How to Unformat Hard Drive on Windows and Mac? [2021]

Have you performed accidental formatting and now can’t seem to unformat a hard drive? Then learn how to unformat a hard drive on Mac/Windows right here.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Dec 23, 2022 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

Let’s be honest – there are times when we have to format a hard drive to troubleshoot an issue or simply end up doing it by mistake. Since it can lead to an instant loss of our data, it can be a tedious situation for many. The good news is that you can learn how to unformat a hard drive on Mac or Windows with or without a prior backup. To make things easier for you, I’m going to discuss dedicated solutions to unformat a hard drive in this detailed post.

Unformat Hard Drive Banner

Part 1: How to Unformat a Hard Drive on Windows 10?

Ideally, there are different ways to unformat a disk drive on Windows 10. When we format the hard disk, its data isn’t stored anywhere else (like the Recycle Bin). Therefore, to retrieve your lost data, you can either take the assistance of a prior backup or a recovery tool.

Method 1: Retrieve Data from an Existing Backup via File History

A lot of Windows 10 users don’t know, but the operating system has a dedicated backup/restore feature, which is known as File History. Using it, you can maintain a dedicated backup of the entire disk on an external hard drive. Therefore, if you already have a prior File History backup stored, then you can learn how to unformat an SSD in the following way.

Step 1: Launch File History and Connect the Drive

At first, just connect the external hard drive where the backup is saved to your computer using a USB cable. Afterward, go to your Windows Settings > Update & Security > Backups and click on the “More Option” feature under File History.

Windows Recovery Option

This will display dedicated Backup Options on the disk for the connected source. You can just scroll down and select the option to restore data from the current backup.

File History Option on Windows

Step 2: Preview your Files and Restore the Backup

Now, a dedicated File History interface would be launched where you can preview your files. You can check the timestamp of the saved data on the top and scroll right/left to move or simply look for anything specific via the Search option. Here, you can select the files of your choice and click on the “Restore” button to unformat the hard drive.

File History Recovery

Method 2: How to Unformat a Hard Drive on Windows with a Data Recovery Tool?

Even if you don’t have an existing backup saved, you can still unformat the disk drive using a recovery application. I would recommend using Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery that can help you get back your lost files under all scenarios. Even if you have formatted the drive, Recoverit can scan your Windows hard disk (or any external drive) to retrieve your files. The best part is that you can preview your files and select what you wish to recover at any location.

Step 1: Select a Location/Drive to Scan

To start with, you can just launch Wondershare Recoverit and select the drive or partition that you formatted earlier. You can select an internal drive of the system or pick any connected external source as well.


Step 2: Scan the Formatted Drive

Afterward, you can just sit back and wait for a while as Recoverit would scan the selected drive and will try to retrieve your data. You can check the progress from the screen and simply wait for the process to be completed. Though, there are options to pause or stop the process in between here.


Step 3: Preview your Data and Recover it

Now, you can check different folders in Recoverit to preview your extracted data. You can even use the search option or the inbuilt features to find specific files.


Lastly, you can preview your photos, videos, documents, and other files, select what you wish to get back, and directly recover them to any location of your choice.


Part 2: How to Unformat a Hard Drive on Mac?

Just like Windows, Mac users can also unformat a hard drive with the help of a recovery tool. Not just that, if you have a prior Time Machine backup, then you can instantly unformat a disk drive using it.

Method 1: How to Retrieve your Data with a Time Machine Backup?

Mac has an inbuilt utility app, Time Machine, which can be used to maintain a dedicated backup of the disk. Therefore, if you have formatted your Mac’s disk, then you can just connect the Time Machine drive to the system and restore your data. Here’s how to unformat a hard drive on Mac using the Time Machine drive.

Step 1: Launch Time Machine and Connect your Drive

Firstly, you can just connect your Time Machine external hard drive to your Mac with a working cable. Now, go to the Finder > System Preferences and just launch the Time Machine app on it.

Launch Time Machine on Mac

Step 2: Preview your Data and Restore it

As the Time Machine app would be opened, it will automatically load your files on Mac. You can use the slider to browse the saved data and check the available versions of the backup. Lastly, you can select what you wish to get back and click on the “Restore” button to unformat the hard drive.

Time Machine Recovery

Method 2: How to Unformat a Hard Drive on Mac with Recoverit Data Recovery?

Apart from Windows, you can also use the Wondershare Recoverit for Mac. It has one of the highest data recovery rates and can help you get back your photos, videos, documents, emails, and almost every other data type. You can use it to unformat a hard drive on Mac or any other external disk easily. Here’s how to unformat a hard drive on Mac with Wondershare Recoverit.

Step 1: Select a Location to Recover your Data

If you have lost your files from an external hard drive, then connect it to your Mac in advance. Now, you can just launch Recoverit Data Recovery on your Mac and select any internal/external source (like a partition/drive/folder) to scan.


Step 2: Wait for the Scan to be Completed

Once you click on the “Start” button, Recoverit will commence scanning the selected source. You can halt the recovery process in between or simply let it be completed on its own.


Step 3: Select the Files to Recover and Save them

Now, on the native interface of Recoverit, you can browse the saved data under different categories. For instance, you can use its search option or inbuilt filters to look for files of specific types, sizes, and more.


You can also get a preview of your photos, videos, documents, etc. on the native interface of Recoverit, select them, and click on the “Recover” button. This will let you save the selected files to any preferred location on your Mac.


As you can see, it is pretty easy to unformat a hard drive on Windows or Mac. While a prior File History or Time Machine backup will certainly make things easier, you can also try Recoverit Data Recovery. If you don’t have an existing backup of your disk, then Recoverit would be extremely helpful to restore your lost, deleted, and inaccessible data. Go ahead and try Recoverit for free or share this guide with others to teach them how to unformat a hard drive like a pro.

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