Complete Guide: Recover Files After Low Level Format

Theoretically, it’s not possible to recover files after low-level format. But there are still some possible situations. Let’s dive into it!


By Ivy / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Can Data be Recovered after a Low-Level Format?

"I recently formatted my hard drive, using a low-level format rather than a quick format, and realized there was still some important data on it after formatting. I am looking for a way to recover files from a formatted hard drive, and many software claims that they can handle this problem well. So, is it really possible to recover files after a low-level format?"

Recover Files After Low Level Format

What Is Low-Level Format?

Formatting is a little help to fix disk errors and works well in most cases. When you perform a format, whether it’s in File Explore, Disk Management or using the format fs=ntfs quick command, you are using the high-level format method. Then, what is a low-level format?

The low-level format nowadays is essential for “zero filling” a drive, directly writing to disk sectors, and erasing all the data. Usually, you need to use third-party low-level format software, such as HDD Low-Level Format, or tools provided by its disk manufacturer. The process destroys the data structure and makes data recovery seem impossible. So please don’t use this format method under normal circumstances.

Overview of Low-Level Format Data Recovery

As the low-level format process will last a long time, there might still be a slim chance of recovering files after low-level format. Here are 3 possible situations:

1. Incomplete formatting: You actually did the format but cancel this process.

2. Interrupted process: The formatting process was halted or interrupted due to power failure or other unexpected reasons.

3. Partial data removal: The formatting process failed and the data sectors didn’t get wiped completely.

How to Recover Files After Incomplete Low-Level Format 

If you are in the above 3 situations, you can perform low-level recovery with the right methods and get some of your data back.

Way 1: Recover Data using Data Recovery Software

MyRecover, one of the best Windows data recovery software, is equipped with Quick Scan and Deep Scan methods, which can thoroughly search all sectors of data and recover them in a short time. The success rate is up to 95%.

  • 200+ file recovery types: recover Word documents/Excel/PPT, photos, audio, videos, emails, webpages, compressed files, etc.
  • Selective file recovery: recover files from a specific folder or device with its Filter feature.
  • Humanized: keep the recovered files with their original path, filename, format, and quality, depending on the type of your storage device.
  • Multi-storage device compatible: support internal or external disks, USB drives, SD cards, etc
  • All-inclusive data loss scenarios: handle data loss due to accidental deletion, disk format, virus infection, etc.

Now please download this data recovery software on your Windows PC. You can then follow the steps below to recover data after low-level format.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1: Install and launch powerful data recovery software - MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.

Select Partition To Scan

Step 2: It will run two advanced scanning methods automatically and display all the found files on the selected disk. You can filter and preview files in the disk. Here are two methods:

  • Click Filter and select a file type, such as Documents. Then, type file name or file extension in the Search for files or folders box.
  • Expand the Deleted Files, Recycle Bin, or Other Missing Files tab and check the deleted or lost files on the formatted disk.

Scan Lost Data

Step 3: Select all the deleted or lost files on the formatted disk and click the Recover x files button. You will then be asked to select a location. Please select a new location instead of the original location.

Select Deleted Excel Files Click Recover


  • The restore button will display the number of selected files and their full size. You can use it to determine the integrity of the recovered files.
  • Saving the recovered files to original location may cause data corruption or further data loss.
  • You can recover data from formatted disk free, up to 500MB. To recover all files on it, try advanced editions.

Except for low-level format recovery, you can also recover data from quick format, recover files from a damaged hard drive, etc.

Way 2: Contact a Professional Data Recovery Service

It’s also worth trying a data recovery service. They usually offer skilled staff & technical equipment and are able to handle recovery tasks in different devices efficiently. However, their prices are much higher than data recovery software. Geek Squad, for example, will cost you $49.99 for an initial consultation and $200 for the most basic recovery.

Geek Squad Recovery

Step 1: Contact the desired data recovery service (eg: Geek Squad) and explain your data loss scenarios. Or directly bring your device and go to the nearby Best Buy store for an initial consultation.

Step 2: You will get an estimate if your drive is recoverable. If you agree, they will attempt to recover data after low-level format in the Store or send your drive to a service center for data recovery. The recovery time depends on your data amount and device type.

Step 3: After successful retrieval, Geek Squad will return your device along with the final bill, which you settle directly with the agent. Don’t forget to check the recovered files before paying.

Protecting Data from Low-Level Formatting

Instead of looking for a way to recover files after low-level format, you should find a reliable way to protect your data. Using professional Windows backup software to create copies of your files on a regular basis would be a wise choice. We strongly recommend you using AOMEI Backupper Standard.

  • It enables you to backup files, system, partition, or entire disk.
  • With its Schedule Backup feature, you can run this backup task daily, weekly or monthly.
  • Try its plug-and-pull USB plug in feature if your device is a USB drive.
  • You can also backup only changed files with incremental or differential backup to save much disk space.
  • As for the destination path, it supports external drive, USB drive, network drive, NAS, cloud drive, etc.

Just download this Windows backup software to have a try. You can back up files to any recognized device with its File Backup feature. Select it under the Backup tab and follow the on-screen instructions to select files and the destination folder. Finally, click Start Backup to make a full backup of your files.

File Backup


By following the aforementioned guidelines and considering both data recovery and protection solution, you can navigate the complexities of low-level format scenarios and effectively safeguard your valuable data.

Usually, recovering files after low-level format is not possible. But if the process is not complete or failed, there is still a slim chance, you can seek data recovery software or service for help. Remember, prevention is key, and regular data backups provide peace of mind in the face of potential data loss.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.