How to recover lost data from FAT/FAT32 drive?

M3 Data Recovery - FAT drive data recovery software helps you recover data lost due to an accidental format, virus attack, software malfunction, file/directory deletion or even sabotage. Simple FAT disk recovery process requires you to only select listed files & directories and copy to a working drive.

Download M3 Data Recovery first, then install and launch it. And choose the right data recovery module according to the data loss reason.

Undelete - Recover delete files

Format Recovery - Recover data from formatted drive, RAW drive or inaccessible drive.

Partition Recovery - Recover data from deleted or lost partition.

NTFS Drive Data Recovery

2. Select a partition which you want to recover lost data from

3. When the scan finishes, you will be able to preview found files to check whether your lost files are found or not. Then select files you want to recover from  NTFS drive and save them.

What is FAT?

Microsoft has two common file systems for disk storage and is known as FAT (File Allocation Table) and NTFS (New Technology File System).

The File Allocation Table file system (FAT) is a cluster based file system first developed in the mid 1970's. FAT32 is the last version of FAT file system, and it is still used by majority of flash memory media storage devices like pen drive, thumb drive, memory card, memory stick, iPod, MP3 players etc. It can support up to 2TB of memory and is also universally supported by all operating systems including Windows, Linux and Mac.

Each file on a FAT system is indexed as a "directory entry", and all of the infomation is record on it, such as file name , file's starting cluster and the size of the file, etc. In order to find a file the Operating System uses this information to get to the first storage cluster of a file. Then it uses a special table at the start of the partition know as the File Allocation Table or FAT to identify the remaining clusters that are used to store the file, and we call it cluster chain. It is important to realize that this information is stored completely separate from your file data and is why FAT data recovery is possible.

When a file is deleted from a FAT file system, only the "direcotry entry" of the file has been marked as deletet. So if you want to recover lost data from a FAT file system, the only thing you must to do is find the "directory entry" of the lost file, then you'll get your lost data back.

But there something you must kown is, when a new file is created, the "directory entry" is marked as deleted will be reused.Obviously, the sooner you try to recover a lost file, the more successful you'll be.

Reasons for loss of data in a FAT Drive.

As you know the most common reason for data loss is:

  • 1. Unexpected deletion by using "shift + delete" keys.
  • 2. Empty Recycle Bin without checking for any important file.
  • 3. Delete large size files bypasses Recycle Bin due to size limit.
  • 4. Formatting drives.

Besides common reasons of data loss in FAT file system, file system corruption is also an important scenario that leads to severe data loss. Corruption to FAT file system can occur because of partitioning errors and most of the times reason is unknown to you. While using third party tools for creating, re-sizing, removing or converting the file system, sudden error might take place causing data loss. Even sudden system shutdown, power rise or virus infection etc also causes data loss in your FAT drive.