How do I format an external HDD without losing data?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Bill Gatin, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. Bill Gatin macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2011
    Saginaw, MI
    I was using my external in my Xbox One and selected format and I hope that didn't delete everything or something, but now my HDD isn't readable on my Mac. I need to format it. I already looked for how to do this. It says to use the Disk Utility and select Erase. The instructions in the dialog box there says go to Security Options to prevent recovery or something. I don't know...I'm iffy on this...I have nearly the entire 1 TB full. I don't want to risk losing anything.
  2. davedee65 macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2010
    Hi Bill. Formatting a drive will erase all content on that drive, the only way to save the content is to back it up to another location before formatting.

  3. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Sounds like you may have formatted it on the Xbox. Probable that the data is mostly untouched.

    Your next search is for methods to recover the data that's on there,
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Agreed with post 3 above.

    DO NOT use that drive for anything.
    DISCONNECT IT and put it aside until you have run some data recovery software on it.

    You need data recovery software.
    Some that come to mind are:
    - DataRescue3
    - Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery
    - Disk Drill

    ALL data recovery apps work roughly the same way:
    1. You download the app
    2. You launch the app and "aim it" at the problem drive
    3. Generally the app will offer a "deep scan" choice, use that
    4. The app will scan every sector on the drive, and present you with a list of files it believes are recoverable, BUT
    5. The app will only let you recover ONE file. The purpose of this exercise is to let you see if there's a decent possibility for data recovery BEFORE you pay the registration.
    6. If this works, you now pay the registration, get a code, enter the code, and let the app "go to work" on the problem drive.

    Important to understand:
    - You will probably lose all previous folder hierarchies.
    - You probably will lose many file names.
    Both of the above are "par for the course" with DR software. The consolation is that you get the data itself back.

    You WILL need ANOTHER external drive of sufficient size, so that the data recovery app has a "scratch drive" on which to assemble the recovered files.
  5. paul2014 macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2014
    Yeap. data recovery software for download as APP on iphone or HDD in computer.

    for more about how to get a right operation on, can view some data recovery blogs.

Share This Page