How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Data from External Hard Drive

Have you ever accidentally deleted a file on an external hard drive? This post will give you some proven ways to recover or get back accidentally deleted data from external hard drive.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Can you recover deleted files on external hard drive?

An external hard drive gives you more storage space to keep the data on your computer, and you can use an external hard drive to store files that you don't access frequently, which is a great convenience.

However, there is a chance that you may accidentally delete data from your external hard drive. Can you recover the deleted files on external hard drive? Yes! You can. 

When you delete data on an external hard drive, it doesn't actually delete the data completely and immediately, the system just marks the file's disk space as "free" and waits for new data to overwrite it. So, you can recover the deleted files from external hard drive.

In this post, we will be discussing different methods to recover accidentally deleted data from external hard drive for free.

external hard disk

How to recover accidentally deleted data from external hard drive for free

Here are some methods that you can use to recover deleted files from external hard drive Windows 10/11/8/7.

Note: Stop using the external hard drive immediately to avoid being overwritten.

1# Get back deleted data on external hard drive directly from the Recycle Bin

When you accidentally erase external hard drive or delete the files, it can usually be recovered from the Recycle Bin, just like files stored on the system hard drive because each hard drive has its own recycle bin folder.

Therefore, you can double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop, then right-click your deleted data, click Restore.

restore from recycle bin

2# Recover deleted or missing files from external hard drive using CMD

CMD or Command Prompt is useful for getting back data from hard drives, whether due to accidental deletion or malware and virus attacks. You can follow the steps below to perform it.

Step 1: Connect the external hard disk drive to your computer, Press Windows + R to launch Run.

Step 2. In the Run window, type the” cmd” and click OK.

type cmd window

Step 3. Type the command in the Window: ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D F:*.* 

attrib command

Note: Replace the F in the above command with the letter of your external hard drive.

Once cmd completes the process, your lost data will be recovered.

3# How to recover deleted files from external hard drive for free via Previous Versions

You can quickly and easily revert to a previously saved version using the "Restore Previous Version" feature in Windows to recover deleted files.

Step 1. Find the folder where the deleted files are kept, right-click the folder and select Properties or Restore previous versions.

select properties or restore previous versions

Step 2. Select the previous version you need and click Restore.

click restore

4# Best software to recover permanently deleted files from external hard drive

When you accidentally delete data on your external hard drive, the easiest way to recover data from external hard drive is to turn to the best data recovery software-MyRecover, even if you emptied the Recycle Bin.

It is a powerful and reliable Windows files recovery tool with a high recovery rate that can help you effortlessly recover files from external hard drive, such as USB flash drive, HDD, SSD, etc., preserving the original formats/filenames/directories.

● It is perfectly compatible with NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, ReFS in Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows Server.
● In addition to accidental deletion, it is also applicable to various data loss scenarios such as accidental deletion, disk formatting, system crash, and virus attack.
● What’s more, if you have emptied the Recycle Bin, it can help you recover permanently deleted files from external hard drive.
● ADR for Windows supports recover more than 200 types of data, including documents (TXT, PPT, PDF, DOC, etc.), images, videos, audios, texts, etc.

Download this tool to see how to easily recover deleted files from external hard drive.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer, open MyRecover, hover the mouse over the drive and click Scan to scan.

external hard drive start scan

Step 2. If you find the file you want to recover, instead of waiting for the process to complete, just select the file and click Recover x files.

external hard drive recover files

Beware of losing data from external hard drive

After trying the above solutions, you should be able to view and use your external hard drive data again. In order to protect your external hard drive data and avoid further data loss, here are some tips you can keep in mind.

❌ Do not connect external hard drives to virus-infected devices.
⚙️ Take a regular backup of external hard drive data.
➡️ Verify files before deleting or formatting external hard drives.
🖥️ Run proper antivirus software to scan your device regularly.
👊 Safe ejection after using an external hard drive.

Frequently asked questions about external hard drive data recovery 

1. Where do deleted files from external hard drive go?

Generally, an external hard drive has its own hidden Recycle Bin where deleted files are stored. Also, deleting files from an external hard drive without any backup is the same as using the Shift+Delete keys to permanently delete files from a hard drive, empty the Recycle Bin, etc.

2. How can I recover deleted files from my external hard drive after formatting?

You can use backup to recover deleted files from a formatted hard drive, but if you don't have a backup external hard drive, you can let MyRecover help you.

3. Is it possible to recover data from a wiped hard drive?

Yes, it is possible to recover data from a wiped hard drive. When data is deleted from the hard drive, it is not wiped. Instead, the positions of the bytes that make up documents, files, etc. are removed, meaning the data itself is still there.

To Wrap Up

That’s all about accidentally deleted data from external hard drive. When you accidentally delete a file on an external hard drive, you can retrieve it from the Recycle Bin first, or use File History, CMD to recover. However, it is better to use free data recovery software such as MyRecover.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.