How to Recover a Bad Hard Drive That Is Not Working or Is Damaged

How to recover a bad hard drive - Read about the causes of the hard drive damage. How to recover data from a disk that obtained physical or logical damages. Any failure in the operation of the hard disk can cause damage and loss of all the information stored in it. However, even such a catastrophic situation is not hopeless. In some isolated cases, the user can repair the hard drive and restore the data, partially or totally, from a hard drive that is not working or is damaged. In this manual, we will describe the main causes that can cause hard disk damage and present effective ways to return your data.

The main element of a personal computer or laptop, responsible for the safe storage of any user data is the hard disk HDD . Regardless of whether you use external or internal hard drives, they have the greatest capacity, compared to other storage devices, which is the key to their extraordinary popularity and extensive use.

It is expected that in case of damage, malfunction or hard drive failure, all the information in it becomes inaccessible to the user. The most important user data can be lost, to whose collection a lot of time and strength was spent, and it is not possible to recreate them (for example, personal photographs and video chronicles). However, despite the tragedy of the situation, it is not critical, and user data can be restored. In our manual, from now on, we will take note of the main causes of the damage to the hard disk and introduce ways to return the user's data.

Hard disk composition

Before proceeding to the description of possible causes that can lead to breakage or damage to the hard disk, it is necessary to emphasize the description of the disk composition for the most complete understanding of the problems.

The hard disk HDD (in other words, the unit in magnetic hard drives) represents a mechanical memory storage device, whose main capabilities are intended for the recording and storage of various user information. For example, commercial and personal documents, music, video recordings, various photographs and images, electronic messages, projects and presentations, scientific and literary studies, games, etc. - only a small part of all the data, for storage and access for which the hard disk is responsible.

The main hard disk nodes are rigid glass or aluminum plates (magnetic disks), covered with a layer of special material, designed directly for data storage. The recording and reading of any information occurs through the special reading heads that do not touch the plates during operation, which increases the life of the hard disk. And the management and total control over all the main functions of the hard disk is done by the electronic control board.

The combination of these basic elements allows the disk to store, record and read any data, according to the user's wish, for a long time.

Backup of the data.

Hard disks are quite reliable, but they have a certain resource. And the closer you come to an end, the greater the chances that the hard drive will deteriorate or stop working. However, even in such a situation, when the disk stops working, there are ways to recover the data stored in it.

Therefore, since the disk may lose its functionality, especially with the presence of warning signs, which we describe below, it is necessary to pay attention to the creation of a disk backup, for example, on a device of external storage. Or use any of the possible ways to create a backup in a cloud data store. This method is very convenient, since it allows you to save a large amount of time in case of an unexpected failure of the main hard drive, and at the same time, gives you access to your data at any time and from any computer device.

Despite the positive result of creating a backup, such methods may have some disadvantages. When storing data on another device, there is a risk that it may also fail, such as main storage. But the possibility of both devices becoming unusable at the same time is very small. In addition, the device used as backup storage must have a significant internal volume, since the amount of data used by the user increases daily.

With the storage in the cloud of a backup of the data, there is always a risk of access to them by third parties, loss due to an attack of viruses or piracy. Therefore, this method is appropriate only if the user fully trusts the security of their data or does not fear that scammers can steal them.

Based on their own preferences, users choose one or the other reservation method for themselves. However, the main conclusion remains that such a copy is necessary.

Possible indices of presence of damages in the hard disk.

With the emergence of certain indexes, you can find out about a future failure of the hard drive and prepare for it, protecting your data by creating backup copies or transferring them to another storage device. Here are some basic indices to which we must pay attention:

Strange noises : sometimes users may hear some strange noises that may indicate that their disk is damaged and needs to be repaired immediately. In this case, the subsequent use of such disk is unacceptable.

Data that disappears - when the personal data is lost or the user can not save the documents, this may mean that his disk tries to repair the damage and we must think about saving all the data until it completely loses its functionality. Or there may be other causes, such as the impact of malicious programs (viruses), which can also lead to disk deficiencies.

Computer failures : if your computer regularly shows a blue screen, or during the initial load, the process stops and the startup returns, this may indicate a problem with the disk.

Slow access time : modern computers have ultra-fast processors, so it does not require a lot of time to open a folder or delete certain files. If the processes in the computer are performed slowly and the performance of the computer has decreased, then the possibility that your disk can no longer be used is great.

