Formatting Your Hard Drive Correctly

How To Format Your Hard Disk Drive

When a hard drive comes into the lab at R3 they can be internal, external, or part of a larger multi-drive set up, such as RAID or NAS.

To format a drive (hard disk, floppy disk, flash drive, etc.) basically means to ready the chosen partition on the drive to be used by an operating system (Windows, Mac etc.) It deletes all of the data on the disk already (if there is any) and sets up a file system. For example the most common file system to support Windows is NTFS. For Mac its HFS. However FAT 32 or exFAT can be used and supports both operating systems.

It’s important from the R3 lab’s perspective to find out what operating system the customer is using and therefore what filesystem they need, ideally before we have received the job. This allows the process of data transfer to be seamless and done as quickly as possible. If this information is not known the data could be transferred onto a hard drive with a particular file system, and then the hard drive be sent back out to the customer for use after the recovery and the customer then cannot access their data as it is not recognised by the operating system.

Wrongly formatted drive

This then causes issues for the customer, especially if they need their data back urgently. The only way to resolve a situation like this is to start the transfer of data again to a correctly formatted hard drive. Which in some cases depending on the number of files could be not hours but days.

An example recently of this, was a job we received last week. The hard drive was out of a water damaged MacBook. The recovery was thankfully relatively straightforward. As the data we recovered was from a MacBook the filesystem was HFS. So the recovered data was transferred to a new external hard drive that was formatted for a Mac operating system. This was sent back out to the customer. However what the customer didn’t inform us was that while the hard drive was at R3 getting recovered, they purchased a new laptop. It was a Windows laptop. So when they tried to access the data we sent back to them, it wasn’t recognised by the operating system on the Windows machine.

Ultimately here at R3 this is a rare occurrence. But it can happen from time to time. And when it does it isn’t ideal for either party concerned, as it generates more work and more time for things to be resolve. So something as simple as formatting a hard drive can have a big effect on jobs. Everything can go smoothly until the drive with the recovered media returns to the customer on a wrongly formatted disk. This is why formatting your hard drive correctly is important.

R3 Data Recovery is real lab that deals with real disasters each an every day. If you have RAID that has failed or any data storage device, we are the people to contact. Call us today on 0800 999 3282 for immediate help and assistance.