My friend had an external drive with NTFS format. She started using iOS, so she formatted it to HFS+ using iOS Disk Utilities. She had realized her mistake and unplugged the drive just after formatting. My question is if it is possible to restore at least part of this removed data? If so, what softwware do you recommend? Should I format this drive again to NTFS format before trying to restore it?


No. You're data is well and truly gone. The reformat will have removed all the file tables so that while the data may well be on the drive blocks there is no way of knowing what block belongs to what file, what the files were called and what the directory tree might look like.

Sorry for the bad news.

  • If there is just a format, without changing partition format, would it be possible to restore? – Matt Mcdon Dec 12 '16 at 22:08
  • The "facts" provided in this answer assume the user chose the (non-default and super time consuming) fully overwriting formatting option. This is most likely not the case and in case of partial overwrite a lot of stuff can be recovered. – Andrea Lazzarotto Dec 15 '16 at 0:17
  • Actually, I didn't. The key is that the volume format has been changed from NTFS to HFS+ so the quick format of just reformatting a partition would not be done - as I said the file tables will have been overwritten as they are now a new format. – Tony Williams Dec 15 '16 at 4:35
  • The MFT in NTFS drive is spread over the first 12.5% of the file system. That's a pretty big area. The file system structures of an empty HFS+ will just overwrite a few bytes of the whole thing, leaving thousands of file records intact and ready to be recovered. – Andrea Lazzarotto Dec 15 '16 at 12:25
  • 1
    This was for sure quick format. I've used easeUS file recovery, and majority of my files is back :) – Matt Mcdon Dec 16 '16 at 8:15

I've succeeded with this recovery - I've left this partition as is, bought and used easeUS recovery tool. I've tried with free ones, but all failed.

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