How to Recover Data From a Failed Hard Drive

 by Stephen Drummonsy


When the hard drive on your computer fails, you'll realise the importance of backing up your data. Sooner or later all computer hard drives fail. And I don't need to tell you how valuable your data is, because I'm sure you already know.

If you haven't backed up your data and you really need to get it off the failed hard drive, then your best option will be to hire a professional data recovery specialist. This can be expensive and if your hard drive is very badly damaged it's not always guaranteed to deliver results. But if the data is valuable, it will be a much better option than fooling around with the hard drive yourself if you don't have the right experience.

Remember a few important things before you opt for the do-it-yourself data recover option:

1. You will probably void any warranties that you got with the hard drive

2. Never open the hard drives casing. Exposing it to will cause even more damage

3. Make sure that you are grounded whenever you are working with any electrical equipment, otherwise you may damage it further with static electricity

If you've taken these precautions and you don't have the money to invest in a professional data-recovery specialist - read on.

First Step

Firstly, remove the hard drive from your computer and plug it into a different computer, one that you know is working properly. If you can see the drive in Windows and access the drive from the other computer, it's probable that you have a motherboard problem on the broken computer. However, take this opportunity to back up your hard drive now.

Second Step

If you hear a loud ‘wurring' sound coming from the hard drive or maybe a ‘clicking' sound it maybe that the disk itself is stuck and won't spin. This means that the data can't be read.

You may be able to temporarily get access to the data on the drive by freezing it. Freezing sometimes revives a stalling hard drive.

Take the hard drive out and put it into a freezer bag. Make sure that the bag is properly sealed otherwise condensation can get in and form ice crystals. This will further damage your hard drive. Leave the hard drive in there for 2 or 3 hours at most.

Now plug the hard drive back into the other computer. Go to Windows and check to see if the hard drive shows up. If it does, then get that data off there as quickly as possible. Once the hard drive warms up, it may stop working again.

Third step

If you still can't get this hard drive to spin, then I'm afraid you're going to have to make a decision about how valuable your data is. Because you're going to need a specialist pc repair service to recover it. They will open up the hard drive and remove the disk itself to extract the data - something not usually possible in a domestic environment. This service will probably cost around £350 or $500 as you will need a new hard drive to store any recovered data onto.

My name is Stephen Drummonsy. If you are a novice on the computer like me then the best option is to go to a computer repair expert. For me this option works best. But I have found that backing up all of my files on a regular basis can save me a lot of money if anything goes wrong with my hard drive. I learnt how to do this by taking my laptop to specialist hard drive company. And I have written this article in the hope that it may help others who are not wizzards when it comes to PC or laptop repairs.