| By Fred Langa |
Unintentionally reformatting a drive is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on a PC, but it doesn’t have to be a total disaster.
With care, you just might get everything on the wiped disk or partition back the way it was.
What to do when you reformat the wrong drive
Stephen Yale had what he aptly describes as an “aaaargh!” moment:
- “I had a 750GB external USB drive connected [to my PC]. I inserted a small 32MB thumb drive to reformat from NTFS to FAT32 and use as a boot disk. I went through the process of formatting the drive whilst talking to a colleague on the telephone. Inadvertently, I formatted the 750GB external USB drive instead of the thumb drive. Aaaargh!
“What can I do — if anything — to recover the data from the drive? Am I hosed or is there a chance of recovery?”
In fact, the increasing use of digital cameras is making this type of error more common. You see, when you “initialize” a camera’s memory, you’re really formatting a solid-state hard drive. (Most cameras use utterly standard FAT16 or FAT32 disk formatting.)
People who would never reformat a PC’s drive will almost surely “initialize” or reformat a digital camera’s solid-state drive many times over the years they own the device. Sooner or later, almost everyone will have a reformatting “aaaargh” moment!