How to Recover Data From exFAT Hard Drive on Windows

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recover data from exfat driveDon’t you feel anxious when you lose some important data? The good thing is, you don’t need to. If you just lost data you had stored on an exFAT drive, you may wonder if exFAT data recovery is possible. Fortunately, it is.

You don’t need to be an expert to recover your data either—it’s a fairly simple process. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of performing an exFAT recovery, so you can get your data back in no time.

How to Recover Data From exFAT Formatted Disk?

The exFAT recovery process is much simpler when you have the right tool. Here, we’re going to use Disk Drill Data Recovery, which is available for both Windows and Mac devices. With the free version, you can recover up to 500MB of data from your exFAT partition and also access the Data Protection and Drive Backup features.

Before you start the process, make sure that you have another storage device where you can store the recovered files. It’s best to avoid storing recovered files on the same disk to prevent overwriting.

Follow these steps to recover data from exFAT drive:

  1. Download the Disk Drill’s setup file, launch it and follow the install wizard’s guidelines to complete the installation.disk drill is intalling
  2. Once the installation completes, launch Disk Drill. You’ll see a list of drives with their details. From here, select the device which could be an external hard drive, flash drive, or SD card that you want to recover data from.the main window you see upon launching disk drill
  3. Click on the Search for lost data button at the bottom right. Selecting the method of scan
  4. You’ll now see Disk Drill scan your drive for data on your exFAT partition. file types are visible during the scanOnce the scan completes, it will show you the list of files that can be recovered. Disk Drill segregates files based on file types, so your documents, pictures, and other types of files will appear in an organized list. You can also preview the file before recovering it by clicking on the eye button so you can make sure you’re recovering the correct can preview the files on disk drill
  5. Check the boxes beside files you want to recover. When you’ve selected all files to be recovered, click on the Recover button at the bottom. You’ll now need to select a location where you want to recover the files. Remember to select a location other than the partition you’re recovering from.selecting the location for recovering files

That’s the end of the exFAT data recovery process. Disk Drill will recover the files to your chosen location and you can then access the files from there.

What Is exFAT Disk Format?

Extensible File Allocation Table (exFAT) is a file system designed for portable devices. The exFAT file system is an extension of FAT32, and allows larger file and partition sizes like NTFS. It basically gives you the best of both worlds by offering compatibility similar to FAT32, along with larger file and partition sizes of NFTS.

The exFAT file system comes with a set of advantages over other file systems like FAT32 and NTFS. Here are a few things that give exFAT an edge over other file systems:

  • Easier file transmission between Windows and Mac: Storage devices that are partitioned as exFAT, such as an external hard drive or flash drive, are useful because they are compatible with both Windows and Mac. For instance, if you format your external hard drive as NTFS (New Technology File System), you can’t write anything on it when you plug it into your Mac. However, Mac has read-write support for the exFAT file system.
  • Compatibility with other OSes: You can also format a portable device as FAT32 to make them compatible with both Windows and Mac. In fact, FAT32 offers greater compatibility than exFAT because it’s also compatible with Linux, gaming consoles, and almost any device with a USB port. However, since FAT32 has some limitations, you may still want to use exFAT. Linux doesn’t support exFAT by default, but you can fix this by downloading a few packages. You can also use exFAT on Chrome OS and a few (though not all) gaming consoles.
  • Larger partition and file size: A FAT32 partition can’t exceed 8TB and can only store files smaller than 4GB. This is where its successor, exFAT, offers great utility. An exFAT partition has no realistic limits on the size of the partition or individual files. The exFAT file system allows a maximum file size of 16 exbibytes, which is larger than any file in existence.


Arjun is an Tech ninja, codes HTML and CSS, and has received an honorary mention as the family’s go-to tech help during get-togethers. He has been writing guides for about six years and he’s currently a contributor on major Tech websites like MakeUseOf, HelpDeskGeek and 7 Data Recovery.
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Senior Data Recovery Engineer. Master's degree in Physics, Information Technology for Science Experiments.