How to restore deleted file while setting up a backup disk


New Member
I inserted an external hard drive with soma data in order to place also Windows 8.1 backups there. While setting uo the backup from Windows control panel it deleted all data from this disk without having asked me about it while preparing the disk to be a backup disk. Is there a way to get my data back? Thank you.


New Member
Thank you, I just tried and could recover only few files. Are there any other way or this data is lost?


Windows Forum Team
Staff member
For an easy to use Windows solution, GetDataBack is my preferred software. If I'm doing some serious recovery though I use testdisk


Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
It's important to realize that using these programs that holdum and neemo mention normally require advanced data recovery skills, and many computer techs in the average repair shops do not have that much experience recoving data from a formatted hard drive.:worry: They often will send that out to professional data recovery as holdum mentioned.

A problem you should be aware of is that by using these various programs (especially the Testdisk program neemo mentioned), can damage your hard drive index, and make it even MORE difficult to recover your data using free or fee-based software downloaded from the Internet.

I would suggest that you pull that drive out of your computer and set it aside--stop working on it. Purchase another new hard drive for your computer and reinstall Win8.1 on it, load your programs and reinstall them, copy back any data you have elsewhere from that computer from external media such as disc, usb stick, or a cloud account, and use the computer again. This will take you from 1-3 weeks depending on your skill level and experience.

Next, you'll need to figure out exactly how much the data on the accidentally formatted hard drive is worth to you and what's on it that you're willing to pay $250 and up to get it back. So, if you have a large music or video library, irreplaceable family archive photos, or Tax documents (personal or business or both), that may be worth the money. But, if you just have a few word documents and some E-mails, a few photos and some saved games; probably not. Again your decision. Think about this, most of my Clients who wind up in this conundrum often make bad decisions when they make the mistake you made and didn't have a good backup or know how to make one, so in their panic they download every free software program they can find and try to fix it. Not a good idea;:noway: I've been doing Data Recovery for 35+ years and the information I'm giving you here is not common knowledge.

I suggest putting your computer back in working order, pull that damaged drive out of your computer and stick it in a drawer somewhere and think about what you read here in this Post, very carefully. Talk to friends, family, and co-workers, and ask them if they ever had a similar experience and what decision they made and how it worked out for them, good or bad. Talking to people you trust may give you a better perspective on what others did whom you trust, and it's never a good idea to make a decision like this in a panicky type state of mind as I mentioned.:noway: It's much better to take a few days, or even weeks or months to make the decision on what to do. Following my advice you stand a much better choice of getting your data back (even if it's only some of it), than trying to become a Data Recovery expert in 1-2 days.:D

Down the road, weeks or months from now, you can always go back to that drawer and pull out the drive and send it off to professional data recovery as we suggest. In fact, I have a hard drive in Pro Data Recovery right now, and it's going to cost me over $500 to get my stuff back from it. Data Recovery prices have gone up like everything else, and the last one I did about 5 years ago cost me around $400; so expect to pay more than the $250 mentioned.

Lastly, should you decide to go with Pro Data Recovery, there are only 2 companies in the U.S. that do this sort of thing I can recommend, and should you go that route, Post back your request here, and I'll give you their contact information in this thread. I've used both of them for years, and many times on many hard drives. They both have a very high success rate on the recovery, and it's usually better than 85%.

If you have any other questions or concerns along the way, post back and we'll address them.

Best of luck to you,:encouragement:


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I know that this isn't really helpful, but your data is not backed up when it's in only one place.
A back up drive is to hold a copy of things that are already on your computer.

Nothing that you can't afford to lose should be stored on only one drive.

I have 3 external drives and all my photos, music, video, and documents that I can't afford to lose are on at least two of them.
When I was still working as a graphic designer I had jobs going back over 10 years backed up on several external drives.

They are never turned on unless I'm using them to copy or restore data.
When not in use they are unplugged.

It has paid off, I was hit by lightning frying my computer but my external drives survived and all of my data was safe.
I had to get a new computer but it only took a few hours to get all my stuff back on the new PC.

External drives are very cheap now, don't get one huge 4 terabyte drive get a couple of 1 or 2 terabyte drives and back up personal photos and things like that to both of them, external drives fail sometimes too.