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Recover Files After Format Windows 10/11

Updated to Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips in Windows by William on May 13, 2024 | Approved by Cesar C

Losing important files after formatting your disk or partition in Windows 10 or 11 can be a heart-wrenching experience. Whether it's accidental or a necessary step for troubleshooting, realizing that valuable data might be gone forever is daunting. However, not all hope is lost. This guide will walk you through the various methods to recover files after format Windows 10/11, as well as provide tips to prevent future data loss.

Understanding Data Loss After Formatting

First, it's essential to understand what happens to your data when you format your hard drive. Formatting erases all the files on the disk; however, these files aren't immediately gone. Instead, the system marks the space as available for new data, leaving the original files in place until they are overwritten. Therefore, data recovery after format Windows 10/11 is possible. However, this process differs for different hard drives and formatting methods:

For HDD or SSD:

For Quick Format or Full Format:

Although the chances of file retrieval vary for different hard drive types and formatting methods, don't give up hope! You can still find some, if not all, of your lost files with the proper techniques and tools. Check them out next!

Recover Files After Format Windows 10/11 Without Software

At first glance, this may seem almost impossible to accomplish, but it is possible in certain situations, such as creating a volume shadow copy, enabling Windows' built-in file history feature, or backing up the system. If you have these prerequisites, please continue reading.

1. Use File History

After enabling, it ensures your important files are protected from unexpected events. When you lose data by wiping your disk or partition, you can use the following steps to recover data from formatted hard drive in Windows 11/10:

  1. Connect an external or network drive to your computer as a backup.
  2. Opening the accidentally formatted disk.
  3. Click on the "History" button in the top list.

  4. Select the data you lost and click the green button to recover them.

File History provides a convenient and effective way to protect your data. If you don't have it enabled, here's how to use it.

How to Enable File History:

  1. Go to "Settings" > "Update & Security" > "Backup."
  2. Click "Add a drive" to select an external drive or network location for storing backups.
  3. Choose the folders you want to back up under "More options" > "Back up these folders."
  4. Adjust backup frequency, file retention periods, and other settings as needed.
  5. After completing the settings, click "Back up now."

2. Check Shadow Copies

Shadow Copies, also known as Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), is a feature in Microsoft Windows operating systems that allows users to create point-in-time copies of files or volumes. These shadow copies capture snapshots of your data at different points, enabling you to regain them in the event of accidental loss.

Here's a step-by-step guide to data recovery after format Windows 10/11:

  1. Right-click on the formatted drive.
  2. Select "Properties" from the context menu.
  3. Go to the "Previous Versions" tab in the Properties window.

  4. Select a specific shadow copy from the list displayed.
  5. Click on "Open" to view the contents of that shadow copy.
  6. Locate the target files and copy them to a safe location.

3. From System Restore Point

It can revert your system, settings, and personal files to an earlier time. To use this feature:

  1. Click the "Start" icon and type "Create a restore point."

  2. Click "System Restore" and follow the prompts to select a restore point to revert your file and system to previous settings.

The above method requires a backup to work. If not, proceed to the next section.

Data Recovery After Format Windows 10/11 Without Software

After accidentally formatting a hard drive in Windows 10 or 11 without a backup, the golden rule is to stop using the computer immediately. This is crucial because any new data written to the hard drive can overwrite the files you want to recover, making them nearly impossible to retrieve. Then, complete the process using the following reliable and efficient data recovery software for Windows 10 after format.

1. iBeesoft Data Recovery

It employs advanced algorithms to extract lost documents, photos, videos, audio files, emails, and more effectively. Its powerful performance and ease of use make it a popular option. Here are key features:

Best Formatted Data Recovery Software for Windows 11/10

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
  • User-friendly interface with step-by-step instructions for easy unerase Windows 10, 11, and macOS.
  • It can recover deleted files from a thumb drive, HDD, SSD USB drive, SD card, and digital cameras.
  • It offers a fast scan for faster results and a deep scan to extract and reorganize all remaining traces.
Download for Windows Download for macOS

Steps to recover files after format Windows 10/11:

  1. Visit the official iBeesoft website to download the recovery software.
  2. Install it on your PC following the on-screen instructions.
  3. Launch it, choose the formatted hard drive, and click "Scan."

  4. Once the scan is complete, preview the recoverable data to select the ones you want to restore.
  5. Click the "Recover" button to save the selected files to a secure location.


It is a comprehensive tool designed to help users locate missing items from both healthy and corrupted storage devices. You can use the following wizard to retrieve files from formatted a hard drive in Windows 10/11.

  1. Download and Install the R-STUDIO from the official website.
  2. Open the R-STUDIO application once the installation is complete.
  3. Choose the target storage device from which you intend to recover formatted files.

  4. Select the erased data and follow the on-screen prompts to save them.

3. TestDisk

It is an open-source formatted data recovery software for Windows 10. It is a good option for advanced users who prefer manual control over the recovery process. Here are steps:

  1. Download and unzip the archive file.
  2. Double-click "testdisk win.exe" to open it.
  3. Choose "Create a new log file" and follow the wizard to complete the data retrieval.

When the above methods fail, and the item is extremely valuable, it is advisable to turn to professionals. They have the tools and expertise to recover files after format Windows 11 or 10, even in the most challenging situations.

Success Stories and Best Practices

In the flurry at work, an essential system was mistakenly formatted — the server that housed the development environment, including the final product code and graphics. Although nearly 99% of our data was recovered using backups, some files were restored to previous versions. Although this was not perfect, it prevented the company from going bankrupt.

John Wilson

After accidentally formatting my laptop, years of research and countless notes were seemingly lost forever. After a period of despair, I used iBeesoft data recovery on the recommendation of my professor and successfully rescued these precious data.

Marie White

From the above cases, you should know that data recovery after format Windows 11 or 10 is often possible, but prevention is the best way to ensure nothing goes wrong. In the long run, regularly backing up your entire drive or important files will help prevent such incidents from happening again. Therefore, consider a cloud storage service, the system's built-in features, or an external hard disk for backup.

To Wrap Up

Formatting your PC doesn't necessarily mean saying goodbye to your files forever. With the right tools and a careful approach, recovering files after format Windows 10/11 is possible. Remember, swift action and using the appropriate method for your situation are crucial to success.

However, prevention is better than cure. Regular backups are an indispensable habit for protecting your valuable data against formatting and many other types of data loss incidents.


  • Possible! When you format a hard drive, the files are not completely wiped out; their space is marked as available for new data. Until new data overwrite that space, you can recover formatted hard drive in Windows 11 or 10. However, the type of storage (HDD/SSD) and formatting method also affect the success rate.

  • The first step is to stop using the disk immediately. Do not save new files or attempt to reinstall the operating system. This will help you avoid overwriting the data you want to restore. Then, without a backup, try using iBeesoft Data Recovery to recover files after format Windows 10/11.

  • After you ensure that all the data is recovered, you can save it to the same location. If not, then it is recommended that you store them on another drive so that it does not affect the retrieval of the remaining files.

  • The duration depends on the size of the drive and the number of files you are trying to recover. It can range from a few minutes to several hours. Be prepared to allow the format recovery tool plenty of time to complete its scan.

  • While data recovery software provides the best chance of recovery, there's an option to use Windows' built-in features, though success may be limited. Because features such as "Previous Versions" and "File History" rely on the time of the most recent backup.

    1. Regularly back up your data to an external hard drive or cloud storage.
    2. Be cautious while partitioning drives or installing new operating systems.
    3. Use reliable security tools to protect against malicious programs damaging your drives or files.
    4. Avoid sudden power outages and safely remove external drives by ejecting them properly.