How to Recover Data from External Hard Drive

In this article, we will talk about the best external hard drive recovery software, the way to recover files from external hard drive, causes of losing data and how you can avoid it.

When it comes to moving and storing an enormous amount of data files, nothing can beat the versatility of external hard drives. They are simply one of the ideal ways to ensure that you will not lose your data, even in the case of a computer crash, accidental deletions, memory loss, virus attacks, and more. These days almost everyone uses a computer system and then uses an external hard drive for storing data backups. But there are instances when these drives tend to lose the data, such as getting damaged, or simply being unworkable.

As you find that there is a data loss in your external hard drive, don’t perform any operation that will overwrite the data. Make sure that you do not attempt to restore the data by checking it in your own as it requires a dust free environment to do so. If you want to recover files from external hard drive, you can use the recommended external hard drive recovery software to rescue your data.

Part 1. About External Hard Drive Recovery

External Hard Drives are important when using your computer to store your every bit of data. They store all forms of data and are large enough to cater to all your storage needs. Moreover, they are light in weight, portable, and can be used for a seamless data transfer from one point to another.

However, there are times when external hard drives lose the data. It can be due to a virus attack, accidental format, unexpected system failures, damage resulted from power failure or the loss of partition structures. Data loss sometimes happens suddenly without attention. There is no way to recover data from external hard drive without a third party external hard disk recovery tool. Therefore, a powerful external hard drive recovery software is needed to help you do an efficient job and solve these issues.

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Part 2. How to Recover Data and Files from an External Hard Drive?

1. Recoverit - The Best External Hard Drive Recovery Software

Recoverit Data Recovery is one of the best, safest and most reliable external hard drive recovery software that recovers your deleted and lost files from any type of storage device. The best external hard drive recovery software helps you recover files, photos, videos and any other formats of data from external hard drive with ease. In addition, it can work with various data loss scenarios, such as sudden deletion, formatting, virus attack, system crash and more. Along with this, it also helps you recover data from various devices including recycle bin, memory card, hard drive, flash drive, camcorder, and digital camera as well.

hard drive data recovery

Your Safe & Reliable External Hard Drive Data Recovery Software

  • Recover lost or deleted files, photos, audio, music, emails from an external hard disk effectively, safely and completely.
  • Supports data recovery from recycle bin, hard drive, memory card, flash drive, digital camera and camcorders.
  • Supports to recover data for sudden deletion, formatting, hard drive corruption, virus attack, system crash under different situations.


  1. Recover the data from sudden deletion.
  2. It supports a wide variety of file formats
  3. Support deleted files recovery, recycle bin recovery, lost partition recovery, virus attack recovery and more.
  4. Offer users data recovery from all types of devices.


  1. The recovery function of free version might not enough to recover a big size of data from external hard drive.

2. Video Tutorial on External Hard Disk Data Recovery

We provide both video tutorial and text-based guide for you. Watch this video or read on to learn about how to recover files from external hard drive.

3. How to Recover Data from External Hard Disk

To start with, download and install Recoverit external hard drive data recovery tool on your Windows or Mac computer. Connect your external hard drive to the computer and follow the below mentioned steps to recover data from your external hard drive.

This article will only focus on the solution on Windows system. We also provide solutions for external hard drive recovery on Mac. If your external hard drive is crashed or damaged, check our solutions for crashed external hard drive recovery and data recovery from damaged external hard drive.

Step 1. Select recovery mode

Before you start the data recovery process, check that your external hard drive is connected to and recognized by the computer. To recover the data from your drive, select the "External Devices Recovery" Mode.

select a data recovery mode - recover data from external hard drive
Img.1 - Select recovery mode

Step 2. Select external hard drive

Now select a location where you need your lost data to be secured. Also, choose the drive that you want to recover and click on the "Start" button to scan the files.

select the external hard drive
Img.2 - Select external hard drive

Step 3. Scan external hard drive

Recoverit will start a quick scan and search all the files from the external hard drive. This software also lets you preview your files and save them. There are chances that you will find your files after the first scan. But if you are unable to find your files, you can try the “All-Around Recovery” to deep scan and search more files.

deep scan lost files from external hard drive
Img.3 - Scan external hard drive

Step 4. Preview and recover data from external hard drive

After the scan, you can preview all the recoverable files from the external hard drive. Click the "Recover" button to get back the lost files. However, make sure that you don’t save the recovered files into the hard drives from which you lost the files.

preview and recover files
Img.4 - preview and recover external hard drive

Part 3. What Are the Causes of Data Loss from External Hard Drive??

There are times when we are not aware of how we lose the data from our external hard drives. But it is best if you know the exact reasons for data loss. Here is why you lose data from your external hard disk:

Any of the above situations do harm to your data and also lead to its complete loss. The best approach is to back up your data, or you will have to use external hard drive recovery tools for getting your files back.

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Part 4. More Tools for External Hard Drive Recovery

1. Prosoft Data Rescue

Prosoft is a piece of effective data recovery software that helps you to recover files from external hard drive. Apart from external hard drive, it also lets you retrieve deleted files from other devices like flash drives, recycles bin, camera, and more.

1Firstly, you should select "Start Recovering Files" option and then choose the external hard drive location to the next step.

