4 Ways to Recover Data from Hard Drive Free

4 free ways are given to recover data from hard drive in this post, including using CMD tool and AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows.


By Bryce / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Here's the thing. I changed the computer before, so I dismantled the hard drive of the laptop and transferred the data on it to the new computer, then I put the hard drive back and formatted it. Presently I want to take out the hard drive once more to move the data, and I observe that the documents on the F drive where I saved the files are disappeared. What can I do to recover the hard drive files?

- Question from Reddit.com

How to recover data from hard drive for free

The hard drive is used for storing computer files. So, it plays an important role in the use of the computer. But sometimes, accidental deletion, formatting, crashing, and failures may all cause the loss of hard drive files. This is something we don't want to see, and there are 4 ways in the passage to recover data from hard drive Windows on 10/11.

How to retrieve your hidden files with CMD

Sometimes files on the hard drive are not lost but hidden. We can retrieve hidden files with CMD.

Step 1. Go to Start, type Command Prompt in the search bar and click Enter.

Step 2. Open it, and choose Run as administrator.

Step 3. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d F:\*.* (F refers to the disk where your file is located) and press Enter to retrieve hidden files.

Attrib Command

Regain the data using CHKDSK

When you have lost files on your hard disk, you can use Check Disk, it can display the status of the disk and restore your lost files.

Step 1. Enter the CMD in the search bar.

Step 2. Click Command Prompt, and choose Run as administrator.

Step 3. Type chkdsk “drive letter”: /f /r /x, and press Enter.


Utilize Windows File Recovery restore hard drive data

CMD tool Windows File Recovery was released by Microsoft in 2020, and people are able to use it to recover data. However, It does not provide an intuitive operation interface, so it is difficult to use.

First of all, You ought to learn some strange parameters.

Source drive

where you have lost your files

Destination drive

the place that you store your recovered files


regular & extensive


narrow the scanning range

File system

the way your OS uses to store and retrieve the data

Then, choose the correct mode according to the table below.


You can check your file system like this: Click This PC > Right-click the source drive > Tap the Properties.

Check File System

Next, select a suitable switch depending on the mode.


▪ Note: The source drive and destination drive can’t be the same.

I can give you an example. If the file you want to recover is a .pdf file, you want to recover it from C: drive to E: drive. The command line is winfr C: E: /regular mode /n *.pdf. Now you can follow the process to restore your data.

Step 1. Download Windows File Recovery in Microsoft Store.


Step 2. Search it in the search box and click Run as administrator.

Run As Administrator

Step 3. Type the command prompts, and click Enter.

Retrieve data using professional GUI software

Compared with the two methods above, I recommend you to use MyRecover to recover your internal and external hard drives. It restores data with a higher success rate than CHKDSK and is simpler to operate than WFR.

◆ Wide range of use: It can not only recover data from SSD/HDD, but also support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS in Windows.
◆ Graphical interface: Users can complete data recovery according to the pictures.
◆ Multiple types recovery: It can recover multiple types of files, like Word, PPT, Excel, Photos, Videos, Audios, zip files and etc.
◆ High compatibility: It is compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows Server.

Click the button below to download and install this software.

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

Step 1. Launch MyRecover on your PC. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan to scan.

Scan Step1

Step 2.  The Quick Scan and Deep Scan can retrieve all the deleted files and other lost files on your selected hard drive.

Scan Step2

Step 3. Select a place to store the files, and click Recover x files to retrieve your desired data. 

Scan Step3

How to recover data from hard drive that won’t boot

The above methods are based on the fact that the hard disk can be started. If the hard disk cannot be started, please refer to the following methods.

Using a hard drive enclosure is one of the solutions. It's a box that puts the hard drive, and you can connect it to the computer with USB, FireWire, and eSATA ports.

Step 1. Buy an enclosure that fits your hard drive.

Step 2. Connect it to your PC, and the computer will detect it as a normal external storage device.

Step 3. Copy the data on your computer, and then you can recover data from your hard drive.

Hard Drive Enclosure


Recommended: backup your hard drive data

The success rate of recovering data is not 100%, so the best way to protect computer data is to backup. I want to introduce a professional backup tool, AOMEI Backupper.

The software also provides a graphical interface, so it is also very convenient to use. You can set the backup time, and it can automatically back up your files when the time comes. Not only that, each backup only re-backs up the changed content, which greatly saves storage space.

System Backup


Bryce · Editor
Bryce is an editor of AOMEI Technology, he covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He would like to spend all time on reaserching computer problems. He is a very cute boy.