Computer hard disks―from either laptops or desktops―are susceptible to failure, where the data that you have stored on it either disappears, or can't be found. The good news is that this data can often be recovered. There are various ways of doing so. Before you venture into data recovery territory, it is essential to know the cause of the hard disk failure.
Hard Disk Failure Causes
There are many reasons that can cause the hard disk of a computer to fail. Mostly, these can be classified as under three main types: logical, electrical, or mechanical.
Logical causes include problems with the boot sector of the hard drive, which leads to non-booting of Windows. In this case, you would be able to access your hard drive from another computer.
You can then investigate if you have problems with the boot sector, or if you have bad sectors on the disk itself. Hard disk data recovery, in this case, can be possible with data recovery software.
Electrical causes include problems caused due to voltage fluctuations, which may have led to the burning of the circuit board. For this, you may have to open your desktop's ATX box or your laptop's bottom cover. Ensure that you have shut off the electrical supply to your machine and are working in a static-free environment.
You also need to wear an ESD wrist strap. Under no circumstances must you touch the circuit board, as this might damage the disk head. Just try to see if you can spot any signs of burnt components or burns on the circuit board. If you can, contact your hardware supplier or a service agent to figure out the next step.
Mechanical problems are caused when the hard drive and/or its parts have been physically damaged; this can occur due to a number of causes. You may hear clicking sounds from the hard disk itself. This kind of failure can also be caused by dropping the hard disk, or exposing it to water or a humid atmosphere.
Under no circumstances must you try to shake the hard disk or remove the hard disk cover. Most times, physical repair is not possible. You can find a data recovery service provider who may be able to help you with this problem.
Thus, based on the causes of hard disk failure you can find different methods of recovery.
Tips for Hard Disk Data Recovery
Here are some tips for general hard disk data recovery suggested by professionals.
- Always use firewalls and good virus protection programs for your computer.
- Don't run the disk defragmenter if you want to recover a file that you have ended up deleting. Use a data recovery software first. Doing so will increase your chances of recovering the lost data.
- Programs such as scandisk, chkdsk, or Norton Disk Doctor will not help you with data recovery. In fact, they may often end up hinder the process of hard disk data recovery.
- If your computer is not booting, you can try booting it in safe mode and try to disable or uninstall any recently installed programs which may have caused the problem. You can also try to see if running System Restore solves the problem.
- Before you buy data recovery software, ensure that you know exactly what kind of data it recovers. Instead of trying out a variety of software, first know what kind of data you want to recover, and then look for software which will meet your needs.
- Know what kind of file system your computer hard drive uses. This will help in locating the right software for the recovery process.
- The best tip ever is to always keep a backup of your important data.
- Sometimes it may not be possible to constantly keep backing up data, especially with recent files. If your hard disk crashes while you are working, don't try to save the file as you may also end up losing data saved earlier.
- Before you go to experts, make sure that you know relevant details, such as the operating system, the details of what happened before your hard disk failed, and if your computer still recognizes the drive or not.
These tips will help you identify the problem, and can even help you with data recovery on your own. However, if you are unsure, then it is best that you find a recovery service that offers a 'No Data, No Pay' agreement.