How to Recover a Formatted CD

by Cassie Skelley

Formatting a CD deletes the data on the disc, rewrites the partition table and enables you to choose which file system you would like the disc to use. When the disc writes the partition table, it divides the disk into specific sectors so the disc can save data. ISO 9660 is the most popular disc format. ISO 9660 is mainly used for CDs and the UDF format is used for DVDs. Sometimes you can format a CD without first copying data or saving. To recover your CD, use one of several CD recovery programs.

Using IsoBuster

Navigate to the IsoBuster website (see Resources) and click on "Download" to save the program to your computer.

Double-click on the IsoBuster setup file to install the program. Click "Next" when prompted and choose a directory for the installation. Open the program.

Insert your formatted CD into your CD-ROM drive. If you are prompted to start a new project with the formatted CD, choose "No."

Select your CD-ROM drive containing your CD from the drop-down menu in the top left corner.

Select which files or data you would like recovered. Right-click on the selected file and choose an extraction option of your choice. Choose to "Extract [your specific file]" to recover the data with no other alterations done. You will be able to successfully recover your formatted CD.

Using CD Recovery Toolbox

Navigate to the cnet website (see Resources) and click on "Download Now" to save CD Recovery Toolbox to your computer.

Double-click on the CD Recovery Toolbox icon to install the software. Click "Next" when prompted and select a directory for the installation.

Insert your formatted CD into your computer CD-ROM drive. Open CD Recovery Toolbox and click on the corresponding CD drive containing your disc. Click "Next."

Select a target directory so you can save your formatted CD.

Click "Next" and CD Recovery Toolbox will recover your formatted CD and make a log of the files restored. Click "Exit" once you are finished recovering your CD.

Using CDCheck

Navigate to the CDCheck website (see Resources) and click on the recommended "CDCheck 3.1.14.0 final (stable) release" to save CDCheck to your computer.

Double-click on the CDCheck setup icon to install the program to your computer. Click "Next" when prompted and choose a directory to which you can to save CDCheck.

Insert your formatted CD into your CD-ROM drive. Open CDCheck.

Select the drive containing your CD from the "Source folders/files to recover" drop-down menu.

Select an output directory for the recovered disc contents. Click "Continue" and "Recover." Your formatted CD will be recovered.

Tips

  • check As of November, 2010, IsoBuster was free to download with a $29.95 fee to unlock the fully-featured version. The limited version offered CD recovery.
  • check As of that same time, CD Recovery Toolbox was freeware and CDCheck was free for personal use. Register at CDCheck's website to receive a free license code.

About the Author

Cassie Skelley has been writing articles about computers, electronics, video games and personal care for the Ikana Kai newsletter and Bon Losee Beauty College since 2005. Skelley majored in biology at Brigham Young University-Hawaii and in cosmetology at Bon Losee.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Tsuneo Yamashita/Digital Vision/Getty Images