Recovering External Hard Drive Data: 2 Ways

Hard drive data recovery

It’s now nearly impossible to imagine how people used to store and transfer data before high-capacity external hard drives transformed our digital data handling. From a lifetime’s worth of media files to complete discographies of your favorite bands, it’s fascinating how much data a single external hard drive can store for you. The only challenge is that the more data you can store on a single external hard drive, the more are the chances to lose this data in a single moment.

Accidental formats, Hardware errors, and malware attacks are the three biggest enemies responsible external hard drive data loss. It’s remotely impossible to avoid these; henceforth, it’s important for you to learn the basics of external hard drive data recovery.

Is Recycle Bin Recovery an Option?

Yes, when you delete a stored file from an external hard drive, you can recover it from the Recycle Bin, just like you recover a file that you stored on your system hard drive.

That’s because each and every hard drive houses its own Recycle Bin folder. When you click on the desktop located Recycle Bin icon, Windows shows you a combined view of all Recycle Bin folders present on your computer, including Recycle Bin folders that are located on the external hard drives. You can see a list of all of these Recycle Bin locations by right-clicking the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop and then further selecting Properties.

The only problem is that when most people encounter the need to recover data from their external hard drive, the files they look for are no longer available in the Recycle Bin. What’s more, some people are habitual of using the Shift + Delete key combination as they delete files to erase files permanently from their system without first transferring them to the Recycle Bin.

In such scenarios, it’s best to use a data recovery software solution immediately. 

Ways to recover deleted files from external hard drives

Let’s take a closer look at what three methods you can use to recover your lost data from external hard drives. The first two methods for external hard drive data recovery don’t require any other third-party software, but they are not guaranteed to deliver the best results. The last method — data recovery software — can only be used by data recovery professionals because they work virtually every time and are so simple that even new beginners can use it to avoid terrible data loss.

Use the command prompt

The Command Prompt, also known as CMD, provides you with much better control over your operating system by letting you give your computer easy text commands. This comes in handy when you are dealing with data loss that is caused by malware, which often affects the files stored on external as well as internal hard drives, making them either undetectable or impossible to open.

Instead of thoroughly fixing the attributes of every single file on your computer, you can use a single command to fix all of them at once.

Now, this is what you need to do:

  1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer
  2. Press R + Win keys to launch the program
  3. Type cmd and click OK
  4. Type in the following command in the CMD window and press enter: “ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D X:*.*”

Be sure to replace “X” with the original drive letter of your external hard drive.

Restore a previous version

File History is an exceptionally useful Windows feature that allows users to go back in time and restore previously saved versions of files, even if the original files are no longer available (or have been deleted). Now, for File History to work, it’s required to first manually activate it, which is done by opening the Control Panel and tapping into System and Security → File History. There, you can select the Turn on an option. Also, when doing external hard drive data recovery, keep in mind to include your external hard drive amid active file history locations.

Storing the previous version of a file using Windows file history:

  1. Navigate to the exact folder where your files were stored first before you lost them
  2. Right-click inside that folder and select Properties
  3. Open the tab: Previous Versions 
  4. Select the previous version you want to recover
  5. Click the Restore button

Recovering deleted files from an external hard drive is one of the basic things that everyone can do. However, to avoid future data loss from your hard drive, you need to take support from a hard drive data recovery company like ours. We at DTI Data Recovery offer data recovery services to our clients since 1998. Our customer service, cutting-edge storage technologies, and affordable pricing are everything we pride ourselves on in the industry.

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