Recover Data from An External Drive with/without Software (Ultimate Guide)

by Lorena Hill

Updated on 2023-08-09


5min read

Having an external drive to stack up your valuable data files is helpful, as you cannot tell when your computer will crash. An external drive stores your data safely for as long as possible without diminishing the quality.

Data stored on an external drive are easily accessible, but many find it difficult. Is this situation the same with you? If so, this post is for you, as we’ve created an ultimate guide covering the different techniques to recover data from an external drive with/without software.

Part 1. Causes of External Hard Drive Data Loss

Data stored on an external hard drive is safe for an unlimited number of periods. But not until you encounter the following issues:

  • Accidental Deletion

Accidental deletion is a human error. It occurs when you or someone around you mistakenly deleted data from your hard drive. In such a scenario, you lose the corresponding data.

  • Bug/Virus Attack

Another common reason why you experience data loss on an external hard drive is when the device itself is damaged by bugs or virus. The presence of viruses or bugs often corrupt a computer system, both internal and external drive. When such happens, you lose nearly everything on it.

Other reasons for data loss on an external hard drive include:

  • Corrupt system.
  • Damaged partition structure.
  • Power failure during data storage.

Part 2. Best Way to Recover Data From An External Drive with Software

With the aid of a professional data recovery software like Eassiy, you can retrieve data from an external drive with minimal hassle. This software is the most efficient data recovery solution because of the outstanding performance over the years.

Eassiy Data Recovery tool retrieves more than 1000 types of data from your external drive without crashing the drive itself. This software retrieves data with zero quality loss. It stands out amongst others in the same industry because of the high data recovery success rate.

Key Features:

  • 1-click to recover data from an external drive with no quality loss.
  • Capable of retrieving data from more than 2000+ storage devices such as SD Card, PC, Hard Drive, SSE, camera, and more.
  • Eassiy Data Recovery Software can retrieve 1000+ data types [photos, videos, documents and others]
  • Offers deep and quick scanning modes.

Tutorial Guide to Recover Data from External Hard Drive:

Here’s the detailed instructions you need to bring back those missing data on your external hard drive via Eassiy:

Step 1: Install the Eassiy Data Recovery software and run it so you can retrieve data from your external hard drive. When the software comes up, select the data you want to retrieve by checking the appropriate box. Once done, select the hard drive to scan, and retrieve data from.

Install the Eassiy Data Recovery software | An external drive

Step 2: Proceed and click on the blue Scan icon at the lower right corner of the software page. Eassiy will immediately scan the hard drive for existing data. Preview the files when scanning is completed.

Proceed and click on the blue Scan icon | An external drive

Step 3: Next, select the files you want to retrieve and hit the Recover button to commence data recovery from the external hard drive.

Select the files and hit the Recover button | An external drive

Part 3. How to Recover Data from an External Hard Drive without Software

Here we have alternative ways to retrieve data from your external hard drive, and guess what- no software required. Kindly apply the guide:

Method 1: Run the CHKDSK Utility

CHKDSK Utility is a Windows compatible device designed to help users fix errors they encounter on their storage device. You can also employ the services of this tool to bring back missing data on an external hard drive without stress.

You can apply the steps below to recover data from an external hard drive using CHKDSK Utility:

Step 1: Head to the lower left corner of your Windows computer screen and click on the Quick Start button. Then, type cmd in the search space and right-click command prompt to select Run as Administrator.

Step 2: On completing the above, the corresponding CMD interface will come up. Type chkdsk g: /f. CHDSDK will immediately scan the hard drive.

Type words to scan the hard drive | An external drive

Step 3: Wait for that to complete, then reboot your computer system. Once the computer comes up, check the drive to confirm whether your data have been restored.

NOTE: The above recovery process could take up to an hour.

Method 2: Recover Data Using Command Prompt

Does the aforementioned solution fail to recover data from your external hard drive? You can run a command prompt to retrieve your data. The approach is similar to CHDSDK, but with few changes.

Follow the steps below to recover data using Command Prompt:

Step 1: Connect the corresponding external hard drive to a computer system using the appropriate cord. Once done, navigate to the Start menu and enter cmd in the search field, then hit the Enter key.

Step 2: Find the Command panel in the left hand side of your screen and right-click on it. Once Command panel opens, enter the line: attrib -h -r -s /s /d drive letter:\*.*"

where the drive letter is the corresponding external drive you want to retrieve from. Data retrieval will commence immediately. Wait for that to complete, then check the drive again.

Note: Data recovery using the command prompt is usually slow and the odds of recovering your data are very low.

Method 3: Windows System File Checker

With Windows System File Checker, you can retrieve data from an external drive. The process involved is straightforward.

The steps below explains how this works:

Step 1: Using the key combinations: Windows + X, you can quickly launch the Command Prompt menu on your computer system.

Step 2: A prompt labeled User Account Control will appear on your screen. Click Yes for approval.

Step 3: Enter the command: SFC /scannow and hit the Enter button to proceed. Without further ado, the Windows System File Checker will scan and repair the external hard drive. Reboot your device, your data should be back.

Method 4: Recover Hard Drive Data from Backup

Have you backed up your external hard drive on a cloud storage or another device in the past? If so, you can retrieve the corresponding data from there. This is a very effective method if you wish to use third-party software. All you just need to do us to get the device or cloud storage you backed up your hard drive to and restore the files from there. However, keep in mind that this method will only work for you if you've backed up your hard drive to another device or cloud storage.

Method 5: Use Data Recovery Service

Should the solution above fail to work, the only option left is to contact a data recovery service agent around you. Data Recovery Service agents specialize in HDD data recovery. They are well-known for the successful recovery of lost data on external hard drives, regardless of the scenario the data got missing. Here’s the simple guide to using this solution:

  • Kindly visit or contact any data recovery service agent around you and state your complaint.
  • Send the external hard drive to the required data recovery service location, and wait for feedback.
  • The data recovery service will contact and send your external hard drive back once fixing is over.

Note: Mind you, this operation comes with a cost. You should speak and negotiate with the corresponding agent on the price before sending your external hard drive. Also confirm that the data recovery service is authentic.

Part 4. Helpful Tips to Avoid Hard Drive Data Loss

You can prevent data loss on your external hard drive by applying the following tips:

  • Run Antivirus Software to Scan your Device Regularly

Virus attacks often destroy an external hard drive. To prevent this, we advise that you install a professional antivirus software on your computer and then use it to scan the external hard drive timely. This way you get rid of existing viruses, and your hard drive will be free from data loss.

  • Create Backup for External Hard Drive

Another wise tip you can use to prevent data loss on your hard drive is the creation of extra backup. With an extra backup, you can always retrieve lost or missing data on your external hard drive without hassles. Whether the drive is completely damaged or not, your backup tool will always be available to fetch you the required data you are looking for.

  • Format External Hard Drive

Formatting your external hard drive is a good way to ensure the device is ready for storing data. This solution can be used to prevent data loss on your hard drive.

Here’s how to do that:

Step 1: Connect your hard drive to a computer using the appropriate USB cable and launch File Explorer.

Step 2: Up next, right-click the hard drive and select Format. Then, in the new windows that pop-up, select NTFS and check the box beside Quick Format.

select format system | An external drive

Step 3: Now, hit the Start button at the bottom of the page. Once formatting is completed, try saving your data on the hard drive again.


Now that you have our ultimate guide to recover data from an external drive, select the solution that’s best for you. Our best solution is one with Eassiy Data Recovery tool. The software is known for excellent data recovery results. You should try it out!

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