How to Recover Data from External Hard Drive – 3 Best Ways

An external hard drive is an excellent storage solution to store any data and is easy to portable where you go. However, like other storage devices, external drives can also fail, and when they do fail, it can be a nightmare to try and figure out how to recover deleted data.

 This can be incredibly frustrating when there is no backup of the files. But this is not the end of the story, still deleted data can be recovered using the correct data recovery solution before it is permanently destroyed from the drive.

 When files are deleted, they’re just being marked for deletion before other content is stored in memory, like new files being overwritten. And because data on that drive is still there, one can open an external hard drive and start recovering their lost data by figuring out what the most recently erased

However, to make your process easier, this blog looks into different ways how to recover data from external hard drive.

The possible reason for data loss:

Several causes of data loss may occur because of several reasons, such as accidentally formatting or deleting a file. Furthermore, sudden power failure during data processing, file damage by a virus or malware attack, the most common being Ransomware, or there might be physical damage to the drive that causes data loss.

The following steps do when hard drive data is lost:

Stop using:

When your data gets deleted, your first step should be to stop using the drive. Otherwise, new files will replace or overwrite with older ones. This can make it harder to recover your deleted data if you don’t act quickly. Further, don’t format or repair the storage drive.

How to recover files from external hard drive using CMD

Command Prompt is a handy inbuilt tool that provides you with complete control of your computer by entering text commands or giving specific instructions to the system. This tool is excellent for dealing with corrupted or virus-infected external hard drives to restore data at original form.

However, CMD is not a data recovery tool like other commercial software. This is only good if files are not deleted or formatted. And they are invisible or won’t open because of virus or malware code. Or there are bad sectors on a storage drive. So, if you are facing any of these types of issues on your drive. Here’s where the real magic begins through the simple use of the CMD command.

To recover virus infected files through CMD, follow steps:

Step 1:

Connect your external storage drive with a system.

Step 2:

Type CMD in the search bar of Window or press Win key + R and type CMD; it will directly open a command prompt.

Step 3:

Now type this command in CMD: “attib -h -r -s /s /d f:*.*” and hit the enter button.

Note: Here, f means a letter of the drive, so replace it with your drive letter.

How to recover files from external hard drive using command Prompt

How to recover data from external hard drive with software

As we have already mentioned, CMD is only good to recover files from the hard drive if there are specific issues like storage is virus-infected or there are some bad sectors in the drive. To restore deleted files from an external hard drive, the user requires professional data recovery software.

We will detail here two of the best software that can be used for this purpose and how to recover deleted files from external hard drives with them.

Data recovery with Minitool

Minitool is the best professional data recovery software to recover deleted files from an internal drive and external drive. However, the free version only allows the recovery of 1GB of data. And its paid version is available, ranging between $69 – $99 for home users, which allows for more capacity and security features.

Additionally, premium packages for business users are great for recovering vast amounts of data. Please go to this page, download it, and install the tool once you have done that.

Step 1:

Connect the external drive you want to recover.

Step 2. Once that is done, you have to run it, which can be done by clicking the MiniTool power data recovery option from the Window menu.

Step 3:

Once the tool is open, now click on the hard disk drive from the left menu and click on Scan. The device will start finding the deleted files. Furthermore, this tool also allows you to recover specific files; for example, you only want to recover pictures, documents, and videos. Then click on setting, scan setting menu will open.

Now, only select desired files you want to recover. After saving the location, again click on the scan button. MiniTool will start searching previously deleted files. However, the time it will take to complete the process depends upon the data size. But in my experience, this tool is very slow in scanning and recovering the data.

minitool data recovery
MiniTool interface
minitool scan setting
MiniTool scan setting
Minitool is recovering files
MiniTool is scanning deleted files

Step 4:

Once the scanning process is finished, it will show recovered files, next select all files to restore or select according to your choice, then click on the Save button.

save minitool recoverd data (1)
Recovered files

Step 5:

The next screen will ask you for the directory location to save data.

save recovered files
Location to save files

Note: Don’t save it on the drive you’re recovering.

How to recover data using EaseUS data recovery software

EaseUS is a powerful data recovery software, but it does come at a cost. However, the good news here for people looking for a free option is that you can recover files up to 2GB, unlike MiniTool, which only allows 1GB without having to pay any cash, which is just as well when you don’t have the budget to spend on software.

Paid versions of EaseUS all start around 69$ to $99, so it might be a more convenient option to spend on this tool as it provides all the same features as other brands. First, download the software from the official website, then install it. The installation process is simple and easy, just next and next.

The process to recover files with EaseUS:

Step 1

Launch the software and select the storage drive you want to recover. And also chose a directory location to store recovered data. And then click on the scan button.

easeUS data recovery software interface

Step 2

EaseUS will start searching the deleted files, and again to say; it will take time depending on the size of the data. However, according to my experience, EaseUS is much faster than MiniTool in scanning.

easeUS data recovery software is scanning

Step 3

Once a scan has been completed, you will see the following message: “Scan completed. Select files and press recover to restore deleted files.

recover deleted files with EaseUS

Step 4

Again select the location to save files.

Location to save data


If you have lost the data or files, don’t worry. This is not permanent storage damage. There are several data recovery solutions to recover deleted files, including MiniTool or EaseUS software. If the files are hidden or are not accessible, it might be a virus issue and can be solved by executing the CMD command on your computer.

Rob Boirun

Rob Boirun

Staring in the storage industry in 1999, I worked for a DVD Burning API company that provided the burning engine for iTunes and other burning software. Today my love for all types of storage is being displayed here.

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