Hard drive crash? Files gone forever. Don’t panic. Even if your drive fills up and quits working, you still have a chance to get your data back. Recovering data from a hard drive isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible, either.
The key is to have the right resources, know how to locate the specific data you need, and have the patience to sift through the remnants of your drive until you find exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re ready to get started, keep reading for an in-depth guide on the data recovery hard drive.
What kind of hard drive do you have?
The first step is to determine what kind of hard drive you have. If you don’t know, you can read the manufacturer’s guide to figure out what type of hard drive you have. The most popular types of hard drives are IDE, SATA, and SCSI.
Recovering data from a crashed hard drive
First, try to back up your data. If you can’t find a backup drive elsewhere, you can use a USB flash drive or external hard drive to back up your data onto it. Then, try to power down your computer. Next, take the hard drive out and disconnect all cables from the motherboard and connect them directly to an external monitor or desktop PC. The monitor should be set as the main display device for your PC and connected up properly.
Once you are connected to a monitor, turn on the power of your PC with the hard drive still disconnected. It will boot into Windows so that the files already on there won’t be overwritten by anything new.
Once in Windows, plug in an external hard drive and mount it as a virtual disk on your computer’s hard drive. You should then see all of your files available for recovery on this external drive just like if they were saved locally on your computer’s hard drive.
Get your hands on another hard drive
If you don’t have another hard drive to use, then you should contact the manufacturer or seller of your computer. They may be able to take a look at your hard drive and attempt to recover what you want.
If they can’t do anything, you should find an expert in data recovery (or a good data recovery service). However, it may cost more than $200 for them to check out your drive.
Use specialized software to analyze the drive
If you have a hard drive that’s completely unreadable, one way to help recover your data is to use specialized software to analyze the drive. These programs are designed specifically for recovering data from hard drives and can examine your drive for specific files, folders, or other information.
They can even be set up to recover data from a specific area of your hard drive. Once you know where the data is located on the hard drive, you can then use free software or paid software to retrieve that data.
The data you’re looking for should pop up
If you suspect that your hard drive is done, start by checking to see if any data still appears on the screen. If there’s a little bit of data left and it looks readable, then you only need to recover the data from your drive. If all you have left are a few lines of scrolling text but nothing recognizable, don’t give up.
There’s usually some kind of metadata (data about the file) that is stored on the disk that you can use to find what you need. The first thing to do when trying to recover lost data is to check out USBs or external hard drives if possible. If your files are lost, the first step is determining whether or not they can be recovered at all. Is there some sort of formatting or other information that will help identify what exactly was on your drive?
To find this information, it might be helpful to go through your computer settings and check if there’s anything related written into any applications associated with your hard drive. If not, try taking off the case and seeing if there’s anything written on a label inside of it.
If everything else fails, try asking friends for advice about what might have happened; chances are that someone has had this happen before and knows where you should start looking for answers.
Keep digging for more files
The first step is to be patient and dig deep. Don’t give up if the first file you find doesn’t contain your data. There are likely more files on the drive, so keep searching. If you have unreadable files on the drive that you can’t open, don’t delete them; instead, store them in a folder for later use.
If you’re looking for ways to recover data from a crashed or unreadable hard drive, this article has some expert tips for you.