Skip to Content
© Bannasak |
Tech tips

Tech pro tip: Recovering data from an external hard drive

As you upgrade equipment, your files follow you around from one device to another. From phones to computers to tablets, you want your stuff to remain intact. There are a few ways to accomplish this task.

Cloud storage has made it so we can access files from any device at any time. Photos are among the biggest storage hogs and it gets to the point where there are too many for one device. You have a few options to send photos to the cloud. Tap or click here and we’ll help you make your decision.

If you want to keep files within view, an external hard drive has many advantages. You get massive storage capacity and the ability to back up your files. Files are more secure away from your main drive. All that is great, but what if something goes wrong and all your eggs are in that one external basket? Don’t panic. You can recover files with a bit of know-how.

Uh oh

All right, so you put all your files into your external drive and one day find it empty. The problem could be corruption or an accidental reformat. What do you do? You have some options to get most or all of your files back.

1. Recuva

Recuva is a free file recovery tool that can find missing pictures, music, documents, videos, emails and more. It works with damaged or recently formatted drives, making it ideal for external hard drives. Its deep scan function can find bits of deleted files. You get a list of what the tool found and how likely the files can be recovered.

Recuva works with Windows PC and comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Here are some highlights:

  • The free version of Recuva gives you advanced file recovery.
  • Upgrade to the Professional level for $20 and you get virtual hard drive support, automatic updates and premium support.
  • There’s even a free portable version you can put on a USB drive to take with you.

2. EaseUS

EaseUS is a data recovery program that works with both Windows PC and Mac that uses a wizard to make it easier to get your files back. You can preview files before recovering them and select multiple files simultaneously to bring them back from the great beyond. You can save the results of your scan to come back to at a later time.

Like many data recovery programs, EaseUS has a deep scan function that can find more at the cost of some extra time.

  • The free version of EaseUS will recover up to 2GB of data and works with various situations such as accidental format or deletion, virus attack, system crash and unexpected power off.
  • The pro version of EaseUS works with one PC for unlimited data recovery. In addition to what you get with the free version, you also get one-on-one remote recovery assistance. Prices are $70 per month, $100 per year or $150 for lifetime upgrades.

3. Stellar

Stellar helps recover lost or deleted files from any Windows device. It’s also available for Mac. A wizard walks you through the process, where you select what to search for and where to search for it. Preview the files before saving them, or save your scan to come back to later.

  • The free version of Stellar lets you recover up to 1GB of data from formatted or corrupted systems.
  • Upgrading to Standard for $50 gets you the same recovery options as free with no limits.
  • The professional level of Stellar recovers files from lost partitions, works with optical media, creates a disk image and monitors hard drive health. It goes for $90.
  • Premium goes for $100 and adds the ability repairs corrupt or distorted videos and photos.

4. Disk Drill

Disk Drill is a free recovery tool with a few scan options, including quick and deep. If you click Recover, the program will run through all the options to retrieve your lost data. You will see which files can be recovered and choose what you want to keep.

Disk Drill is available for Windows and Mac and works with virtually any type of storage device.

  • The free Basic version of Disk Drill recovers up to 500MB of data and includes data protection tools.
  • Upgrade to Pro for $89 and you get unlimited data recovery and more recovery options. Add $29 for lifetime upgrades.

5. Tenorshare 4DDiG

Tenorshare 4DDiG can recover lost or corrupted data from any storage media. Its simple interface breaks down data recovery to a few clicks of your mouse. Select your drive and start the program and watch the scan progress. When the scan is complete, select the files you want to recover. Run a deep scan to find even more of your lost data.

  • The free version of Tenorshare 4DDiG helps you recover 1GB of files lost from accidental deletion, formatting, lost partition, corruption, crashed system, virus-attack and more.
  • Upgrade to the premium version of Tenorshare 4DDiG for unlimited data recovery. A monthly subscription costs $46. An annual subscription goes for $50. A lifetime license goes for $60.

Head to the Cloud with IDrive

Cloud services keep your files secure no matter what happens to your computer or hard drive. But you need to be able to trust the company you choose. We recommend our sponsor, IDrive.

IDrive protects all your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android devices with just one account. Its versatile and user-friendly platform has made saving and recovering data simple for small businesses and individual use.

Kim has negotiated a killer deal for you. Tap or click here to save 50% on 5 TB of cloud backup today with IDrive!

cryptocurrency e-book hero

New eBook: ‘Cryptocurrency 101’

Don't want to lose your dough to crypto? Check out my new eBook, "Cryptocurrency 101." I walk you through buying, selling, mining and more!

Check it out