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How to Recover Missing Files from an External Hard Drive on a Mac

Image Source: Aleksey H / Shutterstock

Losing files from an external hard drive connected to your Mac can be frustrating, whether it’s accidental deletion, formatting errors, hardware issues, or system crashes. A reliable file recovery software is essential for getting those files back quickly and with little hassle.

Why Files Disappear from Mac External Storage Devices

Understanding why files disappear from your Mac’s secondary storage devices can help better prevent and solve these issues. Here’s a look at common causes:

Accidental File Deletion

Sometimes, files are deleted without us even realizing it, and they’re often important ones. These unintentional deletions may go unnoticed until it’s too late, making recovery challenging.

Errors in Drive Formatting

Accidental formatting of a drive can wipe it clean. Often, the realization that you’ve formatted the wrong drive comes after the fact.

External Hard Drive Failures

Various issues can make external hard drives unreliable, including physical malfunctions, software conflicts, or incorrect disconnection. Symptoms include inaccessible files, error messages, or the drive not appearing at all.

Mac System Crash

Macs can stop working suddenly due to software bugs, hardware failures, or power interruptions. If an external hard drive is connected during such a system crash, data loss becomes more likely, especially if files were being written or transferred at that time.

Understanding these causes of data loss highlights the importance of a recovery strategy that addresses these different scenarios.

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How to Retrieve Lost Files

To recover lost or deleted files from various storage devices, a comprehensive recovery tool is crucial. This tool should be capable of restoring data lost due to a variety of issues, including problems with internal drives, external hard drives, USB drives, or Time Machine backups. Important features include:

Broad File Recovery Support

  • Variety of Data Types Supported: A superior recovery tool should support a multitude of file types, from text documents and spreadsheets to photos, audio files, and videos. This ensures you can recover all your important files no matter their format.
  • Compatible with Multiple Storage Devices: The tool should work seamlessly with various storage devices, including Mac’s internal hard drives, external HDDs, flash drives, memory cards, and Time Machine backups, enabling recovery from practically any storage medium connected to your Mac.

User-Friendly Interface

  • Suitable for All User Skill Levels: The interface should be straightforward and user-friendly for both beginners and advanced users. Easily understandable instructions are essential for an effective and efficient recovery process.
  • Step-by-Step Recovery Guide: The software should offer a clear, step-by-step recovery approach, generally involving the selection of desired file types, scanning region, execution of the scan, and then the retrieval of selected files. This process ensures a streamlined recovery and improves the likelihood of success.

Detailed Scanning Options

  • Quick and Deep Scans: Having the option to perform fast or thorough scans is crucial. Quick scans are suitable for recently deleted data, whereas deep scans probe deeper for files lost due to more serious issues, such as drive formatting or corruption.
    Scans Targeted by File Type: Being able to customize scan settings for specific data types enhances recovery efficiency by reducing the time needed to find and recover certain files.

Preview Files Before Recovery

A preview feature is essential to ensure you’re recovering the right files. It allows you to verify the integrity and relevance of the files before recovery, helping to avoid unnecessary work.

Support for Various File Systems

Choose a tool that can navigate different file systems, including APFS, HFS+, FAT, exFAT, and NTFS, ensuring support for Mac-formatted as well as Windows-formatted storage devices.

Unique Mac Recovery Features

The best Mac data recovery software should offer more than basic recovery functions; it should include unique capabilities to enhance the recovery process and protect your data:

Pause and Resume Scans

Select programs that allow you to halt ongoing scans and continue later. This can be particularly useful when dealing with large storages requiring lengthy scan times. Pausing lets you manage your recovery at your convenience or to power down the computer without losing your place.

Disk Imaging for Data Protection

Creating an exact copy of your storage device is crucial for safe data recovery, particularly for failing drives. Using a disk image protects the original hardware from stress and potential damage.

Drive Health Monitoring

A tool that provides real-time monitoring of drive health can warn you of issues before they lead to data loss, keeping an eye on vital indicators like temperature and S.M.A.R.T. statuses.

Drive Cloning for Backup

Cloning a drive to a backup copy provides a fail-safe before conducting operations that could risk the original data. This feature offers peace of mind and an extra layer of data protection.

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When Data Recovery Becomes Essential

A robust and adaptable data recovery tool proves invaluable in various situations, providing reliable solutions even under difficult circumstances. Scenarios where such a tool is indispensable include:

Rescue Data from Non-Starting Macs

When your Mac won’t boot, it can seem like a disaster, especially when important data is trapped inside. A good recovery tool should enable you to create a bootable USB drive to access and recover your files, even when the computer can’t start normally.

Restore Files After Disk Formatting or Corruption

Even if you’ve accidentally formatted a drive or it has become corrupted, recovery is possible with a thorough scan that can find and revive the lost data.

Reassemble Fragmented Videos from External Drives

Fragmented video files on removable storage devices can be challenging to recover. Advanced data recovery software can piece together lost fragments of video files, ensuring your collections remain intact.

Choosing Your Mac Data Recovery Software

If you’re dealing with data loss, choosing a reliable recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can make all the difference. Its user-friendly interface, detailed scanning processes, and specialized recovery features make it a strong candidate for handling various data loss scenarios.

Discover the power of Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac by visiting their official website and starting your download today!

Image Source: Aleksey H / Shutterstock

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