This drive came in for a deleted file recovery. The client had accidentally formatted the drive and 2 other recovery shops had tried to get the data back but were not able to get usable data.
Formatting A Drive Accidentally
Formatting a drive with data on it is very similar to deleting the data. Most older style drives like this one don’t cover the data up when you delete it, so a lot of it can be recovered as long as the drive wasn’t used after the data was deleted.
The basic idea is that if you delete data from a drive, you are telling the computer that the space where that file was is available to use for a new file. If no new files are put on the drive, then in theory the data will still be there and be able to be recovered. If you continue to use the drive, the data you deleted will be covered up by new data. Even a small file added to a drive can cover up a bunch of pieces of the files you deleted and make them corrupt to the point of not working anymore.
It is imperative that if you need to recover data from a drive that was accidentally formatted that you stop using the drive right away. Power it down and unplug it from your computer until the recovery software can be run on it.
Recovering Data From A Formatted Drive
The best thing to do when recovering any drive is to image the drive first fully using an imager that will make an exact copy onto another drive (even imaging the “empty” space that includes the deleted files). Then you run recovery software on that image so you aren’t interacting with the actual media that needs to be recovered.
A super common mistake I see is someone downloading software to run on the external drive, then selecting the same external drive to store any files that were found during the recovery. This effectively can cover up the files you are trying to recover, so always use a different drive to recover the data onto.
In this case a couple shops tried to recover the needed data (baby pictures and videos), but were not able to recover the data they wanted. I ran scans with my data recovery software tools and was able to get all the data he was looking for!
Returning pictures and videos that are irreplaceable to someone who thought they lost them is one of my favorite parts of data recovery. If you would like my help recovering data that was accidentally deleted, please contact me and I will guide you through the process!