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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Apr 24, 2010
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    recovering data after a low level format?
    hi all, new mac user here and I have a problem. My brother (a mac user) took a "spare" drive I had and reformatted it. He said he did a low level format but now I have realized there is some data that I do actually need on that drive. is there any hope of recovering the files from the drive or am I dreaming?!

    Thanks...

  2. #2

    Kevriano's Avatar
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    If he's reformatted, no chance at all, regardless of "level" whatever that means. A re-format always erases the drive completely. Sorry!
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  3. #3


    Member Since
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    hmmm ok well I am a PC user and on windows if you reformat you can still recover the data with certain software so that's why I asked. No chance of something similar for the Mac??! I am beginning to regret my move to the Mac as each day goes by....*sigh*

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    Contrary to what was posted, yes, the data can be recovered. However, the cost will likely not be worth the effort. You are probably looking at 2K just to start looking for the data.

    Kevriano, you need to read this...

    Disk formatting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Curious why he did a low level format. It generally isn't used that much any longer if you can even do it. My bet is that he didn't really do this but may think that he did as it is a very geeky thing to do. Even then, you are still looking at a pretty penny to recover the data. Tell your brother that LLF is no longer needed and really shouldn't be used on the drives made today.

  5. #5

    Kevriano's Avatar
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    Hmm, interesting, but is it relevant to Mac? I have always thought that reformatting in Disk Utility (assuming that's what he used) wiped the drive.
    Yes I am aware that there are ways of retrieving data, but given the cost involved I wouldn't consider mentioning it.
    To the OP, there are various programs for Mac but all cost ($100 +), though some allow you to look to see what can be recovered first.
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  6. #6

    JohnCL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaFlake View Post
    Contrary to what was posted, yes, the data can be recovered. However, the cost will likely not be worth the effort. You are probably looking at 2K just to start looking for the data.

    Kevriano, you need to read this...

    Disk formatting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Curious why he did a low level format. It generally isn't used that much any longer if you can even do it. My bet is that he didn't really do this but may think that he did as it is a very geeky thing to do. Even then, you are still looking at a pretty penny to recover the data. Tell your brother that LLF is no longer needed and really shouldn't be used on the drives made today.
    Back in the days when drives used stepper motor actuators is where the LLF was useful. The tracks on the platters would move from where the heads expected them to be, and that would cause drive errors. The low level format would fix that problem. Modern drives use voice coil actuators and performing a LLF is basically a waste of time. Modern drives receive a low level format at manufacture for the life of the drive, and all that is needed to factory freshen the drive is to use a zero fill utility of some sort.


    Bottom line is that it could be possible to retrieve data, but you need to determine how much that data is worth.

  7. #7


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCL View Post
    Back in the days when drives used stepper motor actuators is where the LLF was useful. The tracks on the platters would move from where the heads expected them to be, and that would cause drive errors. The low level format would fix that problem. Modern drives use voice coil actuators and performing a LLF is basically a waste of time. Modern drives receive a low level format at manufacture for the life of the drive, and all that is needed to factory freshen the drive is to use a zero fill utility of some sort.


    Bottom line is that it could be possible to retrieve data, but you need to determine how much that data is worth.
    I know, I just wanted to keep it simple.

  8. #8


    Member Since
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    ok thanks guys i get it now, it will cost me a fortune to recover the data but i MAY be willing to pay as it is 6 years worth of my files.

    now i do have the data on another drive but its currently failing with the error: The disk “WD Backup” was not repairable by this computer. It is being made available to you with limited functionality. You must back up your data and reformat the disk as soon as possible.

    i can see some of my data but not all of it. i have backed up what i can from the drive but i am positive there is other data on there but i cannot see if for some reason?

    can you recommend some recovery software for me to use on this drive or any other suggestions for getting my files back?!

    thanks!

  9. #9

    chscag's Avatar
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    Try this software: Data Rescue III $99.00 for a license but well worth it. Good luck.

    Regards.

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Apr 24, 2010
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    thanks!!

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