How to Recover Data From a USB External Hard Drive

By Steven Diggs, Jr.

A USB external hard drive is a storage device that plugs into a computer via a USB port. External hard drives store files, such as Word documents and audio files, and are useful because they can free up space on your computer. If you accidentally delete files from your USB external hard drive, there are free downloadable programs that you can use to recover them.

Things You'll Need

  • File-recovery program

Step 1

Install TOKIWA DataRecovery, a free downloadble program. Select the external hard drive from the selection wizard and click “Scan Files.” A list of deleted files will be displayed; click to highlight the ones you want to recover. Click the “Recovery” button to restore the files.

Step 2

Download the free program EASEUS onto your computer. EASEUS is a data-recovery program you can use to restore accidentally deleted files. From the drive-selection menu, choose the external hard drive. A list of deleted files will appear, from which you can choose which files to recover by highlighting them and clicking “Restore.”

Step 3

Recover deleted files by using the free data recovery program Recuva. Open the program and insert the USB external hard drive into your computer. Pick the external drive from the selection box at the top of the program. Check the data you want in the white box below the selection box and left-click "Restore" to recover the files.

Tips & Warnings

  • Store the external hard drive away from direct sunlight.
  • Never unplug an external hard drive while files are being accessed because this will corrupt its data.