Q: Can I recover data from a formatted disk?
A disk can be formatted in three different ways: Quick, Standard and Low-Level (physical) format.
Quick Format enables you to quickly format a disk, by simply initializing the directory entry information in the root directory area and the FAT information. The data area during this proves to be still intact.
On the other hand, Standard Format examines the data area, and maps the bad sectors. Since each sector head must be read to determine whether it is bad, the process takes a substantial amount of time. If a bad sector is detected, clusters in that sector are marked in the FAT to prevent them from future usage. However, just like quick format, full format does not overwrite the data area, and the data content is preserved.
Finally, Low-Level Format modifies the surface molecule arrangement, initializes the entire disk, and records sector identifiers to each track (creating addresses to identify sectors within each track). All of the data contained in the disk is initialized, preventing any future recovery attempts.
If file system information such as directory entries or FAT is lost, the file cannot be opened by the Windows operating system. However, Power Data Recovery is capable of directly reading data from the data area to recover files after a quick or standard format.
For hard disks, a quick or standard format is generally carried out as a high-level format, where data areas are not overwritten. Therefore, even though the FAT or the root directory is initialized, Power Data Recovery can still recover the data remaining in the data area.
On the other hand, for disk media that cannot be partitioned with FDISK, such as a floppy disk, a standard format is comparable to a low-level (physical) format process, rendering the original data on the floppy as unrecoverable.