Partitioning a hard drive comes with many benefits. This includes being able to run more than one operating system on a single computer, the ability to have one partition for more confidential data while the other could be more casual, or you may have multiple people using the same computer and want your data to be kept separate.
Whatever the case may be, deleting a partition will delete with it any data that is on it. You may have deleted a partition and then realized that you shouldn’t have as there were important files on it. Can you recover a deleted partition? The short answer is yes!
Why the partition may be deleted
Most of the time when a partition is missing or deleted, it is not done by the user but is the cause of some other sort of event. The most common and main reasons that your partition could either have been lost or is not showing up anymore are:
- Accidental deletion
- Partitioning error
- Power failure
- OS update
- Partition table corruption
- Hardware failure
- Firmware Issues
Unless the hard drive has experienced physical damage, the partition should be recoverable. The quicker that you act, the higher of a chance that you have of successfully recovering the missing partition and the data that is on it. In this example, we’re going to use Disk Drill to find our lost partition and recover data from it in Windows 10.
Make sure that the partition was actually deleted
While some partition types can’t be deleted at all, most can be. You can not delete partitions such as boot volumes, recovery partitions, OEM partitions, the volume where the page file is located, crash dump files, and hibernation files. When you go into Disk Management and try to delete it if the option is greyed out it is because it falls under one of these categories. If you do have the option to delete one, make sure that you know what files are located on the partition before proceeding.
If you’re using your computer and notice that your partition is gone or that files that you normally use are no longer there, it is possible that one of the above-mentioned cases could have happened to your computer.
Before proceeding, make sure that nothing was unplugged from your computer as you can also have external partitions. If the hard drive was unplugged, your computer would not be able to recognize it anymore.
How to recover a lost partition in Windows 10
Step 1. Download and install Disk Drill for Windows.
Keep in mind that when installing Disk Drill you will have the best chance of success by installing it onto an external device such as an external hard drive or thumb drive. We want to maintain wear and tear on the storage device that we’re trying to recover data from so that the data on it is not overwritten.
Step 2. Scan your Windows computer.
After launching Disk Drill, making the Data Recovery tab active will show us all of the devices/disks that are connected to our windows machine. To start a scan, click on the “Search for last data” option in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. For this example, I am going to delete the “Lost partition 0” and then recover it.
Step 3. View the recovered data.
As our computer is being scanned, we can see that Disk Drill will start displaying the lost information that it has found with our partition being one of those items! You can wait for the scan to finish or click “Review found items” in the upper right-hand corner and recover the partition along with any other files if you need them right away.
Step 4. Choose what to recover.
Clicking on the lost partition, I can view the files that are located on it that Disk Drill has been able to recover for me. I can either recover just individual files off of the partition or the entire partition itself. I am only looking to recover certain files off of it as there were some photos that I want to recover and put back onto my computer.
Step 5. Preview selected files before recovering.
I can double-click on a file to enter the “preview” mode and look at the image before recovering it. Once I have found and decided what files I want to recover, I can check the boxes in the lower right-hand corner as seen in the screenshot below. This helps with those files that don’t have a specific name tailored to them.
Step 6. Recover your missing data.
I can then click “Recover” and Disk Drill will take just a few moments for the deleted files to be back on my computer. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do just individual files as I did above, you do have the option of recovering the entire partition.
Step 7. Verify the recovery was successful.
After the recovery has finished, Disk Drill will give me a confirmation notification along with the path for where the files have been recovered too.
What are some ways that I can prevent my partition from going missing?
- Make a backup of your computer’s internal/external hard drives. You can plug in an external hard drive and use the Windows backup feature to prevent this from happening from here on out. Windows backup comes installed with your windows machine and is free to use. You can get reliable SSD backups that can be thrown into a bag as they don’t have moving parts for fairly reasonable prices these days. Making sure that your computer uses SSDs, in general, are more reliable than spinning hard drives.
- If a power surge was the cause of the partition issue, invest in a surge protector. They offer protection against power surges and most distance lightning strikes. While they can’t protect against direct lightning strikes, they do a good job of offering protection against everything else.
- If you’re using a laptop, make sure that you’re using the charger that came from the manufacturer! Yes, getting one from a 3rd party vendor may save you some money in the long run, but it is not worth the frustration of losing precious files and photos.
- If you do notice that your partition or other data is missing, don’t load new files onto your computer as this can overwrite them and make them unrecoverable. Also, make sure you do the data recovery as soon as you notice that the partition is no longer there to ensure that you have the highest chance of recovering your data.
Knowing how to recover a lost partition or the data off of it, is a valuable skill to know as computers do fail and mistakes do happen. With the right tools and knowledge though, you have a better chance of recovering your data should that happen.