How to Access Data When an OS Will Not Boot

When your computer cannot boot its operating system, you need to fix system issues or connect your hard drive to another computer in order to access important data. Unfortunately, many computer users have trouble diagnosing system boot errors and end up taking steps that could damage their files.

How to Access Data When an OS Will Not Boot

Operating system errors can cause tremendous frustration by preventing you from accessing key files.

Some of the most common reasons that an operating system will not boot include:

  • Mechanical or Electrical Hard Drive Failures
  • File Corruption
  • Deleted or Inaccessible System Files
  • Bad Sectors on Hard Drive
  • Accidental Formatting or Partitioning Errors

At Secure Data Recovery Services, we regularly receive hard drives, solid-state drives and other devices that have sustained damage from uninformed data recovery attempts. If you cannot boot your operating system, you should keep your device powered off until you can definitively diagnose the cause of data loss. Attempting to boot a mechanically damaged drive can cause serious media damage, greatly complicating the data recovery process.

Secure Data Recovery Services offers free, no-risk diagnostics for all hard drives, solid-state drives and other boot media. We operate more than two dozen offices in the United States, and with a certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom and the industry's best engineering teams, we can provide reliable data recovery for any device. Contact us today to set up a free evaluation.

Diagnosing Operating System Boot Errors

Before attempting to access data on a damaged boot device, you should consider any error messages or events that preceded the failure. If you noticed unusual operating noises or if your device failed without any notable symptoms, you should assume that it failed physically and send it to Secure Data Recovery Services for an evaluation.

You can safely attempt to boot your media if you are confident that the device lost data due to a logical (software-based) failure. Only attempt to repair your operating system if you deleted system files or took any other steps that could have logically damaged your boot media.

You can attempt to start your computer in safe mode to try to fix basic operating system issues. Many Windows and Mac OS computers hide their advanced boot menus on default. In Windows, you can hold down or tap the F8 key while restarting the machine and select the safe mode option from the boot menu. On a Mac, hold down the shift key while restarting your computer to automatically boot into safe mode. Because safe modes limit hardware support, they can sometimes bypass simple system issues and allow you to access your data.

Alternately, you can connect your media to another computer as a secondary data storage device. Do not attempt this if there is any possibility of a hardware issue. Failed hard drives can sustain serious damage in only a few seconds.

Setting Up a Free Media Evaluation

When you need to access critically important data on your boot device, the safest course of action is to contact a professional data recovery company to set up a media evaluation. Secure Data Recovery Services offers free, no-risk evaluations, and we always take appropriate precautions when handling client media to prevent accidental damage.

We do not run file utilities on media prior to diagnosing failure issues, and our engineers always create bit-level copies of devices before performing logical data recovery procedures. We are also one of the only data recovery companies in the United States with a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom, which we maintain through regular audits, and we perform all media evaluations and physical data recovery procedures in this safe environment.

Our Cleanroom protects client media by removing airborne contaminants that could damage actuator heads, platters and other sensitive components. To meet Class 10 ISO 4 standards, we use advanced filters and environmental controls to limit airborne contamination to 10 particles per cubic foot of laboratory space. Visit our Cleanroom page for more information on the importance of sterile environments in data recovery.

Secure Data Recovery Services has a reputation for our excellent security protocols and media handling procedures. We hold a SSAE 18 Type II Certification, and we were the first data recovery company to earn this credential.

Our other security credentials include:

  • PCI Security Certification
  • SAS 70 Certification
  • SSAE 18 Type II Certification

Within 24 hours of receiving your media, we can provide you with a no-obligation price quote, media analysis and turnaround estimate for data recovery. We offer data recovery services for both logical and physical media issues, and our 24/7/365 services provide an excellent option in emergency data loss scenarios.

To set up free diagnostics for a hard drive, solid-state drive or any other digital device, call Secure Data Recovery Services today at 1-800-388-1266.