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Summary: We generally use external hard drives to transfer files, store large files, save important data, and create backups of the data. But what if your hard drive suddenly fails or stops responding? It can become the worst situation if you don’t have any idea about data recovery. In this post, let’s learn how to recover data from an external hard drive.

Users widely favor external hard drives for their speed, convenience, and affordability. Many individuals rely on these drives to back up their system. However, similar to other storage devices, external hard drives are susceptible to data loss for various reasons. A drive may experience failure or damage, jeopardizing your data.

This is where the capability to retrieve deleted items from an external hard drive becomes valuable. In this blog, let’s explore various methods for recovering deleted files from the hard drive and delve into a third-party data recovery tool that can efficiently restore lost, missing, or deleted files.

What If Windows Doesn’t Recognize your Device?

Absolutely! Let’s explore solutions for the situation where your device goes unnoticed by Windows before we jump into data recovery strategies. If your external hard drive isn’t being detected by your computer, try out the following approaches to resolve the problem.

  • Check the connections and cables
  • Update device drivers
  • Try a different port or system
  • Format the drive
Reasons Behind Data Loss on an External Hard Drive

There can be various reasons behind the data loss on an external drive. Some of them are:

  • Accidental file deletion or formatting the device
  • An unforeseen system or hardware error like an application failure or a computer crash
  • Damage due to an unexpected power failure or power surge
  • Virus or malware attacks
  • Critical file system structures loss or corruption
  • Physical or environmental damage such as accidents or spilling water
Can You Recover Files Deleted from the External Hard drive?

Certainly! You have the ability to retrieve files that were lost either through deletion or by formatting the external hard drive. When a file is deleted, the system removes only its logical access, while the data physically persists on the disk. The operating system designates the space previously occupied by the deleted items as available for future use. Over time, this space is repurposed when new data is saved on the disk.

You have the ability to retrieve deleted files and regain access to them until new data overwrites or replaces the original content. There are manual approaches available for data recovery, or you can opt for a professional recovery tool for a swift and efficient retrieval process. Let’s explore both the hands-on and automated methods of data recovery.

Different Methods to Recover Data from External Hard Drive

Recovering data from external hard drives offers several potential solutions, and it’s crucial to choose the one that aligns best with your specific needs. Let’s delve into a detailed exploration of all the methods at your disposal.

Method 1 – Use the Command Prompt

You can run Windows XP CHKDSK command to deal with data loss caused by malware. Follow the below CMD commands to recover the deleted external hard drive data now:

  • Connect the external drive with your system
  • Launch the Run program using Windows + R keys
  • Type cmd and then press Enter
  • Type the following command and press Enter
“ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D X:*.*”

(Note – Replace ‘X’ with the drive letter of your external hard drive)
Once you successfully execute these commands, restart your computer, and connect the external hard drive to check whether the data recovered or not.

Method 2 – Show Hidden File on External Hard Drive

Sometimes, to protect some confidential information/data, you may hide some items on your devices. This method can unhide files hidden on an external hard drive. Follow the steps below to do so:

  • Open File Explorer using Windows + E keys and select View
  • Select Options and click on change folder and search optionsSelect Options and click on change
  • Now, select the View tab, and under the Advanced Settings, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives. Then, click the View

Now, you will be able to see the lost/hidden files on an external hard drive.

Method 3 – Restore a Previous Version

File history is a helpful Windows feature that allows you to restore previous versions of deleted files. But it’s necessary to activate it manually, and you can easily activate it.
To activate the File history feature, follow the below steps:

  • Open the Windows search bar, type File History, and press Enter
  • Click on Restore file using File History, which leads you to Control Panel
  • Now turn on the File History option.

Note – Be sure to add an external hard drive to the list of active file history locations. Once you’ve enabled the file history option, follow the steps below to restore a previous version of a file:

  • Go to the folder where files were stored before deletion
  • Now, right-click inside the folder and then select Properties
  • Click on the Previous Version tab
  • Select the previous version you want to recover
  • Then, click on Restore
Method 4 – Use the Windows System File Checker

This approach effectively repairs files that have been compromised or damaged due to malware assaults. Utilizing the Windows System File Checker tool enables swift data recovery. Simply follow the steps below to restore your files using this tool:

  • Open Windows search bar using Windows + S keys
  • Search Command Prompt and then select Run as Administrator optionselect Run as Administrator
  • In the Command Prompt Window, type ‘sfc / scannow’ and press Enter to run a full system scan.Command Prompt Window
  • Keep the Command Prompt open until the scanning process completes for all files. Once finished, it will substitute any damaged files with a stored copy from the compressed folder.
  • If the command executed successfully, a message appears on your screen saying, ‘Windows Resources Protection did not find any integrity violation.’
  • Note – If a message on the screen says, ‘Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but unable to fix some of them,’ restart your computer in safe mode and rerun the command.

By employing these manual approaches, there’s a possibility of retrieving data from an external hard drive. However, it’s likely that these methods might fall short in successfully recovering your data at certain instances. The major drawbacks with the above methods are that all require technical skills, more time, more effort, and most importantly, all have some limitations to recovering data, so it becomes difficult to backup and restore files from corrupted drive.

When faced with such a scenario, turning to an automated data recovery tool proves to be the optimal remedy for swiftly retrieving all data from an external hard drive with minimal exertion. Let’s delve into the specifics of an advanced third-party data recovery tool.

An Automated Solution to Recover Data from External Hard Drives

The main reason behind using an automated data recovery tool is its reliability and ease of use. Using Kernel for Window Data Recovery, anyone can quickly recover and restore missing, lost, or deleted files, folders, and documents from corrupt Windows partitions, external hard drives, etc. This powerful tool is equipped to retrieve corrupted or damaged data from failed hard drives, surpassing manual recovery methods. With three scanning modes—Quick, Deep, and File Trace—it ensures a thorough recovery of data lost to virus/malware attacks, sudden exits, or power supply fluctuations. In essence, it proves to be an excellent solution for recovering data from crashed hard disks while maintaining the original formatting and structure.


I trust you’ll discover this blog to be a valuable resource for grasping the process of retrieving files and data from external hard drives. We’ve explored various reasons for data loss and identified some manual techniques for data recovery. Feel free to employ these methods if you encounter data loss on your external hard drive.

But if the above manual methods fail to recover data, you need to go with Kernel for Windows Data Recovery. It’s simple and fast to recover data from unrecognized external hard drive using this tool. Use its free demo version to learn more about this data recovery tool.

Kernel for Windows Data Recovery