How to Recover Lost Data from Hard Drives | MiniTool Tutorial [Help]

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About Data Recovery

Data Recovery is designed to recover files from the logically damaged partition, formatted partition, and RAW partition as well as to recover files mistakenly deleted from internal or external hard drives.

Besides, many computer users may have encountered partition loss due to some reasons like system update, hard drive failure, OS corruption, etc. And certainly, data in the partition is lost. Lost partition will be shown in the main interface of Data Recovery, and users can scan the lost partition to recover lost or deleted files after partition loss or deletion.

How to Recover Lost Data from Hard Drive

Note: Data Recovery feature is only available in MiniTool Partition Wizard Pro Ultimate and above edition. For more information, you can check MiniTool Partition Wizard Edition Comparison.

Step 1. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to get its main interface.

Step 2. To recover files from hard drive, click Data Recovery on the top Tool Bar.

Data Recovery

Step 3. After launching Data Recovery function, users will enter the following interface where all the detected disk partitions are arrayed by drive letters.

5 parts on Data Recovery

Here Data Recovery will list 5 parts, and every part is different from each other.

  1. Recovery Result: this section will show the last scanning result record and you can manually load scanning result to check recovered files directly.
  2. Logical Drive: this section will show all existing partitions on users’ disk, including removable devices like USB drive. For partitions that do not have drive letters, they are arranged at the end of the list.
  3. Lost Partition: this section will show all lost partitions detected by Data Recovery, and then users can retrieve data from lost partitions.
  4. Unallocated Space: this section will show all unallocated spaces on users’ computer.
  5. Hard Disk: this section will list all hard disks on the computer. Users can also select a hard disk to scan.

Then, Users can select a partition and click Scan. Here I take partition E as an example.

click Scan

Kindly reminder:

If the target partition is not listed, please click the refresh icon on the top to refresh this interface. If users want to recover some specified file types on certain partitions, use Settings option near the Scan button to help. This way can save some scanning time.

5 parts on Data Recovery

Step 4. See! This software is scanning the selected partition. And it can find the lost or deleted files while scanning. If users have found crucial data, they can click icons in the red box to pause or stop the scan process for instant data recovery.

Note: Right-click a partition and choose Data Recovery from the pop-up Windows will get the following interface directly.

pause or stop the recovery

Step 5. After completing the scan, users need to find files they need. Then, check some items and click Save button.

save needed files

Tip: This software allows previewing 70 kinds of files of which each should be smaller than 100MB.

review view the image

Besides, to quickly find needed files, MiniTool Partition Wziard's Data Recovery offers the following options to users, which can help to find needed files very quickly.

Type

In type section, all the found files will be displayed by file type. Just unfold a file type and choose certain items of this type to recover.

type in Data Recovery

Show Lost Files

This option helps users find the lost files quickly. Just click Show Lost Files button to make the software only show you the lost files.

show lost files

Find

This option allows users to input the specific file name so as to quickly find the needed file. Just click Find button, type the file name and click Find finally. For an exact search, users can check Match Case or Match Word.

  • The Match Case option requires users to pay attention to the capital and small letter of file name.
  • The Match Word option requires users to type the complete file name including file extension.
  • If there is more than one file that matches the searching condition, after clicking Find button, users can click Find Next button to check whether it is the one you want.

click Find

Filter

This Filter option enables users to search files by filename/extension, file size, creation or modification date. Besides, users can also choose to show deleted, lost or normal files according to their needs. Just click Filter button, and make some advanced settings in the pop-up window.

click filter

Step 6. Finally, choose a directory to save selected files. It is recommended to save the recovered files on another drive. Otherwise, the lost/deleted data could be overwritten.

save files to another drive

Kindly reminder:

If users don't want to perform the recovery operation right now or have some problems when using this software, Export Scan Result option helps them to export the scan result to avoid a new scan. Click this feature, add a file name for the .rss file and export it to a location.

export scan result

Next time when users open Data Recovery, just use Load Manually feature on the main interface to upload the scan result directly so that they don’t need to rescan the drive for recovery.

load recovery result manually

Apart from that, Data Recovery will keep the last time scanning result. Click the partition you scanned last time in the Recovery Result section and then choose Load Result, users will get the last time scanning result.

load result of last time scanning

These instructions could help you quickly find and recover files in Data Recovery under different cases.

Note:
  • Please do not write any new files to the drive from which you want to retrieve deleted data, for doing this may overwrite the files which have been deleted.
  • Please do not save recovered files to the original drive, because this may also overwrite deleted data.
  • Overwritten files can’t be recovered anymore.

How to Quickly Find and Recover Deleted Files

Run Data Recovery, and choose the partition where your lost data is originally saved to scan. In our test, we select partition E: to scan.

choose the target partition to scan

After the scanning is completed, you’ll see the scanning result interface:

the scanning result

In this window, you can find and save files from one of the following 4 locations:

1. Original Folder Tree

original path

In general, you could find the deleted items from the original path. Please double-click each partition to view contents, and in most cases, you can find needed files from the first partition (Existing Partition). The deleted items are always marked with red "x". Of course, you may find them from other partitions in addition to the first partition.

2. $Dir Folders in the Lost Files Folder

$Dir Folders

If you can’t find your needed files from the original path, please double click the Lost Files folder in each partition and view files in the $Dir folders. The deleted items are always saved in $Dir folders if they are not in original path.

3. Recycle Bin Folder

If lost files were originally saved on HDD, you can also check the Recycle Bin folder, as the following screenshot shows:

Recycle Bin folder

4. More Lost Files Folder

expand More Lost Files folder

Just double click the More Lost Files folder and recover specified types of files. Files saved in this folder are found by directly scanning data area (bypass file system), so they will lose original names, and you need to recover them to a different drive to view the contents.

