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How to Recover Deleted/Lost Partition on External Hard Drive

Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips Updated by Nancy on May 31, 2024 | Approved by Anthony Spadafora

Losing a partition on an external hard disk is a nightmare, especially if it contains important data. Whether it was accidentally deleted or lost due to a malfunction, the good news is that there are several ways to recover your lost partition and the data within it. In this article, we'll explore various methods to help you recover a deleted/lost partition on an external hard drive. With a little patience, you can often reclaim the files you thought were gone forever.

Understanding Partitions Loss

Before delving into external hard drive partition recovery methods, it is necessary to understand what a "partition" is and whether the data stored on it still exists after it disappears. A partition is a specific section of your disk that acts as a separate storage area. It allows you to manage and organize your data more efficiently. When a partition is deleted or lost, the data isn't immediately erased but becomes inaccessible until it is overwritten by new content.

Causes of Disappear a Partition

Understanding how you might have lost a partition is the first step in recovery. Partitions on an external hard drive can disappear or become inaccessible due to various reasons, leading to potential data loss or the inability to use the storage space. Here are some of the common reasons why partitions disappear:

No matter how the partition of your external hard drive got lost, it is important to stop using it as soon as you notice this. Continued use may overwrite data on the partition, making recovery more difficult or impossible.

How to Recover Partition in External Hard Drive

Several methods can restore a lost or deleted partition on an external hard disk. Here, we will focus on the most common and effective approaches.

Method 1: Using Recovery Software

Utilizing a third-party recovery tool is often the easiest method for most users. Here, iBeesoft Data Recovery provides a user-friendly interface to help you accomplish this difficult task.

External Hard Drive Partition Recovery Software

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  • Multiple scanning modes allow you to easily recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac or Windows.
  • It operates in a read-only mode, meaning it doesn't write any new data to the scanned device. This approach minimizes the risk of overwriting data and ensures the safety and security of existing files during partition recovery.
  • It allows you to identify the specific files they want to restore and check their integrity before restoration.
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Steps to recover deleted partition on the external hard drive using iBeesoft Data Recovery:

  1. Connect the external disk to your system using a USB cable.
  2. Choose the correct version and install it.
  3. Launch it and select the lost partition of the external hard drive to scan. It's usually the one with the yellow warning icon.

  4. After completing the scan, select all data once stored in the volume and click the "Recover" button to save them.

Method 2: Using DiskPart Command

For those comfortable using command-line tools, Windows offers the DiskPart utility, which can help recover a lost partition on an external hard drive without additional software. However, this method requires caution, as incorrect commands can lead to further data loss. Here is a guide:

  1. Press "Windows + X" and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  2. Type "diskpart" and press Enter.
  3. Type "list disk" and press Enter.
  4. Type "select disk X" (replace X with the external disk number).
  5. Type "list volume" and press Enter.
  6. Type "select volume *" and press Enter. (replace "*" with the lost partition number)
  7. Type "assign letter#" and press Enter. (replace "#" with an available drive letter)

That's all the details for rescuing a lost partition using the command prompt. You can also use it to CMD recover deleted files.

Method 3: Using TestDisk

For more experienced users, you can use TestDisk, a powerful open-source software designed to resume lost volumes, fix non-bootable disks, and make disks bootable again. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use TestDisk to recover a lost partition partition on an external hard drive free:

  1. Go to the official TestDisk website and download the version compatible with your system.
  2. Extract the downloaded file and launch TestDisk.
  3. Select "Create > Your external hard drive > Partition Table Type > Analyze > Quick Search > Lost Partition."

  4. Once you've selected the lost volume, navigate to the "Write" option to write the new partition structure to the disk.

With the above 3 effective methods, you should be able to successfully recover external hard drive partition. However, volume corruption is also a common reason for its loss. To solve this problem, you can go to the next section.

