Is there a way to recover an SD/USB/External drive after it has been written to?

Created by Tobin Davis on on 2013-12-18
Last updated by:
Tobin Davis on on 2013-12-31

This question comes up from time to time. There is no way for Win32DiskImager (or any other program) to recover data on a device when the data space has been overwritten. The data space that is untouched is still intact though, and utilities do exist to attempt to recover that data.

For example, if the user were to select a 2G image file and write it to an 8G SD card, the first 2G of the SD card would be irreversibly overwritten. This is why there is a warning in Win32DiskImager when the user selects a write operation. It is always recommended that the user backup any data from any device being written to, regardless of the utility used to do the writing.

With Win32DiskImager, the user has the option to make a backup prior to overwriting the SD/USB device by selecting a new file and hitting Read.