Accidentally quick formatted the wrong drive. Help!

I wanted to back up one external drive to another. I wanted to quick format the destination drive but I accidentally quick formatted the source drive.

Things I have tried;

Pareto Logic Data Recovery Pro. It ran for over 50 hours and finally finished showing it had found over 800GB of data on the 500 GB drive. (Normally, that would be my question, but I don’t care, I just want to get to the files.) It displays a list of everything it finds with a preview feature that lets you view images and listen to sound files. Great! It looked like everything was there, as it should be, as I have not written anything to the drive since the accident.

I didn’t need everything it found and couldn’t save it all anyway as the 800 GB wouldn’t fit on the 500 GB destination drive. So I started unchecking things that I didn’t want to save and, after a long time and sore hand from the unchecking, I had it down below 500 BB when the program crashed. There appears to be no provision to save the work Pareto does.

I didn’t want to devote another 50 hours to a crashy program, so I tried Easeus Data recovery. After 5 hours of it running it only found 2 small system-type files, so I canceled that.

I saw that Testdisk was recommended in another thread, so I ran it and rebooted as the instructions I found said to do, but alas, there was still no evidence of any content when I used Explorer to look into the drive.

This is very frustrating because Pareto seemed to have found everything, but couldn’t stay alive long enough for me to uncheck stuff and then let it write it to the clean hard drive.

Any suggestions from data recovery wizards?

I’m not an “expert”, but I do have a bit of experience with this stuff.

Did you try to recover the files to the same partition? Because that will mean overwriting the unformated files, which would probably crash the recovery software. If you didn’t get started actually making changes, you’re probably fine.

You mentioned using TestDisk, but that’s really not what you need to use if the drive is reformatted. (Testdisk only fixes deleted files or bad partition data.) You need to use Photorec, which also came with TestDisk. and again, you need to recover to a separate drive/partition. (That should be easy since you have another external drive.) It won’t get the filenames or folder structure right, but it will get the files themselves (with the right extensions).

It really sucks, but it doesn’t seem like it’s as easy as it used to be, where you could just run unformat and it would restore the file table from a backup. From what I’m reading now, unformatting can actually screw up your drive so that the data cannot be recovered.

I’d get a terabyte destination drive and re-run Pareto.

Big T, no I didn’t try to recover to the same disk, I had read enough to know that wasn’t a good idea. I didn’t even get as far as actually writing / recovering anything to the new drive. I was busily unchecking things I didn’t want to recover when Pareto crashed.

Does Photorec recover things other than image-type files?

Astro - I considered that.

Yeah. It’s misleadingly named. You can run it without actually doing any restoring, if you want to just see what files it picks up. The list of file types it recognizes on the official website may also be useful.

When I used it, it picked up everything. Then again, I’ve only used it on a much smaller drive: a thumbdrive MP3 player. It even recovered the virus infested .exe that may have caused the MP3 player to be reformatted in the first place. (It was my sister’s and she let someone else borrow it.)

Try this: