Does Initializing A Disk Erase Data? How to Recover Data?

When using the Windows Disk Management Utility, you may have come across an instruction that reads thus, “You must initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it.” Now, you may want to know if it’s safe to initialize a disk, and whether initializing a disk would erase data. 

This post will bring to your knowledge what happens to your data when you initialize a disk, how to recover files and data lost during disk initialization or formatting, and why Logical Disk Manager insisted that you must initialize a disk.

Does Initializing A disk Erase Data?

Windows only request for disk initialization on brand new hard drives that haven’t been used for data storage purposes yet. You should not mistake disk initializing with disk formatting because disk formatting erases everything on a disk, and Windows require disk formatting when a disk becomes corrupt with virus or malware. 

However, there are times when Windows require a used disk (i.e. a hard drive with data) to be initialized, and this occurs when a hard drive is first connected to a computer. When such is the case, then initializing the disk will erase data on the external hard drive.

What If initializing A Disk Erases Your Data

Way 1: Recover Data from An Initialized Disk Using AnyRecover

AnyRecover is a good hard drive recovery tool that can recover data from any device and any data loss situation even when a disk has been initialized. Therefore, when Disk Manager lists your hard drive as “Unknown not initialized” you can initialize it first, then use the most successful hard drive recovery tool – iMyFone AnyRecover to retrieve your erased files from the initialized disk.


233,000+ Downloads

Features of iMyFone AnyRecover:

  • Recover data from an initialized disk using AnyRecover.

  • Recover erased files in an initialized disk and save it in a preferred and secure folder.

  • Offer options to preview and selectively recover lost and erased files from any disk drive, mobile device, or data storage device.

  • Solve other hard disk issues and errors to ensure you have all your files intact and safe.

Try It FreeTry It Free

Steps to recover data from an initialized disk using AnyRecover:

Step 1. On your PC, download and install AnyRecover. Launch it and connect the initialized disk to your Windows computer. Then select the initialized disk that you want to recover from.

select location

Step 2. After selecting the location, hit “Start” button to start scanning.

start scan

Step 3. When the scan process is completed, preview and select the erased files to retrieve them via clicking the “Recover” tab.

scanned files preview

Way 2: How to Safely Initialize A Hard Disk

If your hard disk is displaying the notification “disk 0 (1 or 2) unknown, not initialized” or the disk space is showing unallocated space in Disk Management, then you can initialize the disk to start using it again. The steps to initialize a disk are listed below:

Step 1. Press the Windows key + R, and type “diskmgmt.msc”. Then, click the “Enter” key to open it. This will launch the Windows Disk Management tool. 

Step 2. Select the “Unknown not initialized” disk and right-click it. 

Step 3. Select “Initialize Disk” and follow the Wizard to complete the process. Once you initialize your disk, all the files and data will be erased, but you can recover your data using AnyRecover. However, the solution above is best for those using Windows 10.

Why Disk Manager Insisted that You Initialize A Disk

One of these common hard dish issues could have caused Disk Manager to insist that you must initialize your hard disk.

The hard drive is new and has never been connected to a computer.

When Windows fail to find a valid partitioning table in the hard drive.

Your hard drive is faulty, damaged, or corrupt.

The hard drive has a non-standard partitioning configuration, which causes migration between different storage controllers.

Other issues and errors in the removable hard disk.

AnyRecover is the most complete solution for recovering data from an initialized hard disk. So, if you lost data in a removable hard disk after initializing it, simply use AnyRecover to get whatever you lost back.


By  Taylor Clark , to External Device Recovery

Updated on May 29, 2020

Related Articles: