By Lora / Last update May 7, 2022

"How can I recover my data from hard disk?"

Backblaze released quarterly hard disk failure statistics in May 2021. The annualized failure rate of nearly 200,000 hard disks reached 0.85%, which shows how many users are at risk of data loss. Let’s see some specific examples.


Dear Team, I have 2 TB Segate external hard disk, which I could not access for few months, but now when I connect it to computer I am not able to access the data, it says that the hard disk has unrecognizable file system. I need to backup this disk data. Kindly guide me to recover data. Thanks.


- Question from Reddit


How to recover data from hard drive? It is not a seldom asked question. Taking the case above as an example, it is quite obvious to see that they encountered a formatted partition recovery issue or a RAW partition recovery problem, facing upsetting data loss.

The priority for them to take into consideration is to perform hard disk data recovery. But before offering the solution recommendation, a basic understanding of data recovery is necessary.

Overview of data recovery from hard disk

To get a basic impression of data recovery, let’s get started with the definition of it. And then the possibility of performing hard disk data recovery will be elaborated in the second part.

Definition of hard disk data recovery

When it comes to data recovery, we are referring to the process of retrieving the deleted, lost, inaccessible, damaged, or formatted data from storage devices.

Generally, data loss takes place under certain circumstances, you may have accidentally deleted partition, or run into virus intrusion, OS failure, file system corruption caused by logical damage/physical damage.

When users are confronted with logical, or physical damage to the device, they may meet an unbootable system, some failure or error warnings, vanished partitions, or drives.

Possibility of hard disk data recovery


If there is physical damage caused by the act of God or poor maintenance to the storage device, the device may go through some hardware failures such as head crash, platter scratch, firm corruption, PCB burn or so.

As a device with a relatively sophisticated internal structure, the hard disk needs to be used carefully and maintained regularly, otherwise, it is easy to meet with physical damage under collision, strong pressure, high temperature, dusty, and humid environments.

However, it does not mean that a physically damaged hard drive is not recoverable. When your device runs into physical damage, the very first course of action is to turn to a professional recovery service near you that is equipped with sophisticated and experienced technicians.

If there is logical damage on your hard drive, the errors do not occur in the hardware but the software. So correspondingly, data loss caused by logical damage requires a software-level remedy. Manifestations of logical damage are partition table error, file system error, etc., resulting in unreadable or inaccessible data.

The same, it does not mean those data is never recoverable. When the data is deleted or wiped, it is only removed from the directory, which means the files physically stays in the original position until it is overwritten by new data.

The very most we need to avoid is data being overwritten by new data. Once the data is overwritten, it can be said that files are never retrievable. Then how can we recover data from hard disk? The remedy you need is provided in the next part.

How to recover data from hard drive?

To perform hard disk recovery, turning to an official tool is an advisable choice. Windows File Recovery here could be of some help. By utilizing a program you can retrieve your lost data with a high recovery rate.

This tool could not only recover deleted data from a healthy hard disk, but also from a corrupted or formatted hard disk.

But the only fly in the ointment is that it is a command-line app. Without a graphical user interface, this tool is way too difficult to handle for those who do not possess any IT knowledge or troubleshooting experience.

If you need an easier way to recover data from hard drive, please refer to the end part of this section. Now, to use this tool, figuring out some notions is necessary.

File System: the way your Operating System uses to store and retrieve the data.
Source drive: the location where you lost your files. You might specify a single folder or offer a broad range, such as the C: drive.
Target place: where you'll put your recovered files, must be different from the source disk.
Recovery mode: general: Regular & Extensive; advanced: Segment & Signature.
Switch: parameters to narrow or limit the scanning range.

To recover data from hard drive using Windows File Recovery, a recovery mode and switches should be used. First, check your File System. Go to “This PC” > right-click on the drive that has lost files > “Properties”.


To decide which recovery mode to use, check the table below.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

To filter the scanning, refer to this chart.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recover specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS

Now you could follow the guide here to get back lost files and data.

If asked whether allow the app to make changes to your device, please click “Yes”.
To fix the error "Windows File Recovery failed to create destination folder", please get help.

Step 1. Download Windows File Recovery from Microsoft Store.


Step 2. Start it, input the command line according to your situation. Refer to this command line template:

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

Let's take an example. If you need to recover pictures under the folder "\Users\ashe\pics\" from C: drive to D: drive, then the command will go:

winfr C: D: /n \Users\ashe\pics\*. jpg


Step 3. After the scanning and processing, a recovery folder will be created in the destination. Thus you will have successfully carried out hard disk data recovery.

If you find it too difficult to handle Windows File Recovery, what to do? How to get rid of complex commands?

You might as well take advantage of a free & easy tool - WinfrGUI.

WinfrGUI -Free & Easy Windows File Recovery software

Recovers deleted media files, Office files, ZIP files & more in Windows 10/11 in a breeze.

Download Freeware Win 10 2004 and above
Secure Download

You could also use this freeware to recover deleted files from Recycle Bin after empty.

This tool completely invokes the function of Windows File Recovery. No guarantee of a 100% success rate.
The source drive could not be the same as the target drive.
It is recommended to store your recovered files on an external storage device.
Quick Scan only supports NTFS. Use Deep Scan to recover files from a non-NTFS hard disk.

Step 1. Install and start WinfrGUI. Select the partition where your files are lost, then select a place to store your recovered files.


Step 2. Choose a scanning method. If you need to specify the folder or file type, click "Advanced Settings".


Step 3. Click "Start Recovery" to get all your files and data back in a breeze.


How can we recover data from hard disks and keep its original format/name/path?

Windows File Recovery requires knowledge of command lines, and WinfrGUI, which invokes the function of Windows File Recovery, cannot provide a high recovery rate to users. Facing this, users might want to find another professional data recovery utility.

AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows can meet your needs. This tool is equipped with efficient and advanced scanning tech and algorithms, scanning hard disks for deleted and lost data within several minutes.

Software shining points:

  • Retrieve deleted data from the hard disk with its original filename, directory, and format intact.
  • Solve data loss issues in comprehensive causes - deletion, disk formatting, system crash, virus attack, etc.
  • Get 200+ types of data back within 3 steps.
  • Scan and locate missing and deleted data quickly and safely.

Download AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows now to start Windows data recovery.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and run the software > select a location to start data recovery > click  Start Scan.


Step 2. The software will automatically Quick Scan and Deep Scan your partition and list all the deleted and missing files.


Step 3.  Select the files you need > click Recover x files to restore them.


Using this tool, it will be an easy task to recover permanently deleted files.


In this article, you can find the answer to the question of how can we recover data from hard disks. Generally speaking, it is not that easy to perform hard disk data recovery.

But in the face of data loss on a hard disk, there is no need to panic, the first course of action is to leave the drive intact once your data is gone, just like protecting the crime scene and do no more writing in action to the drive to prevent the precious files from being overwritten.

Then you could turn to Windows File Recovery, or you might as well choose another easy freeware - WinfrGUI to get back your lost files.

What’s more, to get rid of future risks, you might as well form a habit of taking backup operations. At this time, making use of a third-party tool is also recommended. Here the utility “Disk Backup”, "File Backup", etc. of AOMEI Backupper can help you out.