on Windows 11. File History, though simple, it is an ideal solution to recover formatted hard drive data free on Windows 11. Regardless, if you want a reliable and efficient file recovery tool, it is best to use Cisdem, it can recover files as many as possible, also provides more modes to recover files lost under different situations.

avatar
Connie Wisley
share it facebook share it Twitter

Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

share it facebook share it Twitter
Comments (1) Leave a Reply

Name *

Comment *

  • Maria D. Brown

    You are the only one that offer steps without error, great job. I am interested in PhotoRec but don't know it has a GUI version, thanks for the information.

    0 months ago commonReply

    Name *

    Comment *

Hot Articles

How to Recover Recently or Permanently Deleted Google Docs after 30 Days? (2024) How to Recover Permanently Deleted Folder That Not in Recycle Bin on Windows 10/11? 10 Ways to Recover Deleted Google Chrome History (Android, iPhone, Computer)
Home > How to Recover Files from Formatted Hard Drive Free on Windows 11, even without Software