How do I retrieve data after accidentally formatting my USB

I have a WD Elements USB 2.0 I have stored photographs on here, albeit a few years ago. I use to access them on my Laptop which has recently been playing up. So I decided to put the external drive into my Samsung tablet. A message came up to format it which I carried out and now I realise now its probably wiped out the photos on there. How or can I retrieve what was on there? Thanks in advance.

I totally understand your concern about the photos on your WD Elements USB drive. It sounds like there might have been a bit of a misunderstanding when you formatted the drive on your Samsung tablet.

When you formatted the drive, it likely erased the file system and the data along with it. Unfortunately, this means that the photos you had stored on the drive might have been permanently deleted.

However, before you lose hope completely, you might want to try a couple of things:

  1. Professional Data Recovery Services: If the photos are really important to you, you might want to consider reaching out to a professional data recovery service. They have specialized tools and expertise to potentially recover data even from formatted drives. Just keep in mind that this could be a bit costly.

  2. Check Backups: If you ever had the photos backed up on another device, cloud service, or an external hard drive, now would be a good time to check. Sometimes, we forget that we have backups in unexpected places.

  3. Avoid Further Writes: To maximize the chances of data recovery, avoid using the USB drive for now. Continued use might overwrite the areas where your photos were stored, making recovery even harder.

  4. Learn from the Experience: This situation serves as a reminder of the importance of keeping backups of important data. It’s always a good practice to have copies of precious files in multiple places to avoid this kind of situation in the future.

I know this might not be the news you were hoping for, but I hope these suggestions are helpful. If those photos hold sentimental value, it’s definitely worth exploring professional recovery services or try DIY Software like Stellar Data Recovery once. Best of luck, and feel free to reach out if you have more questions or concerns!


There are many pro tools which are better and cheaper than Stellar.

Software used by data recovery professionals:

R-Photo is freeware.

That said, you first need to identify the model of the drive inside the enclosure. CrystalDiskInfo is one free tool that can do this.

The reason is that some WD external models support TRIM, which means that all your data will have been zeroed. No regular software tool will be able to recover your data in such cases. Instead, you would need to engage expensive professional recovery services. You should expect to pay around US$500.

TRIM Command Support for WD External Drives:

WD external SSD drives and WD external HDD drives that have SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) drive inside, offer TRIM command support which is enabled by default in Windows 7 and above, designed to maintain the performance of SSD or HDD at an optimal level over the lifetime of the drive.

TRIM command support on the USB (SCSI) side is called UNMAP and the controller performs an UNMAP to TRIM translation.


If you formatted your WD Elements USB 2.0 drive on your Samsung tablet, the photos are likely irreversibly erased. While formatting erases data, you can attempt data recovery using tools like Recuva or EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on a computer. Professional data recovery services are an option, albeit expensive. Check cloud backups or other devices for copies of the photos. It’s crucial to cease using the drive immediately to maximize recovery chances. Prevention measures, such as regular backups, are advised to avoid inadvertent data loss in the future.

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As you have formatted, it means all data stored, is lost, and photos on WD must be overwritten, if you are still using the drive. You can try various recovery software available in the market like Recuva, Stellar Data Recovery Software, Easeus, or Testdisk. You can try any of these but I would recommend you to first go for the free edition, if the scan result of the free shows you, the lost data that you want to recover then only you should go for the paid version. If data is very important then you can go for professional recovery services, which are expensive as told by others but the chances of recovery are higher than in software. If you have any backup on the cloud or other drive then your data can also be recovered and there will be no need to spend a penny.