How to Quickly Find and Recover Files from Formatted Drive

Run Data Recovery, and then select the formatted drive to scan. In the test, we formatted E:, so we choose it to scan:

select the formatted partition to scan

After the scanning is completed, you’ll see the following interface:

scanning result

Please double click each partition to view contents. If you can find files from the original folder tree, just choose needed files and save them to another drive. But in most cases, there is no folder tree found, and you can only see the Lost Files folder after opening a partition. Please double-click the Lost Files folder, and then view files in the $Dir folders. In our test, we find desired files from $Dir folders:

view files in the $Dir folders

You can also find and save files from the More Lost Files folder.

save files from the More Lost Files folder

Please choose specified types of files and save them to another drive.

How to Quickly Find and Recover Files from Damaged/Inaccessible Drive

Firstly, please run Data Recovery and select the damaged or inaccessible drive to scan:

select the damaged or inaccessible drive to scan

After the scanning is completed, you'll see the following interface:

the scanning result

Please double click each partition to view contents. If you can find needed files from the original folder tree, that’s great. Just choose and save needed files to another drive. But in most cases, users have to recover data from the More Lost Files folder:

recover data from the More Lost Files folder

Please choose specified types of files and save them to another drive.

How to Quickly Find and Recover Files from Lost Drive

Firstly, please run Data Recovery and see whether you can find the lost drive from the Lost Partition module:

select the lost partition

If found, just select the lost drive to scan. If not, please click the Hard Disk Drive tab, and choose the whole hard disk to scan:

choose the whole hard disk to scan

After the scanning is completed, you’ll see the following window:

the scanning result

Please double click each partition to browse contents in either the original path or the Lost Files folder. If you can find desired files from one of those partitions, just save them to another drive. But if you can't find needed files, please double click the More Lost Files folder, and save specified types of files to another drive.

Tip: Files saved in the More Lost Files folder are found bypassing files system, so they will lose original names, and users need to recover them to a different drive to view contents.

How to Perform RAW Scan

In some cases, you are suggested to do a RAW scan using Data Recovery. This always happens when the program gets stuck in the process of rebuilding the virtual file system. After RAW scan, all files found will be listed in a drive named ALL RAW Files.

To perform a RAW scan, please run Data Recovery, find the existing partition/lost partition/unallocated space to be recovered and go to Settings. Then uncheck all the file systems before scanning the desired.

uncheck all the file systems

However, if RAW scan also fails to display useful data, that means there is no data our program can recognize or the disk read failed.

Tip: The RAW scan does not work for Hard Disk Drive module where you will have to select at least one file system.

FAQ when Using Data Recovery

1. How to recover files from ESD-USB drive?

ESD-USB drives are usually caused by burning Windows to an external hard drive. And then you get a hard drive with 32GB FAT32 partition followed by unallocated space taking up all the rest disk space. To recover data from ESD-USB drives, please make sure you are select the whole disk drive (in Hard Disk Drive module) instead of selecting the 32GB partition or the unallocated space to have a scan.

2. How to recover data from BitLocker encrypted hard drive?

Data Recovery cannot recover data from BitLocker encrypted hard drive unless you decrypt in advance.

3. How long will it take to complete the scan process?

The time required to scan a drive depends on many factors, such as how many data you saved in this drive and the current status of the drive.

4. Got the error message "failed to find any file system information from the specified device", and no files are found.

Most probably your device has physical issues. In this case, please take a screenshot to show us your disk layout in Windows Disk Management or use hard drive testing tools like CrystalDiskInfo to see whether your hard drive has physical issues.

5. Why the program found a lot of partitions?

When our program finds a file system track, after scanning it will show it as a partition no matter the file system is intact or not. If it finds 10 file system tracks, it will show 10 partitions. If the file system is intact, all files in this partition will be shown correctly. If file system is incomplete or corrupted, all files will be in the RAW Files folder and lose their original name.

Files in the All RAW Files partition are found over the file system, so they lose original names and date info.

6. What does RAW Files mean?

RAW Files means that all files in it are found over file system, so they lose original names and date info. How does this occur? Well, when our program found files form incomplete or corrupted file systems, all files will be in the RAW Files folder.

7. What does $Dir file mean?

$Dir files are found from NTFS file system and the file record gets corrupted. When our program cannot find the parent directory of a file, that file will be included in a $Dir folder.

8. Why recovered files lost original names and are shown as file1, file2, file3…

In general, there are 2 causes for this issue:

1) Errors occurred during the process of scanning. In this case, please rescan the drive.

2) File system is damaged. In this case, the original folder structure can't be restored.

9. The program said it saved files successfully, but I just found an empty folder.

In general, there are 4 causes for this issue:

1) There is not enough free space on the drive to save the file. Please double-check the unused space of the drive.

2) There are errors in the path selected for recovered files. In this case, please right-click an individual file and recover it to the root directory of a drive to see whether it is there. If you have already closed the program, you can relaunch, choose the function you used to scan the drive and load previous scanning results.

3) Errors occurred during scan. In this case, please rescan the drive and then save an individual file to see whether it is there.

4) File system of the drive you used to save recovered files isn't supported by Windows. Please try saving files to an NTFS or FAT32 partition.

10. Recovered files can't open in any other supported programs.

In general, there are 3 causes for this issue:

1) There are errors in the path selected for recovered files. In this case, please right-click an individual file and recover it to the root directory of a drive to see whether it can open correctly. If you have already closed the program, you can run it again, choose the function you used to scan the drive and load previous scanning results.

2) Errors occurred during scan. In this case, please rescan the drive and save an individual file to see whether it can open.

3) The file got damaged before recovery. Data Recovery can only recover lost/deleted files but can't repair damaged files.

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