2The external hard drive recovery gives you the option to start from a quick scan or deep scan. If you are not sure which scan you should select, when you click on the option, there will be an explanation to show you the difference.

3A scanning result will present on the menu. Select the files you want to recover and store them in the target storage.

external hard drive recovery-prosoft
Img.1 - Prosoft data rescue


  1. It allows users to preview previous scan results.
  2. User-friendly interface with integrated starting button
  3. Can be used to access the raw, non-mounting and corrupted partitions.


  1. It is difficult to filter the scanning results
  2. Unable to preview files

2. Easeus

Easeus is an external hard drive recovery tool that retrieves the lost data, whether it is deleted through formatting, misuse or mishandling.

1Select the location where you want to start. You can also specify a location such as desktop, document or external hard drive.

2The initial scan is a quick one to retrieve all your lost data and will scan all the files in the selected location. However, a deep scan finds out more lost files by searching the entire selected data field.

3Filter what you want to recover and the preview all your lost data. Once you select the files you want to recover from external hard drive, click on the Recover button to recover all your lost data.

external hard drive recovery-prosoft
Img.2 - Easeus


  1. It works for both operating systems- Windows and Mac.
  2. Available for both personal and business use.
  3. Can be used to access the raw, non-mounting and corrupted partitions.


  1. It does not scan your full external hard drive.

3. Stellar

Stellar is one of the best external hard disk data recovery software that helps you to recover the lost data files from the Windows Operating System.

1 To start, install and launch the Stellar Phoenix data recovery on your computer. Choose the type of data from the option of "Select What to Recover" on the main user interface.

2Select the external hard drive where you lost data and start scanning.

3Choose the files you want to recover and save files to a destination location.

external hard drive recovery-stellar
Img.3 -Stellar


  1. It does thorough scans and has the capability to recover the data from any damaged media.
  2. Scans the drive by the selected location and by the file type.
  3. Offers you live chat support.


  1. No RAID recovery
  2. Takes extra costs for CD recovery.
  3. No thumbnail reviews.

4. Disk Drill

Disk Drill is external hard drive recovery software that aids you in how to retrieve data from Mac external hard drive. Whether you need to recover files from an internal drive or an external one, this software will come to your rescue.

1After launching Disk Drill, click on the Recover button beside the volume that you want to scan. This action will let the software automatically go through all the available scanning methods.

2Once the scan is over, you can select the files and click on the Recover button to get them back.

external hard drive recovery-disk drill
Img.4 -Disk Drill


  1. It has special protection features like S.M.A.R.T monitoring, recovery vault and guarantees recovery.
  2. It is available in portable version.
  3. Allows you to maximize the disk space.


  1. Disk Drill does not work for recovering audio and video files.

5. Recuva

Whether you have deleted an important file accidentally or lost files after a sudden computer crash, Recuva recovers file from the external hard drive, computer, recycle bin, MP3 player, digital camera card and other devices. It even recovers the files from re-writeable media as well.

1Open, launch and install Recuva hard drive recovery software in your system.

2As you select the location you need to recover, click on the Scan option so a quick scan will start. Recuva uses a deep scan mode that checks your drives to find the traces of the files that are already deleted.

3As the scan is completed, you will need to select the files and recover them.

external hard drive recovery-disk drill
Img.5 -Recuva


  1. It also has an overwrite feature that uses military and industry standard deletion techniques to make your files stay deleted.
  2. It even deletes the traces of deleted file as well.
  3. Allow users to recover data from damaged disks.


  1. Its installer tries to add other programs on your computer.

Comparison Chart for External Hard Drive Recovery

Product Price Scan speed Recovery Process Features Ease of use Overall rating Availability
Recoverit $39.95 Fast High Good ★★★★★ 9.0 Try Now >
Prosoft Data Rescue $99 Slow Low Needs Improving ★☆☆☆☆ 6.5 --
Easeus $69 Fair Equal Good ★★★☆☆ 8.0 --
Stellar Phoenix $79.99 Slow Equal Needs Improving ★★★☆☆ 7.0 --
Disk Drill $89 Fast Equal Good ★★★☆☆ 8.0 --
Recuva $19.95 Fair Equal Needs Improving ★★★☆☆ 7.5 --

All the above tools will help you with your external hard drive recovery, but you need to ensure that when you are “recovering the files”, you need to copy them rather than cut. Follow this method will leave you with a backup on both the ends.

Part 5. How to Avoid Data Loss from External Hard Drive?

It is always best to protect your data rather than losing it in the first place.

The first step to avoid the data loss from an external hard drive is to understand the signs of a potential data loss. Did you know that most of the hard drive failures occur due to a failure in drive or its mishandling?

However, to prevent the data loss, make sure you save and back up your files regularly on multiple locations. Purchase a hard drive from a legitimate manufacturer and take good care of it. Along with this, avoid the partitions as it increases the loading hence decreasing its overall performance. Keep the anti-virus up to date and check that you always disconnect it after every use. Apart from this, make sure that you always disconnect your external hard disk after every use. Furthermore, don’t delete the system files and always use a surge protector to prevent the data loss. While data loss may seem unavoidable, but with proper techniques, you can surely prevent unwanted situations. If unfortunately, you still lose your important files, try to get them back from your external hard disk with Recoverit Data Recovery.

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