Just about the worst thing a Windows user can be told is that Windows wants to format one of your hard drives. This is becoming more prevalent with external hard drives, that can not only be told it needs to be formatted, but can disappear altogether. This article is going to cover what to do when your external hard drive either disappears from Windows, or Windows wants to format your external hard drive.
Why Does Windows Want To Format My Hard Drive
There are a lot of reasons why Windows will ask you to format your external hard drive. The one that surprises me the most is when users tell me that THEY re-formatted their hard drive, changing the file system from FAT 32 to NTFS, or some other file system for Mac or Linux. There is no valid reason for re-formatting your external hard drive that outweighs the risks involved. External hard drive manufacturers chose FAT 32 for a lot of reasons, but mainly because of its ability to be recognized by just about every operating system that exists or has ever existed. It is also capable of managing huge partitions and external hard drives are getting larger and larger. Hard drive capacity has gone from being recorded in MB (megabytes) to GB (gigabytes) and now is being measured in TB (terabytes). FAT 32 can handle partitions up to 2 TB and that is huge! If you have that much storage on an external hard drive, it will probably need to have more than 1 partition anyway. In fact most TB devices have multiple hard drives set up in a RAID anyway. The best bet is to look at devices that have at least a RAID 1 and is a mirror.
When Windows want to format our hard drive, you have a couple of options. The first thing you can do is repair the partition using data recovery software like Recover It All. You can grab the demo and learn more about Recover It All here. The other option is hard drive recovery. Feel free to give DTI a call if you have questions about hard drive recovery or need to ask us a question.