How to Recover Data from a Damaged/Failed/Crashed Hard Drive or External Drive?

A step-by-step guide to recovering deleted files from a hard drive or external drive using data recovery software tools.Recover data from hard drives.
Sometimes, while working on a computer, you end up losing your work due to sudden power or system problems, since you are in such a hurry that you forgot to save the file. So, in this article, I will explain how to recover data from a defective, dead, or erased hard drive or external drive.
Recover Data from a Damaged/Failed/Crashed Hard Drive or External Drive

What makes data recovery possible?

The most surprising fact about data loss is that it is not actually ignored by memory, but hidden, only for the new files that overwrite it. This an interesting technological difference makes the data recoverable.

Whenever a file is deleted from a hard drive, it is not actually deleted. What erased is the information that indicates the location of the file on the hard drive. 

The operating system uses these pointers to build the directory which consists of pointers for every other file on the hard drive. When the pointer is removed, the file becomes substantially invisible to the operating system but the file still exists. Your operating system does not know how to find it. So, that's why we need a recovery software.

The only way to completely erase a file is to overwrite the data with other files. Files that have no pointers in the directory structure will eventually be overwritten by the operating system, so the longer an unallocated file remains on the hard drive, the greater the chance that it will be overwritten. 

Don't worry! Here is the way to recover all your deleted files but not all files will be recoverable it depends on the file condition.

Steps to recover deleted files

> Check "Recycle Bin" on your system. Most of our deleted files are stored in the recycle bin before the system automatically deletes them. However, it should not be assumed that heavy files from external drives are often permanently removed from the system without being stored in the Recycle Bin.

> In case the file cannot be found in the Recycle Bin, it has been permanently deleted. To recover these files, you can download any of the free data recovery tools available from the Internet. 

Some best data recovery tools include Recuva, Disk Digger, Wise Data Recovery, Free Undelete, Pandora Recovery, MiniTool Power Data Recovery, Glary Undelete, UndeleteMyFiles Pro, PC Inspector File Recovery, Wondershare Dr.Fone, EaseUS MobiSaver, etc. You can try any of these tools all are good, I use Recuva.

> Download any of these tools above & run the .exe part to install it.

> Let's consider if you choose Recuva, Open the tool.

> Steps for Recuva.

Note: You can also choose external drives even pen drives if you want to restore any corrupted data from those. 

> You may also choose the Deep Scan option if necessary depending upon circumstances.

> After files are being recovered the one you are searching for, choose a location to save those recovered files on your system.

> Your files are now ready to be used.

Note: The above steps are specifically for Recuva. Other tools may have a different interface. The interface is simple for all of them. Just choose the drive and files that need to be recovered and save them after recovering. Refer to their websites for more information.

How to Recover Data from Damaged/Failed/Crashed Hard Drive or External Drive?

Common types of hard drive issues

> Loss of data due to software.

Software data loss can occur due to inappropriate software installed on your pc or it can be due to viruses or malware.

> Sometimes your hard drive doesn't spin.

In this case, PCB inside your hard drive gets damaged due to voltage spikes. So if your hard drive is not spinning make sure you check whether your PCB which is responsible for driving or processing data is ok or not. You can easily replace it.

> Beep sound or clicking sound.

If your hard drive is making clicking sound then it can be the issue with the actuator which is responsible for reading/writing data. When something goes wrong between actuator to read/write head & platter such sounds may come.

Beep sound may occur because heads and the hard drive plates are so small that they sometimes get stuck together. In this case, repair costs will be high until & unless your data stored is very important.

> Hard drive is not detected.

When your computer cannot detect a hard drive that you know is working properly, it could mean that the hard drive is not compatible with your laptop/desktop.

Why can hard drives not be detectable?  

> If the unit suffers physical damage due to mismanagement or fall.

> Due to a sudden system shutdown while an external hard drive is connected.

> Due to a virus/malware infection.

> Due to excessive or prolonged use.

> Deleting system files from the hard drive, drivers, or operating system corruption. 

Common solutions you can try

Before deciding to go out or go to a service center, here's what to try:

1) Try connecting the hard drive to another USB port. If it works, it means the problem is in your system's USB port.

2) Try connecting the hard drive to your friend's computer.

3) Reassign the drive letter to the hard drive. For this: Press Windows + R, type diskmgmt.msc in the box and click "OK".

4) In the window that opens, write down all the letters already assigned to the units.

5) Select the particular drive & right-click on it, choose "Change drive letter and paths" and in the window that opens, click on the "Add" button.

6) Choose a drive letter from the dropdown menu and click "OK".

7) Restart your PC or reconnect the drive to your computer and see if you can access it through File Explorer.

8) The final solution should make the unit recognizable and accessible to some extent. However, a warning message may appear to format the drive for reuse. In this case, press "Cancel".

However, if you've already clicked "Format", keep calm. You can recover your data even after formatting.

How to recover data from internal hard disk which is not detecting?

There are several common reasons why an internal hard drive is not detected.

> The hard drive does not have a drive letter.

> The file system of your hard drive is not compatible with the OS.

> Use hard drive enclosures for your internal hard drive to connect it to another computer via USB.

> The hard drive has a partition issue.

> The USB port or cable maybe broken.

> Infection with malware and virus attacks.

> Check If the drive that you connected is detected or not by Windows, once detected and all partitions are shown, then follow the above recovery steps.

Some additional steps:

1. If your internal hard drive is corrupted, try formatting it. 

2. Assign a drive letter by right-clicking on your hard drive and choosing the "Change Drive Letter and Paths" option. 

3. Your hard drive may be unallocated in disc management at times. Then you just need to create a new partition for it by right-clicking on the unallocated drive and selecting "New Simple Volume" from the list of options. 

4. Also, you can try connecting your hard drive to different USB ports to see if it will show up.

An Engineer by passion and Technology Enthusiast.

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