I'm desperate and trying almost everything. That's what happened. I was having problem with Time Machine. One file was not letting time machine finish the backup. But to discover this took me a while. Then I was just formatting the backup HDs to see if would fix it. But then I formatted my 8tb external HD with work photos and videos totalling around 4,5tb.

Usually I do things on my own, I don't know why I didn't searched beforehand an answer around google and recovery softwares. But since it was a simple formatting by disk utility I thought it would be simple. But anyway I went to a recovery specialist. Let the HD for 4 days for an estimate. It was too expensive so I denied and the next day got the drive back and tried another technician. This second guy got all my raw data back using PhotoRec. Then tried some softwares and could not get the file structure. After a while he quit and then I went to a third one. After a week he also could not recover with the file structure.

I tried Stellar data Recovery, R-Studio, Disk Drill and some others. None can see the last formatting. And getting many files corrupted specially video.

Is this normal? Is it so hard to recover 100% a Mac formatting? Because I can even see the original factory formatting with the bundled software. Why I can't see my file structure. Am I doing something wrong? Is there something I could try? Anything? I have a little suspicion that the first technician did something to the file structure so others could not repair it in full. Please help.


This sounds like an ad. It's not. Just timing - I just did this the other day (but on purpose). I've been erasing old drives for the last week or so. For kicks, I reformatted one (If I recall correctly, default security settings (no zeroing or writing random data), formate as HFS+ journaled/encrypted. Then I decided to see what I could still get from the original drive.

I used Data Rescue 5. You can download a demo (this is what I used, as my old paid version doesn't work on Mojave). I did not delve in to file contents for more than a few sample files, but I did get what looked like the entire directory structure. The demo let's you recover a whopping total of 10 files. I recovered none, but opened a few for viewing. Paid version is $99. A tad painful, but beats the 2kish that the recovery company was probably going to charge.

It requires another blank (hfs+) drive to use for working space, and you might want another to recover to.

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