Preliminary actions and diagnostics

Once you are faced with any index that indicates a possible early damage to the hard drive, you must perform a series of actions to reduce the risk of irreversible loss of data stored on this disk.

The first step is to determine if it is really a hard drive failure that the user faces. Therefore, you have to stop using the computer and turn it off. Even if the user does not access the disk directly, the operating system can perform various actions independently and record a variety of data to the system disk: temporary files, fragments of the paging file, registry data, logbook, etc., which can re-record the information that must be restored. Sometimes, a very small change may be enough to lose the necessary data forever.

The next step will be to remove the problematic hard drive and connect it to another alternate personal computer as the additional disk. Try connecting the hard drive with a separate cable or use a universal adapter. If there is no other computer, take a spare functional hard drive, in whose operation you are sure, and insert it in the place of your disk, whose functional capacity you wish to verify. Install the operating system on the new disk and use it as the primary one, and then, by addition, connect the disk that is verified.

If the computer can confirm the integrity of the hard drive and give full access to its content, then the problem is probably related to other computers, with cables or ports on your computer. Then replace the damaged cables with new ones and reconnect your hard drive to another connector. In rare cases, a hard drive that does not work on your particular computer (but works completely on others) may indicate a deficiency of the motherboard. In any case, it will be necessary to carry out a technical verification of the personal computer in general.

Causes of hard drive damage and possible ways to fix them

There are many situations that cause damage to the disk. Your personal computer works fine, but one day it suddenly stops working, there is no download or there is no access to the files. However, whatever happens, there are two main causes that can lead to a hard drive failure: mechanical damage or a deficiency due to a logic failure. Each of the causes combines several types of failures, which we will consider later.

Mechanical damage

This general damage includes three main types of failures:

Damage to electronic management board : Such deficiency leads to loss of access to the hard drive. At the same time, all the data will be completely safe, or only a small part of all the information can be damaged. The damaged plate can be repaired (for example, replacing burned capacitors) or completely replaced by another plate. However, it must be taken into account that the electronic management board must be compatible with the disk, that is, match the main parameters (for example, by model, series and firmware version) and satisfy the adaptive configurations of the specific unit. . After the actions performed, the disk can be used again.

Mechanical hardware failures inside the hermetic block : Mainly, they are accompanied by rips or breaks in the heads, destruction of bearings and motors, which in turn can damage the plates. Sometimes, the head block may get stuck in the parking area or head damage blocks access to certain sectors. In the case of such failure, the hard disk, as a rule, does not start and is not detected by the basic BIOS system of the computer. Eliminate independently the deficiency arising from a habitual user, it will be practically impossible, since even the dust microparticles, entries in the disk in the process of opening, can lead to its final failure.

Damage to the internal magnetic plates of the hard disk : It can be either a type of independent damage or a consequence of the hardware problems described in the previous section. In general, the damage is manifested with the emergence of scratches or BAD blocks : deteriorated areas that are not available for data collection. As a result, the hidden reallocation capabilities of the sectors are terminated. Therefore, if the damaged sector has the information about the structure, then the corresponding level of the logical structure of the disk is lost, if it has the file - then the file is not available.

In the case of mechanical damage, if you do not have confidence in their abilities and do not have sufficient knowledge to perform repair work on a damaged or inaccessible hard disk, the best option will be to contact a specialized laboratory to recover the data lost and repair the damaged discs. Any careless action can lead to a total loss of data without possibility of recovery.

Each laboratory has specialized, necessary and sterile equipment, which does not allow dust to enter the open hard disk housing, in the laboratory facilities and has enough qualified personnel to restore the information of damaged, corrupted or damaged units. those that do not work completely.

An essential disadvantage of having business with such labs, is the unusually high final cost of their services. Despite all its capabilities, laboratory experts give no guarantee that user information, from such damaged discs, can be completely restored. However, the user will in any case have to financially compensate the total cost of the work done, even if it did not lead to a positive result.

Therefore, before contacting the laboratory, the user must measure the volume of data stored on the damaged hard drive with the cost of extracting them and determining if such a business is worthwhile. And, either reconcile with your loss, or take advantage of a professional data recovery software to return your information.

Deficiency due to a logical failure.

