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“I accidentally formatted my Windows hard disk partition. How do I recover that data?”

Surprisingly, this may appear improbable, but it’s actually a fairly common mistake made by people. It typically occurs during the process of upgrading to a more recent version of Windows. When installing Windows, individuals can inadvertently select the “Custom” installation option, often without thoroughly reading the description. Regrettably, this choice does not retain your files, settings, or programs.

Check installation

In Windows 10, reinstalling or potentially causing unintended disruption has become even more straightforward. Picture a situation: for whatever reason, you need to uninstall all desktop programs while keeping your files intact. However, instead of selecting the “Refresh your PC” option, you inadvertently hit “Reset your PC,” leading to the deletion of all your files.

Refresh and Reset PC

In addition to these considerations, there exist various other factors that could lead a user to willingly format their partitions. Technical glitches and looming threats like virus attacks might necessitate the formatting of your drives. Typically, individuals tend to experience panic in such scenarios. In their attempt to recover data, they often resort to trial-and-error methods, making uninformed choices. This could exacerbate the situation, potentially resulting in the permanent loss of valuable data. Below are some recommended steps to take when faced with such a situation:

  • Do not use the formatted drive anymore to save new files on it. Using a formatted drive might overwrite the old data making it unrecoverable.
  • Start looking for third-party software to recover deleted files or lost data.

How to find lost files after upgrading to Windows 10?

A swift inquiry on Microsoft’s official website reveals that there isn’t a designated tool for recovering files lost after a format. Nevertheless, they provide some helpful guidelines that might assist users in overcoming this predicament. This further substantiates the concern about potential data loss following a Windows 10 update, a worry shared by many users. Below are some expedient solutions worth trying out:

  • Check whether you are signed in with a temporary profile: Go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings . If you see, You are logged on with a temporary profile. Roaming options are currently unavailable. Just restart your PC and sign in again.Sync your settings
  • Search for the lost files: You can also look for the lost files using the search option in the taskbar.
    Things to try:

    • Some files might still be hidden from the view. In the taskbar look for the “View” tab > Click on Options tab > Folder Options > View > Hidden files and folders > Check on Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
    • To search for a specific file type, use the asterisk (*); for example, if you are looking for a Word file then search for *.doc or *.docx; for music files look for *.mp3 or *.avi.
    • It is possible that after the upgrade some of the files might have been moved. To check the file location, right-click on the file, and click on Open file location.
  • Restore files from the backup: This might be the most feasible option if you want to restore your lost files.
    1. Select Start > Settings > Update & security > Backup , and then select Backup and Restore. Choose “Restore my files” and follow the instructions.
    2. Sometimes it is also possible to recover a file by creating a new one with the same name and file type (extension). Next, right-click on the new file and select Properties > Previous versions tab > choose the file version to restore.
  • Activate a prior Windows Administrator account: If you upgraded to a newer Windows version and subsequently established a new account, your files may still reside in the former administrator account. Simply enable and log in to this account to retrieve your files.
    1. Go to the Search Box and type “computer management” and select the first search result.
    2. In the left pane, select the “Local Users and Groups” and then select the “Users.” If the Administrator icon has a down arrow on it; it means that the account is disabled.Select properties in computer management
    3. You can Enable the account by double-clicking on the Administrator account; this will open the “Administrator Properties” dialog box. Next, uncheck the “Account is disabled” checkbox and click Apply to enable the account.Open theAdministrator Properties
    4. Sign out. Sign in again using the Administrator account.
Using third-party software for data recovery

If you are still unable to recover your lost data, then it might be the time to try a professional third-party tool for data recovery. One recommended tool is “Kernel for Windows Data Recovery.” It can repair, recover, and restore Windows data from corrupt partitions after severe corruption. This tool is capable of retrieving permanently lost files from both hard drives and external storage devices. It offers three scanning options: Quick Scan, Deep Scan, and File Trace. Depending on the level of corruption, users can select the most appropriate option. The tool is designed with user-friendliness in mind, making it easy to navigate. Users have the flexibility to configure recovery settings, such as specifying the number of sectors to be read in a single attempt or setting the number of retries on problematic sectors. Additionally, the preview feature allows for a glimpse of the recovered files and folders before saving them. Another noteworthy feature is the File Filters, which enables users to define specific file types (e.g., .jpeg, .doc) for the tool to display files matching the specified pattern. While the free version allows for data recovery and previewing on Windows, purchasing the full version is necessary to save the recovered data.

Check out the working process of the Kernel Windows Data Recovery tool with the following steps.

  1. After installing the program, the user will be asked to select from three recovery modes.Kernel for Windows Data - Home Screen
  2. Next, from the tree view, select the drive/partition you want to recover your data from and hit “Next.”Select drive to recover data
  3. Next, wait for the search process to finish. The progress bar shows the recovery progress and status.Searching data
  4. Once it is done searching, it will show you the list of recovered data in the right pane. Check on the files that you want to recover and hit “Recover.”Check recovered data in the right paneNote: If you are looking for a specific file or extension, then select the “Find File” option from the menu bar. Next, you can either choose to save the selected file or Start a new search.Select Find File to search the specific file or extension
  5. Next, you can use recovery settings to manage the recovery of duplicate and deleted files including bad sectors retries.Use recovery settings
  6. Next, you can provide a location where you would like to save your recovered files.Select the path to save recovered data
  7. The progress bar shows the status of the saving process.Saving data
  8. A popup window displays a message once the files are successfully saved.Recovered Files are successfully saved


We’ve explored some straightforward methods for retrieving lost data after an unintended Windows format. If none of these suggested solutions succeed in recovering the data, it’s strongly recommended that the user refrain from further attempts on the affected drive or partition, as this could lead to irreversible data loss. Therefore, it is advised to employ a specialized data recovery tool like Kernel for Windows Data Recovery. We’ve thoroughly examined the capabilities of this tool, and it has proven to be highly effective in the retrieval of lost data from hard drives and partitions.

Kernel for Windows Data Recovery