A lot of factors can influence an HFS formatted drive or partition that can lead to such complex issues as data loss. Whether it’s aging, malware, or your own mistake, it’s always overwhelming to lose important files or even a whole partition. Luckily, there is a solution even for the most difficult situations.
What is HFS+ & Where Is It Used?
But despite the fact that it isn’t the main macOS file system anymore, it’s still being widely used in various devices, such as internal and external drives, solid-state drives, etc.
In general, the main reason why some people still prefer to use the HFS file system over APFS is that it’s compatible with older Macs (those that are powered by macOS 10.12 Sierra and earlier). Besides, HFS has proven to be a better option for mechanical drives, and it also gives support to the Fusion drives while APFS doesn’t.
Can a Deleted HFS Data be Recovered?
Depending on the situation, you can potentially recover data from any type of hard drive on a Mac. So, the answer is — yes, it’s possible to complete an HFS file recovery from most devices. Even if you’ve deleted the whole partition from your storage device or formatted the hard drive, there is a way to get back the missing data.
Whether you want to restore the deleted files from an HFS+ internal hard drive, external storage device, or a solid-state drive, there are a few factors that can influence the data recovery results:
- ⌛ Time: Well, it’s quite simple; the longer you wait, the fewer chances you’ll have to recover the deleted files. So it’s essential to start the recovery process as soon as you’ve noticed that your files are missing.
- ❓ Reason: If some physical damage has been done to the troublesome storage device, you won’t be able to recover your data just with the help of software. In such a case, your best option is to get help from a professional data recovery lab.
- 🖱️ Usage after data loss: It’s important to stop using the damaged drive once you’ve noticed an issue. If you continue to use it even after you’ve realized that files are missing, there is a possibility that the deleted file will get overwritten with new data, which will crash your chances of successful data recovery.
How to Recover Lost or Deleted HFS+ Data
Whether you’ve lost specific files from an HFS/HFS+ drive or the whole partition due to corruption, disk failure, or basic human error, one of these data recovery methods should help you with restoring the missing data.
Option A: Recover Specific Files from an HFS+ Formatted Drive
If you’ve mistakenly erased valuable data from an HFS/HFS+ drive or partition, you might still have a good chance of recovering it. Once you delete a file, it doesn’t permanently disappear right away. The key is to act as fast as possible to make an attempt to recover the deleted files while the data sectors with the file still exist on the drive.
When it comes to recovering specific files from an HFS disk, the best option that you have is to use specialized data recovery software. For this article, we’ll show you how to recover data from an HFS+ drive or partition with a tool called Disk Drill. We chose this application because it’s suitable for users with various tech knowledge levels, it has a proven record of successful data recovery results, and most importantly, it has a great support of HFS.
Option B: Recover a Complete HFS+ Volume/Partition
If you’ve mistakenly deleted or formatted a whole HFS/HFS+ partition and want to recover it, a tool called TestDisk should help you. Whether you were the one who deleted the whole partition, or the data loss happened because of a virus or disk failure, this powerful data recovery software can restore the lost, deleted, or damaged HFS formatted partition/volume.
Test Disk is an open-source data recovery utility, meaning it’s completely free to use. Overall, it’s quite an effective tool when it comes to recovering whole HFS partitions. But there is one thing about this software that many users don’t like— it has a text-based user interface. So if you’re not comfortable with using such applications, it might be slightly complicated for you to navigate this tool.
Can I Recover HFS+ Formatted Disks on Windows?
Yes! Even though it’s impossible to read by default HFS/HFS+ formatted drives on a Windows-based computer, there is a way to recover partitions with this file system on such a computer. All you need to do to restore data from an HFS drive is download and install a data recovery tool like Disk Drill on your computer and perform the recovery.
Also, keep in mind that if the HFS drive which you’re trying to recover data from is encrypted with a FileVault password, you’ll need to decrypt it before moving on with the recovery process.
Even though the HFS or HFS+ file system is a great option for external hard drives, it’s not as resistant to data loss as APFS.
Therefore, it’s always a good idea to prevent something like that from happening rather than having to deal with the consequences. The best way to do it is by regularly checking your drive for errors (for example, with Disk Utility) and if possible, fixing the hard drive right away. And if you notice that your drive has been physically damaged, get help from professionals as soon as you have the chance to retrieve the data from it while it’s still an option.