Guide: How to Recover Data from Uninitialized Disks?

Get efficient ways to recover data from uninitialized disks and initialize disks in this article. Besides, there’re related tips for you to prevent data loss.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

What does it mean when a drive is not initialized?

So are you wondering what "initialize disk" means? In brief, disk initialization is the process of creating the partition table using MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table).

You can create & format individual partitions after building a partition table during the disk startup procedure. Then the storage device can be prepared for use.  


If you cannot see the disk in Windows File Explorer and it’s listed in Disk Management as Not Initialized, this disk might not have a valid disk signature.

In this scenario, drive formatting has somehow become damaged, or your disk was never formatted/initialized.

If I initialize a disk will it be erased?

Some users said they’ve received error messages as shown above, and have been asked to initialize or format disks.


But does initializing a disk erase data? Undoubtedly, disk initialization definitely could erase everything on your disk because this action prepares the disk for use by Windows.

To be more precise, after initializing this disk, you’re allowed to format it and store files on it.

In conclusion, if the disk saves your important files, remember not to initialize this disk.

Part 1. How to recover data from uninitialized disks?

There exists a possibility to recover data from drives not initialized because you never wiped out all the existing disk data. Please read on. 

Recover data from uninitialized disks via data recovery software

Though it seems there’s no data to recover detected from this uninitialized drive, please assign a new drive letter to this drive with the Disk Management utility before Windows data recovery.

When it comes to problems about how to recover data from uninitialized disks, you can seek help from one of the best Windows data recovery tools like MyRecover to recover data.

Supported by AOMEI Tech, MyRecover can deal with deletion, disk formatting, system crash, and other data loss scenarios.

Powerful features & friendly design of MyRecover:
  • Powerful features: Recover deleted & lost Word, Excel, PPT, folders, compressed files, photos, songs, videos, audio, websites, and other 200+ file types from internal/external hard drives, SSD, USB, etc.  
  • Easy-to-find: During Quick and Deep Scan, you can quickly locate your desired files by Filename, Path, Date, Size, etc.
  • Convenient: Retain the original Path, Filename, and Format for the deleted files.
  • Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems and be compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Windows Server PC.
Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. After launching MyRecover on your Windows PC, hover the uninitialized drive (which shows the whole capacity) > click Scan.


Step 2. Filter your needed data according to Name, Date, Document Type, or Path.

  • Name: Type the filenames of your desired files to narrow the search area.
  • Date modified: Set the date according to your situation (today, yesterday, the last 7/30 days, etc).
  • Size: Filter the file size based on your needs (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, etc).


Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Recycle Bin/Other Missing Files folder and choose your desired files. Then click “Recover x files” to begin Windows data recovery.


  • After recovery, please remember to save these retrieved files in a new saved path.
  • To recover a large number of deleted or missing files from your hard drives with no effort, consider upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition.

Part 2. How to initialize disks via Disk Management?

Let’s part guides you to initialize hard drives using Disk Management if you need it.

Step 1. Press “Win + X” and select the “Disk Management” option to open this utility.


Step 2. After seeing all the disks/partitions on your PC, right-click on your uninitialized disk and select the “Initialize Disk” option.


Step 3. Choose “MBR” or “GPT” as you prefer. To some degree, GPT is a better choice. Then click “OK” to save these changes.


If you want to rebuild the MBR of your initialized disk, why not help from the powerful and free AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard? Only three steps can help you.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and launch it. Then right-click on your selected unformatted disk and choose the “Rebuild MBR” option.


Step 2. Choose the operating system you’re using and click the “OK” button.


Step 3. On the main interface, click Apply > Proceed.


In the end

Are you wondering how to recover data from uninitialized disks? This article helps you figure out what does initialize disk mean and get the recommended tool, MyRecover to recover deleted & missing files from uninitialized disks.

If you’re unwilling to suffer the second damage, why not consider utilizing this free backup software for Windows, AOMEI Backupper to protect your files, disks, partitions, or systems?

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.