Undo Quick Format of NTFS Partition

Few days ago I was trying to use a tool called “USB Disk Format” to format my flash drive (NOTE: tool only lists flash drives in dropdown list) so I could use it to install Windows 8 from it. Once formatting completed, I go to my flash drive and behold, all the data is still there?! OK… starting to think that the disk formatter tool didn’t do something right… then I go to my computer and see that my most important hard drive has been formatted instead of the flash drive.

When I say most important HDD, I mean two 1TB drives in mirror raid with almost 800GB of data on them (all my projects and most important data are on them). Most of the data is backed up on an offline drive, but never the less I still loose some data which I wouldn’t really like to lose if I don’t have to.

Partition is now RAW instead of NTFS

This was just a quick format, partition table is overwritten but data is still there. Partition type is now marked as RAW, and each time I try to access it Windows will ask me if I would like to format it since it’s not formatted. Don’t format it because you might make things worse.
I couldn’t scan it with chkdsk because it reports that it doesn’t work with RAW partitions.

If this was proper format procedure disk would have been marked as NTFS, and it would just be empty. But the application obviously malfunctioned and didn’t do something right (aside from the fact that it formatted the wrong drive) so the partition became RAW and completely inaccessible.

Solving it

First thing you need to do is bang your head to the wall so you better remember not to repeat the same mistake that lead you to the formatted drive with important data on it. :)

Now download Windows version of TestDisk which you will use to repair MBR partition Table.
Once you download it, start testdisk_win.exe

Once the app is started you need to select “No Log” like in the following screenshot:
TestDisk Start Screen

  • On next screen select the affected drive and choose “Proceed”
  • Select Intel PC partition (if you have PC)
  • Select “Analyse” to analyse drive and search for lost partitions
  • Select “Quick Search”
  • At this point TestDisk will show partitions that were found, and it should say “Structure: OK.”. Choose you drive and press Enter on your keyboard.
    NOTE: In case you don’t get “Structure: OK” I think that your MBR partition table is not recoverable, but I’m not completely sure as I didn’t have a situation like that.
  • Select “Write”
  • Confirm that you wish write operation by pressing “Y”
  • Press Enter, now you can reboot your computer

Once computer reboots your drive should be accessible again, and your problem is fixed.

9 thoughts on “Undo Quick Format of NTFS Partition

  1. I ran testdisk, which picked up some read errors but made it to the end of analysing, I got all the way to selecting “Write” and confirming with “Y”, then got a “Write Error” message :-(
    I’m thinking it’s game over…

  2. I almost never comment, however i did a few searching and wound up here Undo quick format of NTFS partition.
    And I actually do have some questions for you if you do not mind.
    Could it be simply me or does it appear
    like a few of the remarks appear like they are written by brain dead folks?
    :-P And, if you are writing on additional places, I’d like to
    keep up with anything new you have to post. Would you list of
    all of all your community sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or
    linkedin profile?

  3. ohh man
    that jst scared the shit out of me
    my 500 gb drive got ntfs formated
    but thanks to you
    great job
    keep it up

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