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Can I unformat a disk after I've formatted it?

If disk formatting has been done while installing a new version of Windows on a laptop, is there any way to recover or unformat the hard disk of the laptop in order to get back the data?

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Unfortunately, formatting operates at a rather basic level on the hardware components of a hard drive. There are any number of UNDELETE utilities that can be used to restore individual files and folders, but once a drive has been fully formatted, you are likely only left with the use of a Data Recovery service such as Ontrack ( You will need to weigh the cost of a DR recovery service against the value/irreplaceability of the data you are looking to recover.

This was first published in August 2002

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