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How to Recover Data from a Hard Drive

In order to learn how to recover data from a hard drive, you first have to understand how a computer and hard drive work together. The sooner you take some kind of positive action, the better your chances will be when it comes to your attempts to recover hard drive data. Remember that you should always call one of our certified experts to get a free quote and have us recover your data for you. We are the experts, but the actions you take initially after your drive fails will determine whether your data can be recovered.

How to Recover Data from a Hard Drive

Your chances to recover data from a hard drive are better the sooner you take action.

Do’s and Don’ts

Both consumers and enterprises can recover data effectively if they take steps to ensure the affected hard drive isn’t compromised further in the meantime.

  • Plan to Format or Remove the Drive
    To recover data from dead hard drive, you need professional assistance. Do not attempt to continue accessing the drive. While it may be acceptable to use a boot disk to completely format the drive, this will also erase your data. If you wish to recover your data, the best thing to do is to carefully remove the hard drive and store it safely in a static-free bag until it can be examined by technicians from Secure Data Recovery.

  • Handle the Drive with Extreme Care
    If removing the hard drive is impossible, leave it in the affected device and coordinate with Secure Data Recovery to safely service or ship the device. Once a hard drive has failed, any attempt to start or access it can worsen damage. Even a small amount of drive activity can permanently compromise your files. On the other hand, appropriate tools can be used to salvage data from even the most damaged drives.

  • Don’t Use Free Data Recovery Programs
    Dead hard drive data recovery should never be attempted with a free software program. You should only take advice on how to recover data from a dead hard drive from a professional familiar with your situation. Using free programs can cause your data to be permanently destroyed. This is because files may be rewritten by additional operating data created by the free tool while it is working – making full recovery much harder.

Recovering Your Data on Your Own

If your damaged hard drive is accessible to the second computer you are using, then you can scan the drive and try to recover your data. You can find software online that will scan the platters of your drive and pull data off the platters before they get overwritten. It can be tricky, but remember that you have other options available to you, including contacting our trained professionals.

Step 1

Use Software to Scan Your Drive

You can find free software online that is able to scan and retrieve data from damaged drives. If your drive is not severely damaged, then you can scan it with this software while it is connected to the USB port of a secondary computer. Remember that you are trying to recover your data and not necessarily save the drive, so let the software do its job and don’t worry about whether or not your drive will be reusable after the process is over.

There is software you can buy that will aid in damaged hard drive recovery. You can use it to scan the drive as it is hooked up to your computer, or you can use it to scan your drive as it is hooked up to the secondary computer. The software will scan the drive platters and let you know what data is salvageable and which sectors are completely lost.

Hard drives can be damaged by heat, a bad controller board, or simple wear and tear after years of use. It is common for only parts of a drive to be damaged, leaving other parts fully functional. This kind of software can look into your drive and retrieve some of your data. It can be a tedious process, but it is worth it if you can save some of your information.

Step 2

Try a Different Computer

The problem could be your computer. Remove the hard drive and hook it up as a secondary drive to another computer. You can do this by hooking the drive up directly to the motherboard, or you can buy an external hard drive case and use it to connect the drive to another computer through a USB port. You should have a USB flash drive on hand that holds as much data as your hard drive. This way, you have something you can download the data to from your damaged drive as a backup.

Step 3

Put the Drive in an External Enclosure

To recover hard drive data safely, you need to connect your hard drive to a second computer that has a working operating system. Remove your damaged hard drive and put it in an external enclosure that can be connected to a second computer through a USB port.

When you connect the hard drive to a second computer, you will be able to:

1. Mirror the damaged drive to a fresh drive to salvage your data
2. Scan the damaged drive with scanning software you can find online to see if data can be recovered
3. Analyze the drive with computer software without damaging the data

Step 4

Mirroring the Drive

If you want to recover data from failed hard drive equipment, then you need to preserve the data that is on the drive in case your recovery efforts go wrong. The best way to do that is to put the damaged drive into an external enclosure that connects to a second computer through a USB port. Use the mirroring software on the second computer to mirror the data from the bad drive to a new drive.

It helps to have a new drive that is at least 30 percent larger than the damaged drive to allow enough room for the mirroring. Once the damaged drive is mirrored, then it is time to explore your options.

Contact a Professional

It is acceptable to admit that you are not sure how to recover the data from your own hard drive. If your hard drive clicks when it spins or your computer won’t boot up, then you have problems that we should look at for you. That data is important to you, and you do not want to lose it.

Remember, if you wait too long to call Secure Data Recovery, you could be losing more data than you realize. We have the facilities and the expertise to recover your data and give you what you need to populate a new hard drive. We always recommend that you give us a call and allow us to quote you a price on what it would cost to have us recover your data for you. That way, you have the experienced option you need if your own efforts are not successful.

Our security and control procedures are internationally recognized through SSAE 18 SOC Type II certification, and our dead hard drive recovery experts are among the best in the world. To find out what we can do for you, contact us right away. Have an emergency that can't wait? We also offer expedited same-day service – all backed by our 96% data recovery success rate.