When a Sony Vaio's hard drive or connected USB storage drive is formatted, the system erases the data on the drive to make room for additional files. While the files may seem permanently erased, the formatting process really only erases the user's access the data--the files themselves stay on the drive until new data overwrites them. If you use a recovery program before new files replace them, you can recover formatted files in their original condition. Undelete Plus has a free trial version for download, and Easeus Data Recovery Wizard and PC Inspector have free versions with recovery functionality.
Download Undelete Plus from the eSupport website and run the file to install the software on the Sony Vaio. ESupport recommends you install the program on a drive other than the one you wish to recover formatted files from. Open the program when finished.
Place a check mark next to the formatted drive or drives you wish to scan. The list will include the system's internal hard drives, as well as any connected USB disks, external drives and memory cards.
Press the "Start Scan" button and wait for the process to finish. The time taken will depend on the size of the drive.
Scroll down and place a check mark next to the files you wish to recover. If the list is too long to sort manually, click the "Filter" button to sort according to a specific criterion.
Click the "Open" button to set a location to store the recovered files. To prevent data loss, choose a drive other than the formatted disk. Click "Restore File" to perform the recovery.
Download the installation file from the PC Inspector website and run it to install the software. PC Inspector is free software.
Start PC Inspector and click the "Recover Deleted Files" button. Wait for the system to finish noting the connected drives.
Click on the formatted drive. Click "Preview" to see the drive's current contents, and click the green check mark to continue. A window appears with a list of files removed in formatting.
Select a file you wish to recover and click the "Save file/directory" button marked with a floppy disk icon. Select a location on the system's hard drive or other memory device and click the green check mark. Repeat this step for any other files you wish to recover.
Data Recovery Wizard
Download the Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition from the Easeus website. This edition allows users to recover individually formatted files, but lacks some other functionality of the commercial version and has a one-gigabyte recovery limit. Run the downloaded file to install the software.
Open the program and click on "Deleted File Recovery" in the main menu. Select the drive or partition you wish to recover files from in the list and click "Next." Wait for Data Recovery Wizard to search the drive.
Check the files you wish to recover. Use the "File Preview" button to examine specific files. Click "Next" when finished, and set a new location to store the formatted files.
- Don't save any additional data to the formatted disk before starting recovery. Any computational activity on the disk risks overwriting the formatted files permanently, so perform the recovery as soon as possible.
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