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How To Recover Data From A Dead Hard Drive



They always say prevention is the best cure. For your hard drive, the same can be said. Hard drive recovery of data loss is a lot more difficult than having a ready back-up. However, for most of us, we tend to forget that hard drives do have a finite life.

Hard Drive Lifecycle

Before we talk about data recovery services and procedures, let’s first understand more about the hard drive. We often forget that the hard drive is both electrical and mechanical. And by mechanical we mean it has physically moving parts. From the head, spindle, and spinning drive, mechanical failure is imminent. Any mechanical item will fail after some time. It may take shorter or longer depending on luck and quality, but it does happen. Realizing that hard drives fail is the first step for data recovery.

That is why having a backup system is so important. If you value your data and want to prevent the complications of hard drive recovery, then backing up is imperative. However, since you can not control when your hard drive breaks down, you are still prone to data loss.

Don’t Expect Recovery To Be Exactly How It Originally Was

Imagine hard drive recovery as retrieving a stolen item. Let’s imagine a car for this analogy. You may be getting your car back, but it will not be in the same condition as you lost it. Some smaller components may be missing. Maybe a mirror or radio is not there, some of the things you left in it are no more. You may find some scratches on the paint, some stains on the seat, or some dirt on the dashboard.

Now, imagine your files in that condition. You may be getting your lost files back, but they will not be in the same order. Similar file types will be grouped. Files will be renamed to generic alphanumeric sequences. This means expect your pictures or photos to be mixed, and you will be sorting through them for the next weeks.

Remember, hard drive recovery tools are designed to dump the data from one drive to another. From your malfunctioning drive to a new one. This does not include organizing the files as well.

Determining The Failure

There are two different types of failure for hard drives. As mentioned earlier, mechanical failure is one of them. The other is a logical failure or more on the software side. This can be an effect of a bug or a virus that causes the drive to crash. For mechanical failures, leave it to the experts. Seek professional help to resolve this type of issue. Watch out for ticking or grinding sounds. Any unusual behavior from your hard drive may be an indication of an impending failure.

For logical failures, you do have the option to fix the problem yourself. The important thing here is to find the right data recovery tool or software that will do the job. Remember, a working knowledge of the intricacies of data recovery may be needed.  Sometimes, it is not as simple as clicking next on a wizard. Many of the tools available online will give you a free assessment. You will have an idea of how good your results will be. This will help you choose what tool to use before actually purchasing it.

You Will Invest For The Recovery

There are two main things you will need to invest on for data recovery services. The first one will be money. It can cost between a few to thousands. Data recovery services can be pricey especially if there is mechanical damage involved in the hard drive. For logical failures, it will depend on the tool you will be purchasing. Standard prices will be from almost to a little above a hundred. You may find some free for use tools as well.

Also, this will take a lot of time. Prepare to wait not just for hours, but for days. 100GB of data may take 3-4 days of recovery before completion. So be prepared to spend some money on it, and some time to it.

Some Final Words

One thing I always tell people who experience a dead hard drive is not to panic. Deleted data usually stay on the hard drive. It is essential that you do not overwrite it. So the first thing you should do is to stop doing anything on the malfunctioning drive.

Sometimes, disasters are inevitable. Backups are present but are not 100%. The important thing here is you know what to do in the event of a hard drive failure.