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Top 3 Ways to Recover Deleted Image Files from an External Hard Drive!

Recover Your Deleted Image Files from an External Hard Drive

By Mayank YadavPublished about a year ago 6 min read

An external hard drive is a portable storage device that you can use as a backup drive. Depending on its storage capacity, you can use the external hard drive to store your photos, videos, and other important files. As these hard drives are portable, you can carry a huge amount of data from one place to another.

However, sometimes, instances may occur when the stored photos may get accidentally deleted from external hard drives.

If you ever experience such a problem then don’t worry, you can recover deleted image files from external hard drives. You can choose manual methods or any best photo recovery software, to recover the deleted images. This post provides the top 3 ways to recover deleted images from an external hard drive.

Can I Recover Deleted Images from External Hard Drive?

Before you apply any method to recover deleted pictures from an external hard drive, you must know whether it is possible. So, the answer is - Yes, you can recover deleted image files from your external hard drive. There are several reasons why these files get deleted from an external hard disk and such instances are quite common now. If you have deleted files from an external hard drive, try to find the exact reason.

Restoring deleted files from an external hard drive is easier if you create a backup of stored data on any other storage media. These backup files can help you in various data loss situations from an external hard drive. In case you have not taken a backup of those deleted image files, you can use third-party software to recover deleted photos.

Common Reasons for Deletion of Images from External Hard Drive

Finding the exact reasons for such situations on your devices is important. Some of these includes:

  • Accidental deletion of Image files from External storage media.
  • Formatting of External hard drive in your device.
  • Any virus or malware present in the SD card.
  • Continuously capturing your photos even if you don’t have enough space in your External hard drive.
  • Multiple uses of the same hard drive in various devices.
  • Interruptions like sudden system shutdown, power failure, etc., while using an external hard drive.

Quick Methods to Recover Deleted Image files from External Hard Drive

Once you know the exact cause of photo deletion on your external hard drive, it became very easy to recover deleted photos from Hard drives. In this part of the blog, we have provided several methods you can apply to complete the image recovery process.

Method 01: Recover Deleted Image Files via File History

Windows OS has an in-built backup feature, i.e., File History. For free, you can use this feature to recover the previous versions of deleted or lost image files. Go through the following steps to recover deleted files from an external hard drive using Windows file history:

  • Firstly, go to the folder or external hard drive where you want to recover the deleted or lost files.
  • Now, right-click on that folder and tap the Properties option.

  • Navigate to the Previous Versions tab and select the previous version that you have to recover.
  • Finally, click the “Restore” button to recover the selected file.

Method 02: Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive Using CMD

Go through the following steps to know how to recover deleted pictures on the Windows system using CMD:

  • First, you need to connect the external hard drive to your system. Type CMD in the Windows search box located in the bottom-left corner.
  • Right-click on Command Prompt from the navigation pane and select the “Run as Administrator” option to start Command Prompt with administrative privileges.
  • Now, type command: chkdsk g: /f and press Enter key. You need to replace g with the external hard drive letter from which the file is deleted and wait till the process gets completed.
  • After that, type attrib -h -r -s /s /d X:*.* in the CMD window and press Enter button.

Once the recovery process is completed, a new folder with the recovered files in .chk format will appear on your external HDD. Then, you need to change the .chk file format to its original format and save them in your desired location. Finally, check if you are now able to access the lost files from the external hard disk.

Method 03: Recover Deleted Image Files from External Hard Using Photo Recovery Software

If the above-mentioned manual methods fail to recover deleted photos from an external hard drive, it’s time to use photo recovery software. There are many such software programs available online that you can use to get the deleted photos back. But we recommend you use “Stellar Photo Recovery” software. This image file recovery software can help you in recovering photos of multiple formats, including JPEG, PNG, GIF, RAW, and many others.

This software is compatible with both Windows and Mac devices. It allows you to recover photos from multiple storage devices, like HDD, SSD, 4K Hard Drives, USB Drives, SD Cards, etc. Given below are some simple steps that you need to apply in order to recover deleted pictures using this software:

  • Firstly, download and install the software on your device. Connect the external hard drive to your system and launch the software.
  • From the “Select What to Recover” window, select the type of data you have to recover and click the ‘Next’ button.
  • Select the external hard disk drive from the ‘Connected Drives’ section in the ‘Recover From’ window. Also, enable the “Deep Scan” toggle switch and click ‘Scan’.
  • Next, you will get a window indicating the scan progress. After successful completion of the scanning process, you will get the ‘Scanning Completed Successfully!’ message. Click ‘OK’ to continue.
  • Select the files you have to recover from the Preview section that shows the recoverable items and click ‘Recover’.
  • Select the destination where you have to save the files and click the ‘Start Saving’ button.

Quick Tips to Avoid Data Loss Scenarios from External Hard Drives

Given below are some important tips that you can keep in mind to avoid situations like the sudden deletion of photos from an External hard drive:

  • Avoid connecting your external HDD to virus-infected devices.
  • Always keep regular backups of all your important files.
  • Make sure you are not deleting any important files while removing others from your internal or external hard drive.
  • Avoid interruptions that take place while transferring files from an external HDD.


As there are various reasons why your important image files and other media files get deleted from your external hard drive. While the above-mentioned methods will help you to recover deleted or lost photos, it is important to maintain multiple data backups. These backups can help you in instances like sudden or unexpected data loss.


About the Creator

Mayank Yadav

Mayank Yadav is a digital marketing professional with over 4+ years of experience. Presently, he is vigorously rendering and polishing off his versatile skills in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

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