How to recover files from an external hard drive

If you happen to lose some important information from your external hard drive, no matter whether it’s an HDD or an SSD, first of all, don’t panic. It is possible to recover data from an external hard drive even if it was deleted (on purpose or by mistake) or disappeared because of a hardware or software failure.

In the majority of cases, the chances of getting back your files are quite high, due to the way the modern hard drives’ file systems handle the processes of file deletion and disk formatting. The thing is that in spite of being inaccessible to you, the files might be still physically available on the drive for some time, particularly, before being replaced by new information. So, almost any data can be recovered before it’s overwritten. If you need more information, please read the article File system types and data recovery chances. And now it's time to come to the point.

guide on how to recover data from external hard drive

How to recover files deleted from an external hard drive?

An appropriate data recovery software like Raise Data Recovery can save you a lot of time and effort when you face a data loss issue caused by accidental file deletion, disk formatting or any type of logical failure. In order to restore files with the help of this program, follow these simple steps:

  • Download Raise Data Recovery to the computer you’re going to use to recover data and install it like a regular software. If you need detailed instructions, please check the installation guide.

  • Now connect the external hard drive you’ve lost files from to your PC. In case of an HDD, you can do it using a working USB cable provided with the device or, depending on the construction, via an integrated male USB connector, or with a native USB cable in case of an SSD.

    Additionally, please take a look at a list of useful recommendations to follow while restoring data from an external drive.

  • Run Raise Data Recovery and find your external hard drive under the Physical disks tab. If it’s not there, please follow the instructions of this tutorial.

    external hard drive selected in raise data recovery interface

  • Select the drive. Then double click it or press the Continue button in the bottom right corner of the program window.

  • Wait till the program finishes the scanning. It may take some time, so be patient. You can follow the progress of the procedure with a progress bar.

    recovering external hard drive files in progress

  • Once the scanning is completed, you’ll get access to all the files of your external hard drive, both the currently available and the deleted ones that have been detected by Raise Data Recovery.

  • Look for the files you’d like to restore and once you find them, tick them off and press the Recover selected button. If you need more information on how to find, select, preview and save files in Raise Data Recovery, please read this article.

    results of data recovery from external hard drive

  • Choose a storage to save your recovered files to, press Start recovery and wait till they get copied.

    choosing storage to save files obtained after recovering external hard drive data

You should never save the recovered files to that very drive you’ve lost them from. This will cause an irrevocable data loss.

Please note that the free trial version of Raise Data Recovery lets you copy an unlimited number of files of up to 256 KB each. If you need to save larger ones, please order a license following the steps of this article.

What’s more? Explore the variety of our software solutions!

Raise Data Recovery is a beginners-friendly application designed to save you costs and efforts in rescuing lost files. If you have higher requirements to your data recovery tools, check out more advanced products of SysDev Laboratories:

Recovery Explorer Universal software that effectively copes with many data loss issues and offers a broad toolkit that can be easily employed by both novices and experienced computer users.
UFS Explorer The first-rate assistant of data recovery engineers and other technical experts in cases of various complexities: from simple routine tasks to complicated data loss challenges.
myCCTV Recovery A straightforward yet exceedingly efficient utility specialized in data recovery from CCTV systems and equipped for reconstruction of footages lost from surveillance devices of popular vendors.