Disk drive failures are unfortunately quite common. If you’re anything like the average person, you probably have a couple of dead drives in your home or office storage unit. And, if you’re anything like the average computer professional, you’ll probably have a bit of experience working with disk drives as well. When your drive fails, it’s no fun.
You have to go out and buy a new one, take the old one to the recycling center, and lose some data in the process. But there are hard drive recovery services to recover some of that data if you’re prepared to invest some time and effort. We’ll show you a few recovery methods that can help you save your precious data and get back to your normal life.
What Causes a Disk Drive Failure?
Disk drive failures are caused by a number of different factors. One of the most common is a power surge or power failure. A lot of motherboards will have circuitry that protects against this, but if you’re using a desktop machine that doesn’t have such protection, it can cause your drive to fail and lose all its data. Other causes include improper electrical connections and poor ventilation.
Recovering Data from a Dead Disk Drive
When a disk drive dies, you might be able to recover some of the data using one of these methods:
- Flashing the drive with your operating system’s built-in recovery software.
- Using data recovery software.
- Using hardware that can read the drive and extract data from it.
- Reading the drive surface with a microscope.
Recovering Data from a Damaged Disk Drive
If you’re lucky, you can recover some of the data on your damaged disk drive. It’s usually a good idea to back up your data before you start this process, but it doesn’t have to be a perfect backup. If you can make an image or clone of the drive, that would be ideal. You can use software like ddrescue or TestDisk to recover data from a damaged disk. This process is dependent on recovering files from hard drives that are not completely dead by using techniques like read-only mode and skipping file clusters.
If the damage is too serious, you might have no choice but to replace the drive with a new one and hope for the best. Luckily, replacing hard disks has become much easier over the years. Most common desktop computers will come with a standard internal hard disk drive that is accessible by removing some screws on the bottom cover of your computer case.
It may be worth buying an external hard disk drive if your computer does not have one built-in because it will reduce downtime during an emergency situation when you need access to all of your important data quickly.
Recovering Data from a Dead or Damaged Hard Drive or Solid-State Drive
When your hard drive or solid-state drive dies, the first thing you’re going to want to do is salvage as much data as possible. You can do this by using a program like EaseUS Todo Backup (EASEUS) or Mac Data Recovery (Mac Data Recovery) to scan your drive for potentially recoverable files.
If you have a large disk, it might take quite some time to scan through everything, depending on how much data is on your drive. The next step is to perform a quick filesystem check. A quick filesystem check will let you know if the areas of your computer that house your important data are all still intact and readable.
This process can also be done from outside of the device with a USB flash drive or other external storage devices that are connected when the device fails, but we’ll leave that up to you to figure out how best to do that. If it’s safe, you should also attempt at least one last backup before giving up on the dead or damaged hard drive or solid-state drive.
This process can be done by connecting an external hard drive while the system is running and making a local copy of all of the important files that could contain data that can’t be found anywhere else on the system.
Is Your Data Lost Forever?
It’s unfortunate, but data loss is always a possibility. And if your hard drive is dead or damaged, you’re out of luck. But don’t despair: There are still some things you can do to save your precious data. First, if the disk drive is still attached to the computer and it has power, try running a disk checker tool on the drive.
The disk checker tool will report any errors it finds in the disk and let you know whether or not you should continue trying to recover data from it. If there are no errors, then you may want to attempt recovery.
If there are errors found by the disk checker software and it cannot be repaired, then you might want to just buy a new drive and start over with a fresh install of Windows or Mac OS X.