Drive Recovery Hints – Introduction

All hard drives eventually fail. That’s an inevitably that God himself couldn’t change. But the timing and collateral damage associated with your hard drive failure depend heavily on a few key factors that you can control. On the timing side, the ways you manage and maintain the health of your hard drive matter the most, with luck filling in the rest. On the fallout side, how often you backup is the big factor. But what you do when your hard drive starts to fail can play a big role as well.

On this website, we’ll explore a few of the best drive recovery hints that we’ve collected from years of experience in data recovery and disk repair. We’ll give you a quick overview for now, but feel free to delve deeper into the other pages on this site for more details.

Recognizing Signs of Failure

Hard disk drives and solid-state drives tend to be a bit opaque to the everyday user when it comes to communicating the state of their health. Oftentimes, we don’t notice that anything is amiss until the drive is completely dead. While even the savviest technicians will experience the sudden death of a hard drive from time to time, most hard drives give at least some warning before kicking the bucket.

The most telling sign of an impending hard disk failure is audible noise. Clicking, whirring, buzzing and other abnormal sounds are almost always bad news. Beyond that, extremely slow performance, inexplicable read/write errors and boot problems can also be signs that your hard drive is failing. There also a number of software utilities that can assess the overall health of a disk, such as chkdsk.exe, which comes with Windows.

Hard Drive First Aid

Whether you are facing a mechanical failure or a logical error, the most conservative first aid for a failing hard drive is to image the disk. For hard drives that have malfunctioning parts, imaging the disk with a read-only utility can preserve the data before more sectors are corrupted. In the early stages, this is easily a do-it-yourself task. But if your hard drive is severely damaged, you may want to hand it over to a professional, since even read activity can cause irreparable harm to your remaining data.

No matter what, you should stop using the drive for normal operations. Do not boot into the operating system. Do not write new data to it. Do not defrag it. Do not run a system restore. Do not format the disk. All of these will risk data loss, and some of them will guarantee it.

Data Recovery from a RAW File System

When the file system or partition table on a hard drive, flash card or USB stick becomes corrupted, your operating system may be unable to recognize any of the data on it. When this happens, it can appear that your data has completely vanished. This is hardly ever the case. Even if your system recommends formatting the disk, don’t. Instead, attempt to repair the partition or image the drive, save the image to another disk, and then reformat the damaged drive. Then, run a data recovery on the image to salvage the files you need and start fresh.

Fixing Hard Drive Hardware

Do not attempt to fix the hardware of a hard drive yourself. While data recovery and disk repair using off the shelf software is well within the capabilities of most moderately tech savvy users, repairing hard drives is a whole different ball game. Even if you feel comfortable installing a motherboard or configuring a jumper, understand that a hard disk drive is on a completely different level. Hard disk drives are carefully aligned on a nearly microscopic level. When drive recovery labs work on failed hard drives, they do so in class 100 clean rooms to avoid contamination. Even one speck of dust on the platter of your hard disk drive can destroy gigabytes of data.

Likewise, don’t try anything crazy, like popping it into a freezer or dropping it on the floor. These are last resort “fixes” that you can turn to if you’ve tried all other reasonable options and have decided to give up.

Overall, take care, and good luck. Remember:  never write data to a failing hard drive, and never open the case of a hard disk drive.

5 Tips for Recovering Data from a Crashed Hard Drive

The fallout from a crashed hard drive can range from a minor frustration to a complete nightmare. But don’t despair. There’s a good chance that your final paper, treasured family photo, or sensitive financial document is completely recoverable. Whether you choose to enlist the help of a professional or save the money and go at it yourself, these hard drive failure recovery tips will help increase your chances of getting back those crucial files.

4 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Hard Drive

Hard drive failure can come out of nowhere and when it does, it can bring your important work to a grinding halt for days. If your files aren’t backed up (as they really should be) then getting back on track can be an even more gruelling process That’s why it’s important to ensure that your hard drive is healthy and to catch any problems early before they turn in to something much worse.

Data Recovery from an External Hard Drive

All off the shelf computers will come with an internal hard drive, but they are also available to attach externally. Whether it is the ease of portability or the need to expand storage capacity, external hard drives have a number of different uses for varying users. However, being external means that it brings about other issues that could cause your data to corrupt. On top of failures such as mechanical and logical that can occur in internal hard drives, external drives can suffer problems if they are knocked over or carelessly slung. It is also common that external drives can overheat due to poor ventilation on the casing, so be sure yours isn’t sitting in direct sunlight.

How to fix "NTFS partition not accessible" error message

NTFS stands for New Technology File System and is the file system used on all modern versions of Windows. NTFS offers improved performance, disk space utilization and reliability over its FAT predecessor. However, sometimes these partitions can still become corrupt, throwing a “NTFS partition not accessible” or “The directory or file is corrupt or unreadable. Please run Chkdsk utility” error message. When these error messages crop up, you will be essentially locked  out from your data. Reasons for this occurring can vary, from hardware failure to virus infections. Don’t be too alarmed, because there’s still a chance that your data will be recovered.


How to Recover a Drive with a RAW File System

NTFS stands for New Technology File System and is the file system used on all modern versions of Windows. NTFS offers improved performance, disk space utilization and reliability over its FAT predecessor. However, sometimes these partitions can still become corrupt, throwing a “NTFS partition not accessible” or “The directory or file is corrupt or unreadable. Please run Chkdsk utility” error message. When these error messages crop up, you will be essentially locked  out from your data. Reasons for this occurring can vary, from hardware failure to virus infections. Don’t be too alarmed, because there’s still a chance that your data will be recovered.

Never open a cover of a hard drive!

The title of this article says everything you need to know. You should never, ever open the cover of your hard drive. It might sound ridiculous, but even the tiniest speck of dust can mean the end of your data and drive forever.