4 Ways to Unformat Hard Drive/USB Flash/SD (3 free + 1 paid ways)


Is there any unformat freeware that we can use the free unformat utility to unformat drive like portable hdd, hard disk partition, ssd, sd memory card, pen drive etc? When PC, camera, phone sd asks unformatting, or your device has been reformatted by mistake, please stop using the device immediately and download an unformat utility to unformat data at first and then follow the top 4 ways to recover and fix your storage media in this article.


IT'S VERY IMPORTANT: Stop using the drive since writing new data to the media is making damages to the inside files. Then use the unformat tools which are 100% read-only to rescue inside files.

The case

How do I unformat hard drive in Windows 10? I mistakenly formatted my Toshiba external hard disk when it warned not formatting error and wanted to perform reformating. Is it possible to unformat the media and recover files lost due to reformatting? Is there any unformat cmd or any tool that could help me do the unformat?

Solution#1 - Unformat sd/usb/disk using command prompt -free

Definition of Unformat: (According to computing knowledge in Wikipedia)

An external command starting with DOS 5 that restores a formatted disk to its previous contents, providing it was formatted under DOS 5 without the /S switch. The /S switch bypasses saving Unformat information during the format process.
Here are the command line that you may follow to test whether this unformat cmd could work for you.


unformat a: /test  

To unformat the disk in drive A, type:
unformat a: /u  

Note: Unformat is used in data recovery. However in Windows 95, the Unformat command was eliminated.

Steps to unformat drive/card with CMD command in Windows 10/8/7/XP:

  • Connect your external drive/usb/SD card to your Windows 10 using a usb cable (A card reader is required for getting your device connected if it was an SD/microsd).
  • How to sart cmd? click START and type “CMD” in search bar and hit ENTER.
  • This will open new command prompt window.
  • Now type the following command: chkdsk E: /f and ENTER.
  • Next type – Y and hit ENTER to continue.
  • Type – E and hit ENTER
  • Now type the following command: E:\>attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.* and hit ENTER.

Note: since unformat was quite old command that was used in enitial state of the Windows systems, it may do not work well for your Windows 10/8/7. If it does not work for you, try the following rest methods.

Method#2 - Unformat drive/card/ssd using Recuva - free

Recuva is licensed free for personal use that you may download it here

  1. https://www.ccleaner.com/recuva
  2. https://download.cnet.com/Recuva/3000-2242_4-10753287.html


Steps for using Recuva

  • Download it and install it on your PC
  • Get your format problem media connected to PC and run Recuva
  • Let Recuva scan your device
  • And you will see your files

Method#3 - Unformat with iCare Pro - free with paid upgrade

Free Unformat Software Download (386 users' review)


Download iCare Data Recovery Pro Free to unformat hard drive sd memory card unformat usb flash drive and recover data safely.

With iCare Recovery Pro, it is able to resolve following problems:

Download iCare Pro to unformat drive/card/usb

Step1. Connect the storage media to your computer. Free download and install the iCare Data Recovery on the same computer. Launch it and choose a module -'Deep Scan Recovery'.

select recovery mode

Step2.   Choose the drive you need to unformat to scan.

wait while scanning

Step3. preview the found pictures and some other similar, and select files lost due to formatting and recover them.

preview found photo

iCare Data Recovery is full/quick format recovery software, it can unformat any media whether you performed a quick or full format that caused data loss and it is totally free of charge if the recovered data is within 1GB, US$69 to buy a code for unlimited use.

Method#4 - Unformat disk/usb/card on Mac

What does unformat mean? Simply say, undo format refers to the process to recover files after formatting storage media that was reformatted by mistake or has got format error due to other reasons.

Unformat hard drive on MAC or unformat usb drive on mac can be performed by the solution 4.

Here in solution 4, we would recommend an unformat tool that both provides unformat for Windows and MAC - Stellar Data Recovery, which is a paid tool that provides free unformat scanning and it would show you how it can work before you spend a penny.

Here are the steps that you may follow for unformatting your storage media with Stellar Recovery

Step 1: Get your device connected to PC/MAC if it was an external one you need to recover and then open Stellar Data Recovery, select file types you need to recover

select recovery file types

Step 2: Select your unformat device

select drive to unformat

Step 3: Preview found data

preview found files

Step 4: Save files to another device

save data

What to do when your drive/card reported unformat?

When your device said it was unformat and required reformatting, under such circumstances, you need to check out this page and download free format tools.

Recommend: Top 10 free formatting tools for disk/sd/usb flash

Unformat Hard Drive (Internal&External), USB Thumb Drive and All types of memory card

This unformat methods work for the following brands of hard disk/usb flash/SSD

Samsung disk, SATA hard disk, Western Digital hard drive, Seagate external hard drive, Maxtor HD, Hitachi disk, Sandisk SSD and more.

Usually, you can unformat any device to get back lost files by relying on data recovery software only if the storage media is not physically corrupted and lost data is not overwritten.

Hot Articles

External Resource

What is hard disk drive by Wikipedia

What is format by Computerhope

File Recovery > Format Recovery > Howto > Unformat freeware