How to Recover Files from External Hard Drive

Tracy King updated on Sep 16, 2020 to Resource | How-to Articles


The most effective way to recover data from an external hard drive is to use data recovery software. Among the numerous options, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard outranks its equivalents and becomes the most popular choice of users. Download and use it to safely and quickly restore your external hard drive data right now.

Causes of Data Loss on External Hard Drive
2 Ways to Recover Files from External Hard Drive
How to Avoid Data Loss on External Hard Drive

Causes of Data Loss on an External Hard Drive

Nobody can guarantee absolute data safety of a storage drive since we may encounter external hard drive data loss problems due to various reasons on a daily basis. Knowing the exact reasons about how we get data lost may help us a lot when it comes to how to perfrom data recovery:

  • Virus attack
  • Accidental file deletion or formatting
  • Critical file system structures loss or corruption
  • Unexpected system shutdown or application failure
  • Partition structures are damaged or lost.
  • Damage due to a power failure or surge.
  • Other unknown reasons

Any of the above situations is dangerous to our data stored on the external hard disk. If you have lost your data due to one of the reasons, no worry, learn how to recover files from your external hard drive from the paragraphs below right now.

Once you find you have lost data on an external hard drive, stop using it because new data is highly likely to overwrite the lost data, which will make the lost files unrecoverable.

How to Restore Data from External Hard Drive in 2 Ways

To securely restore external hard disk data, two ways are frequently used. The easiest way to recover data from an external hard drive is to use one of the best data recovery software for Windows. For users who want to perform data recovery without software, the method to recover files from external hard drive using CMD is also provided. Follow either method offered below to get your problem solved.

Method 1. Restore External Hard Drive Data with Data Recovery Software

Professional hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help to restore data from an external hard drive lost due to accidentally formatting, deleting data, virus attack or other reasons. It supports all brands such as Buffalo, WD, Seagate, Toshiba, Samsung, Lacie, Silicon, ADATA and more. Follow the video tutorial or the detailed steps below to recover data from your external hard disk immediately:

3 Steps to Restore Data from External Hard disk:

Step 1. Choose the external hard drive

Since you're going to recover data from the external hard drive, run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and under the External Devices tab, choose the exact drive where you lost data. Click Scan.

select external hard drive

Step 2. Scan for lost data

The software will start immediately to scan all over the selected drive for all lost data. During the scan, you could see more and more data showing up in the results.

scan external hard drive

Step 3. Preview and recover data

After the scan is over, check the scan results for the desired data. You can preview the file by double-clicking on it. Click Recover and choose another location to save the recovered data.

preview and recover data

Method 2. Recover Files from External Hard Drive Using CMD

Like you can use Command Prompt to recover files from formatted USB, you can also use CMD to restore external hard drive data.

Step 1. Press "Win + R" keys or go to Search and type: cmd, hit "Enter" to open the Command Prompt window.

Step 2. Type: chkdsk F: /f and hit "Enter". (Replace F with the drive letter of the external hard drive.)

Step 3. Type: Y and hit "Enter" to continue.

Step 4. Type: F and hit "Enter" again.

Step 5. Type: F:\>attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.* and hit "Enter".

After this, you shall be able to view and check all data on the external hard drive. If command prompt is not working on your computer, use method 1 instead.

How to recover files from external hard drive using CMD

In addition to the two methods above, some users ask help from manual data recovery services, which is much more expensive than using the ways presented here (learn more about hard drive recovery cost). In order to save your time and money spent on recover data from an external hard drive, you can't miss EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Besides, since data loss on different devices occurs almost daily, it's really a wise choice for you to equip your computer with such a powerful tool, which will help you retrieve your lost data as soon as possible and minimize your loss. 

How to Avoid Complete Data Loss on External Hard Drive

Whether the storage device is an external hard drive or SD card, you should regularly back it up. Although you can recover lost files with data recovery software, it's always better to nip it in the bud.

To back up an external hard disk, free backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup is the most popular choice. With it, you can make an image file of the content on your storage device and quickly recover it whenever you need. With the backup software and the data recovery software, you provide a double guarantee for the safety of your critical data. Don't hesitate to try the unmissable tool for free.

Recover Data from External Hard Disk Related Questions & Answers

Common data loss scenarios are relatively easy to handle, and EaseUS hard drive data recovery software can help recover 99% deleted and lost data from an external hard disk. However, there are still some concerns from people that this article may not cover. For example:

1. How much does it cost to recover data from an external hard drive?

Usually, the price for such recovery varies from $500 to $1000. If the drive isn't physically damaged but there is a logical error, you can try a DIY approach by using data recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. The price to recover data from external hard drives using EaseUS software is much lower than the manual data recovery service.

2. How can I recover data from external hard drive not recognized?

First, connect your external hard drive to another computer and test if it is the USB port problem. If it works on another computer, you should fix the USB port. Otherwise, check the external hard drive connection in Disk Management, and use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizar to recover data from the not recognized external hard drive.

3. Can you retrieve data from a dead external hard drive?

Yes, you can easily recover data from a dead external hard drive by using EaseUS bootable data recovery software. By creating a bootable USB, CD/DVD disc, you can boot your computer normally and perform full data recovery in three steps.

Full guide: How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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