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What Causes Hard Drive Data Corruption?
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Causes of corrupted data, and how to repair it.

Hard drive data corruption occurs when a system cannot finish writing data to a file or when segments of the file become inaccessible. It is a common cause of data loss, as corrupted files are often unusable.

Hard Drive Data Corruption

Hard drive data corruption can occur due to mechanical component issues, software errors or even electrical events.

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Hard drive data corruption can occur due to mechanical component issues, software errors or even electrical events.

Serious data corruption is more likely with larger files than with smaller files, since larger files take up more physical space on a hard drive's platters. If a hard drive has tracking issues or read/write head problems, corruption may affect several files or folders simultaneously. The physical hard disk issues that contribute to corruption are often caused by poor operating conditions, but all hard drives eventually fail due to mechanical stress and wear.

Common causes of hard drive data corruption include:

  • Bad Sectors
  • Read/Write Head Tracking IssuesSudden Power Failures During File Processes
  • Software Failures
  • Virus Damage
  • Malfunctioning Antivirus Software

Symptoms of File Corruption and Data Loss

File corruption errors are often preceded by sudden system shutdowns, blue screen of death (BSOD) errors and program crashes. This prevents the hard drive from carrying out a requested process properly, which causes localized file damage.

When files are affected by corruption, their parent programs will often refuse to open them. Common error messages include "(file name) is not recognized" and "file format not recognized." Files and folders can also disappear entirely, and your computer's operating system may refer to bad sectors when refusing to execute certain commands.

Because some physical hard drive issues can cause file corruption, you may also notice clicking sounds, excessive vibration and other physical symptoms. Immediately shut down any hard drive if you recognize symptoms of a mechanical or electronic failure.

Try not to write data to any hard drive with widespread file corruption issues. Depending on the source of the corruption, running software and creating files could decrease the chances of a successful data recovery.

Data Recovery Techniques for Corrupted Files

Because bad sectors on a hard drive's platters can cause file corruption, many computer users attempt to treat the issue by running utilities like Scandisk and Chkdsk. These utilities attempt to identify bad sectors, allowing hard drives to run more efficiently. While this process occasionally fixes minor corruption, disk utilities can contribute to media damage. If the read/write heads of a hard drive are in contact with the platters, running a utility will damage the magnetic material that stores your files.

Likewise, some programs have dedicated utilities that treat corruption, but no utility can bypass mechanical or electronic media issues. To avoid hard drive damage, you should keep your drive powered off until you can get a professional evaluation from a data recovery company.

At Secure Data Recovery Services, we specialize in hard drive repair and recovery. We carefully evaluate corrupt hard drives to determine whether physical issues contributed to data loss and always take appropriate steps to protect our clients' media.

Our engineers treat physical media issues in a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom. All hard drives are susceptible to media damage when exposed to untreated air, and our certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom provides sufficient filtration to prevent moisture, dust and other contaminants from interfering in physical repairs. Secure Data Recovery Services is one of the only major data recovery companies with a certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom.

After repairing your drive, we treat corrupt files using proprietary utilities. Our engineers often work directly with corrupt files, and we offer high recovery rates for corrupt hard drives.

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  • Saved the day!

    5.0
    Reviewed on Mar 6 2018

    During a month-long visit to one of our customers in Mexico an employee decided to save all the teams work on a single USB no-name drive, only to have the drive fail before a copy could be made.

    Thanks to Secure Data Recovery all of the data was recovered in just a short time. Right from the beginning Alec walked me through the process and kept me updated on the status of the recovery.
    Everything was very professionally done and we could not be happier with the service we received.

    Hopefully, I never have to do this again but if I do I will be calling Alec!

    Authenticated Auburn Hills, MI
  • Great service

    5.0
    Reviewed on Feb 25 2018

    I woke up one day to a broken hard drive - Todd C. and the rest of the team at Secure helped me every step of the way and gave a fair price for the service. Hope to never go through this again, but very thankful to have SDR helping me out!

    Authenticated Buffalo, NY
  • Best in the Business

    5.0
    Reviewed on Feb 21 2018

    This is by far one of the most professional companies I''ve had the pleasure to deal with. Potential data loss can be most traumatic and they go above to streamline the process - sending mailing labels, providing timely quotes and remaining in communication during the process. Alec Sakenes was extremely helpful answering any questions I had and keeping me up-to-date on progress. I will be referring others to Secure Data Recovery when the opportunity arises!

    Authenticated Santa Maria, CA

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