How to Repair Corrupted Partition on External Hard Drive

Fixubg a damaged partition on an external hard disk can be critical for recovering your data. Here's a guide to attempting this repair process on Windows and macOS systems.

For Windows Users:

  1. Connect your external disk to your Windows PC.
  2. Click the "Start" and type "CMD."
  3. Choose "Command Prompt" in the list and click "Run as administrator."
  4. Type "chkdsk E: /f /r" (replace "E" with the letter of your external hard drive) and press Enter.

  5. Wait for Completion.

For macOS Users:

  1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
  2. Select the partition that you believe is corrupted. If you're not sure, start with the entire disk.
  3. Click on the "First Aid" in top toolbar. Confirm that you want to run it by clicking "Run" in the opening dialogue.

Through the above 2-part solution, you can ensure the security of your partition and data. If you wish to adjust its partition, go to the next section.

How to Create or Resize a Partition of External Hard Disk

Partition can help you organize your data more efficiently, allowing you to separate different types of files or operating systems. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do this on both Windows and macOS systems:

For Windows PC:

  1. Press "Windows + X" and select "Disk Management."

  2. Find your external hard drive and choose the following methods to resize your partitions.

    If the disk already contains data and you want to partition only part of it, right-click on the existing volume and select "Shrink Volume" or "Extend volume."
    If there is unallocated or free space on this removable drive, you can right-click on the area and select "New Simple Volume."
  3. Follow the wizard's instructions. (NTFS is usually recommended for Windows).

For Mac:

  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Choose the external disk in the sidebar of Disk Utility.
  3. Click the "Partition" button in the toolbar.
  4. Click the "+" button to add a partition. You can enter values directly to resize partitions.
  5. Name your partition, choose a format (APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) are common choices), and set a size.
  6. Click "Apply". Disk Utility will confirm your actions; click "Partition" to proceed.

Losing a partition can be frustrating, but as we've seen, several methods exist to recover a partition on the external disk and fix and create it. However, the best strategy is to avoid such a disaster from happening again. Therefore, you can check out the following tips.

Best Practices for Avoiding Partition Loss in the Future


Where do you start when dealing with a lost or deleted partition in your external hard drive? Here are frequently asked questions to guide you through the recovery process, helping to salvage your valuable data and restore your peace of mind.

  • You might realize you've lost a partition if it suddenly becomes inaccessible, appears as unallocated space, or prompts you to format it when you try to open it.

  • The first thing to do is stop using the drive to prevent overwriting the lost data. Any new data written to the drive could overwrite and corrupt the lost partition. Avoid running disk management utilities, as these could also alter the data in the lost partition, making recovery more challenging.

  • Several user-friendly do-it-yourself recovery tools are available to recover a deleted partition from external hard drives. Whether you use iBeesoft data recovery software, the DiskPart command, or TestDisk, following the correct steps carefully can help retrieve your valuable data.

  • Yes, free options are available, such as TestDisk. It may be effective for simple recovery but may have limitations. For more complex cases, we recommend you use a professional tool like iBeesoft Data Recovery or Disk Drill.

  • The time it takes to recover a partition depends on several factors, including its size, the speed of your computer, the complexity of the recovery, and the state of the external hard drive. Small partitions with less data are quicker to recover, while larger partitions with more data can take several hours or even days.

  • If it is physically damaged, partition recovery in external hard drive might still be possible, but it's best to consult a professional data recovery service.

  • Taking extra precautions is vital if the lost partition contains sensitive or personal information. Ensure that the recovery process is done on a secure computer, and consider using encryption tools to protect the recovered data and any copies.


We've covered the gamut of partition recovery on the external hard drive, from understanding the anatomy of partitions, causes of their loss, repairing damaged partitions, and creating volumes to detailed instructions on recovery methods. Remember to act swiftly and thoughtfully, and never lose hope when facing partition and data loss—the key to recovery is often just a few clicks or commands away. Finally, you can also follow our preventive measures to avoid this type of accident happening again.