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How to Recover USB Hard Drive

When creating bootable Windows PE media, USB Hard Disk reformatted instead of USB Drive.  Now my backup file is gone along with all other files on the external USB Hard Drive.  Can I recover, or am I out of luck?


  • edited April 2023
    Yes, we all make mistakes, and in the future, when formatting a USB, you could safely eject and unplug unnecessary external disks to be sure they are not accidentally formatted.
    When performing data recovery, always clone the disk using exact sector-by-sector method to another empty disk, then begin attempting data recovery on the clone, not on the original. After cloning the disk, you could use Partition Assistant to attempt to recover the partitions, or you could use other utilities. Here are some links for you.
    How to attempt to recover deleted partitions with Partition Assistant
    Partition Assistant WinPE USB:
    Add custom drivers, such as NVMe, if necessary

    Free tools not from Aomei:

    Hirens Boot PE - live USB tool suite
    To add custom drivers, such as NVMe, simply put them into the “CustomDrivers” folder. Hirens is not recommended in combination with Ventoy USB.

    Stellar Data Recovery
    Recuva - data recovery

  • Thanks.   My external drive has 3TB capacity.   After mistakenly creating the boot drive using Aomei it now only shows under 200 GB when i look at properties. I scanned it with a recovery tool (didn't do anything yet,  just scanned), so it's not seeing the full capacity of the extension drive.   I'll have to clone the whole drive,  so i'd have to go buy a new 3 TB drive to do that,  I guess.   I have to read through the sites you sent and figure this all out. Ugh.  I know better.  It was late at night.   I should have quit and waited until i was fresh in the morning.  Thanks again for your time and assistance. 
  • edited April 2023
    If your internal drive is larger than 3TB, you could create an image of the disk, and perform data recovery on the image. There are many tools to create images, but remember, it must be an exact sector-by-sector image creation, not an intelligent sector. One way you will know it is using exact sector method, is that it will take an extremely long time to create.
    If you prefer to buy a physical disk, this is the one I recommend.
    Sandisk Extreme Pro Portable NVMe USB:

  • I'm sorry Skipick, after posting that link, I discovered Sandisk no longer sells the 4TB version of that disk.
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