In the case of a logical failure, a deficiency occurs at the program level, when for a certain cause the erasure of the user's data or internal information that responds for the full operation of the system occurs. With such deficiencies, the hard drive will not create any additional noise, but it will not load or allow access to the data stored in it. However, you can, independently, with the help of professional data recovery software, extract all the necessary information for later use.

The main causes of hard drive logic failure are:

Accidental damage to the content of the sector : Such a problem occurs rather rarely, but it occurs in some situations. Accidental distortion of the data sector can be the indicator of the emergence of early mechanical failure, the result of the harmful effects of a malicious software, or an accidental recording as a result of network power surges. Such defects can lead to the fact that the hard disk will be in inoperative condition.

Main load recording (MBR) damage : This type of logical failure can lead to a situation, when the partitions will not be found by the operating system, or its parameters will be determined incorrectly. The simplest consequence of such failure can be the damage of the signature, when the operating system determines, that there is no useful information in the place of the load recording, and the disk is not divided into the partitions.

When the boot code is damaged, the operating system fails to try to start from a disk of this type, and consequently the computer is suspended. At the same time, the logical structure of the disk can be preserved and data loss will not occur.

The most difficult consequence of logical failure may be the damage to the contents of the main boot recording, which can lead to the destruction of the partition table and the loss of access to the information stored in the partitions. The content of the table can have a different degree of damage, which will affect the final volume of the recovered data.

Damage to the file system : Such failure due to its characteristics is very similar to damage to the contents of the main load recording, with the only difference that access to the partition will be closed, or the system will not determine it as a partition not marked. Consequently, all the content of such partition will not be available. Sometimes, correcting file system failures does not solve the problem, and a piece of data is displayed in the form of lost logical strings.

How to recover data from a hard drive that does not work or is damaged.

Methodical data recovery in the logical form of hard drive damage is reduced to the use of professional software for data recovery. The position of leadership among many similar programs, occupies the program Hetman Partition Recovery of the company Hetman Software , able to recover fully any information after several types of failures: eliminated a partition of hard disk, the data are lost after formatting or elimination of a logical partition, data is not available due to a virus attack, file system failure, etc.

The program combines a set of powerful algorithms capable of recovering additional file attributes and correcting any errors in the logical structure of the hard disk.

Hetman Partition Recovery analyzes all the data on the disk , even if the tables are not present or missing, restoring the lost data by the search signature mode. In addition, the program performs an in-depth analysis of the hard disk, which allows it to recover information after systemic or mechanical failures, with the lack of access to the disk and return data from damaged, illegible, inaccessible and non-functional disks practically in the full volume.

The program has a nice user-friendly interface, which is similar to the Windows operating system , the file presentation method, and with the presence of a strong internal functionality, quite easy to use, and will be evident to all, even to the users. beginner users.

The great advantage of the program is the realization of the recovery step assistant, so that any user in a few steps can be defined with the analysis parameters and retrieve their data. Depending on the type of analysis chosen, the program can recover the lost files and completely restore the structure of the disk, organizing them according to the type of file format.

The no less important function, which greatly facilitates the user to use Hetman Partition Recovery , is the option of previewing the recovery results that reflects the content of each file in the process of its pressure (for example, the user can see text documents, tables, photos, videos, listen to music, etc.).

After viewing the contents of each file and selecting the necessary files, the user will be able to save them, using several methods offered by the default program: burn an optical image CD / DVD disc , create an ISO image , download files to a Remote server using FTP protocol or save the data in any storage to the choice (for example, hard drive, memory card, USB flash drive ).

Now the user's files are restored and stored in a reliable and correct data storage.


The information is of utmost importance for each user and priority is given to the possibility of conserving it.

However, for more reliable data storage devices, applied by users, there is always the possibility that they fail for several reasons.

Sooner or later this can happen to everyone and one must be prepared for such situations. Knowing the possible causes of a hard drive failure, users can react in time, to the signs of their breakage and protect their data against irreversible loss.

And even in the case where the disk is damaged, unavailable or functional, there are effective ways to restore the information it contains, for example, by using professional software to restore Hetman Partition Recovery .

If you have any questions or comments about the issue of HDD disk repair and restoration of data from a damaged or non-functional hard disk, then write to us in the comments and we will respond on a mandatory basis.