You turn your PC on, but you’re out of luck. Three words are all it takes to ruin your day—disk boot failure.
A failed hard drive can be a disaster, especially if you’re one of the nearly 40% of people who never back up their data. Your data is your digital timeline, with everything from family movies to your tax returns at risk if a drive breaks.
Thankfully, there are methods you can try to help you retrieve data from a hard drive if it goes down.
Here are some tips you can try to help you attempt to recover your data.
Hard drive failure isn’t always the end of the road for your drive. There could be all sorts of reasons why your drive isn’t working, from a faulty cable to a corrupted boot sector.
It’s best to take your drive out of its usual environment. Open up your PC, Mac or Laptop (if you can) and take your hard drive out. You’ll want to plug it into another PC to test its working.
Use an external hard drive enclosure to make the job simpler or, if you don’t have one spare, connect your drive to your motherboard. This will be easier if you have a PC, but much less so with a laptop.
If you can detect your hard drive, great! Start recovering files from the hard drive as soon as possible. If your drive is detected but you can’t see your files, it’s time to start testing.
Modern operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS all include some basic tools for testing your drive. Assuming your drive is detected, you’ll want to use these to check for errors.
Your drive might not have critical damage, but it might be in poor condition. Anything from malware to a poor shutdown routine might have caused the software element of your drive to become corrupted.
On Windows, you’ll be able to run the chkdsk command using the command line, while on macOS, you can use the Disk Utility tool to check your drive status.
If malware was the cause, you’ll want to get up to speed with how to protect your PC before you start using it again.
If your drive is picked up, but you just can’t read the data, there’s a strong chance you’ll be able to use data recovery software. This will help you start retrieving data from a hard drive to move it elsewhere.
These are scaled-down versions of the types of software professional teams use to recover data. They’ll scan your drive, bit by bit, to help “patch” up data it thinks belongs together.
If there’s been data corruption, this can help retrieve files you thought you might have lost, especially if you stopped using the drive.
Recovery software can help you with data recovery on a hard drive, but there’s no guarantee of success if the drive itself has damage.
It could have burnt out—quite literally, in some cases, with blown components. Another possible cause of hardware failure is obvious if the drive is clicking when you power it up if you have a traditional hard drive.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to make any kind of repairs to your drive (or retrieve your data) if it’s clicking. This is internal damage to the spinning platters of your drive, and only a miracle (or professional data recovery) can save you.
Damage to the printed circuit, however, can be repaired, although it’s not for the fainthearted. You’ll need to track down an identical hard drive, replace the PCB, and swap the data chips controlling the drive across.
Again—this is not for novices, but if you’re desperate to get your data back and nothing else is working, it could be an option to consider.
Knowing how to recover hard drive data is one thing, but being successful is another. You may find that getting access to your data is all down to luck.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. If you’re worried, unsure, or can’t face the risk of causing more damage, you shouldn’t attempt any kind of data recovery yourself.
You should look for the right data recovery service to help you test your drive further. If there’s any chance of retrieving data from it, specialists will be able to analyze the condition and take the right steps toward recovery.
Don’t panic, though. Unless you’re hearing loud clicking or beeping, your drive still has some life left in it, as long as it’s detected by your OS. A computer repair service like ours might then be able to restore your drive to full health.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic method to help you retrieve data from a hard drive if it starts to fail. Consider the damage before you take your next steps.
If the drive is clicking, beeping, or sounds abnormal in any way, switch off your machine as soon as possible. If it sounds okay, but you can’t detect your drive at all, then hook your drive up to another PC and run some testing.
Consider DIY repairs to a drive (by replacing a PCB, for instance) only in extreme circumstances, as you may end up causing more damage.
Based in Oakville and scared by repairs? Don’t sweat it. Message us today for a free quote to help you troubleshoot your issues so we can get you back online in no time.