How to Recover Data from FAT32 Drive?

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FAT32 used to be the default file system on almost all drives before NTFS and exFAT. the problem with FAT32 recovery is that, when you have lost data, the recovery options are very limited, as not many data recovery applications support FAT32 file recovery.

Do not worry this article will help you with a few effective solutions to perform data recovery using the FAT32 recovery tool and other manual ways as well.

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Is FAT32 Recovery Possible?

Yes, FAT32 data recovery is entirely possible unless any data has been overwritten.

Well, here is why: When you are deleting a file, only the record in the file system table gets erased, and the actual data is still not touched. So if you haven’t overwritten it with new data you can get the FAT32 data back.

To access and recover unavailable in the file system’s table record, you will need a data recovery tool.

How To Recover Files From FAT32 Drive On Windows and Mac?

To make the complete process of recovering FAT32 files easier, We would suggest you try the SFware data recovery tool for clutter-free and simple data recovery.

The tool can perform scans on the FAT32 drive or partition and recover all the deleted or lost data from the drive. As I said earlier you have only a handful of choices, SFWare is one of the reliable data recovery tools out there as you read this.

The tool supports recovering data from SD cards, hard drives, and other storage devices as well.

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Steps to perform FAT32 Recovery Using SFWare Data Recovery Software

Step 1: Download and Install the SFWare Data Recovery Software.
Step 2: Launch the software, select the FAT32 drive, and click on Start Scan.

Select the drive and click on Start scan
Step 3: Locate the recovered files in the Lost and Found Files and Lost Partition folders (Make use of the Filter and Search box to make the process easier)

browse folders for recovered files
Step 4: After locating the files, Double-click to preview them.

preview the recovered files
Step 5: Once the recovery is completed, Choose the files and click on Save to restore them at your preferred locations.

save the recovered data

NOTE: Make sure to save the recovered FAT32 data in a different location to avoid losing them again

Apart from deletion, there are other reasons like RAW drive, bad sectors, and corruptions that stop you from accessing the files from your FAT32 drive.
RAW Drive: A drive without a file system or system unable to recognize the device.
Bad Sectors: An unreadable disk sector, (Commonly found on hard drives).
Corruption: Corruption refers to damage to the file system or the data on the drive

When your device’s file system fails to recognize the Windows or system does not recognize the file structure on the partition

The next section will list solutions that can help you fix corruption issues in your FAT32 drive without any requirement for additional tools.

Fix FAT32 File Corruption

Solution 1: Windows Error-Checking tool

You can use the built-in tool to check the errors on your FAT32 drive or partition and fix the minor ones.

  • Open File Explorer, right-click on the respective drive or partition, and choose Properties.

choose properties

  • Go to the Tools tab and click on Check to begin the scan.

click on check

Once the scan is completed you can restart the device and check if you can access the files on the FAT32 partition or drive.

Solution 2: Assign a Drive Letter

In the case of FAT32 drive with inaccessible partitions, preventing you from accessing the drive data, you need to assign a new drive letter to resolve it. Here is how to do it:

  • Press Windows+R to open the Run dialog box and type diskmgmt.msc

type diskmgmt.msc


This will open the Disk Management window which displays all the drives and partitions connected to the computer.

  • Right-click on the drive or partition without the drive letter and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  • Click on Change in the Change Drive Letter or Path Window.
  • Choose a drive letter from the drop-down menu and click on OK.

choose a letter to your FAT32 drive

Now open the file explorer and try to access the files from your FAT32 drive.

Solution 3: Chkdsk

In case of minor corruption, this scan will fix the issue with your FAT32 drive.

  • Open Command Prompt as Administrator.
  • Type: chkdsk E: /f (Replace E with your FAT32 drive’s letter) and click on Enter.

type the chkdsk command


This will mark all the bad sectors on the drive and move the data to healthy sectors. Once the scan is completed verify the files and folders of the FAT32 drive.

Solution 4: System Restore

Perform a system restore to get all the previous data to a particular date.

  • Search for Create a restore point and open it.

open choose a restore point

  • Click on System Restore

click on system restore

  • In the next window create a dialog box and choose a point that was created and click on Next.
  • Click on Finish to reboot the system and store the system files and settings to be restored to the restore point state.

Note: Recovering data from damaged or corrupt File System be it NTFS, FAT or Mac files system like hfs, APFS, all require special attention which is only possible through a professional data recovery software. Make sure you use a reliable tool to recover your valuable data.


We highly recommend you take backups of important data or use backup utilities to keep the FAT32 drive data safe at all times, though you have limited options for performing FAT32 file recovery, it is still possible with all the solutions mentioned in this article.

The best option is using a professional data recovery software like SFWare. If you notice any physical damage, you can try recovering data using data recovery services.

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