hard drive data recovery

Damaged Hard Drive? Is The Data Recoverable?

Your Hard Drive IS Your Computer

“Your hard drive is damaged”

You might not know how your hard drive works or even what its looks like but know that’s not good news.  In the same way you instinctively know when a mechanic tells you your head gasket has blown. You might not recognise a head gasket if it fell from the sky but you know that it means you’re about to be inconvenienced, lose some money and experience some stress.  You know that it’s bad, but you don’t know how bad. What happens when your hard drive is defective, have you backed up all your files? If you have, well done but you’re in the minority. Most of us don’t have a back up. Can your data be rescued?

Your hard drive is where all the data in your computer is stored.  Not just your files and the documents you have created but also all the code required for your operating system, the framework your internet browser uses to connect to the internet, the drivers for your printer, basically everything. If your computer was a person, the hard drive would be the brain and without it even the most basic functions are impossible, even if you do know some living breathing examples who demonstrate it is possible to function without this vital organ.  

Back Up or Lose It!

Every hard drive or computer brain if you like, has a certain amount of space in it.  Some of that space is taken up with the basic functions and the rest of it you use everytime you download or create a document or file.  You can create back ups of all your information either on an external hard drive or within a cloud based server, or both. We cannot stress the importance of backing up all your data, on all your devices, strongly enough.  As the saying goes, it’s not a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket. Unfortunately, it’s not until a client experiences a critical data loss that they realise the importance of not storing all their data in just one place.  

How can you tell if you’re hard drive is about to kick the bucket? Frequent but irregular crashes, especially during the operating system start up are a sign that your hard drive is struggling.  Frequent error messages when carrying out simple tasks like moving files, increased wait times for files to access, and ticking noises coming from the drive are all especially bad. This is the time, if you haven’t already, to backup your files.  If your hard drive is going to fail there is nothing you can do to prevent it – make sure you have back ups somewhere. Don’t wait for your hard drive to fail before you do this!

Worst Case Scenario – Can You Get Your Data Back?

You didn’t back up your data.  Your hard drive is damaged or has failed.  What do you do now? Trying to retrieve the data yourself is extremely risky, you may eliminate what chances you ever had of recovering the data if you damage what is a very fragile device. 

Getting your data back  depends on how far gone the drive is. Simple file corruption can usually be easily repaired with software tools provided with the OS to make it bootable again.  This is the point at which you would you send your hard drive to Recover My Data so we can recover the data for you.   

In the majority of cases it is the Firmware that has become corrupted.  Think of firmware as a language the computer uses to speak to the hard drive. You may be able to remove and reinstall the firmware firmware – but it must be an exact match in order to work and the potential for data loss if the right firmware isn’t installed if high.

In more severe cases where the heads are failing, the entire HDD may need to be ‘mirrored’ onto a second HDD. This can take many hours (or even days) to complete. The lost data is then recovered from the second HDD when that process is complete.

It is common to have a singular head fail in which case we can “turn off” the faulty head so it doesn’t read and then we recover the data from the other heads. We then go back to the faulty head on its own.  This saves time and the potential data loss of the entire drive.  If the head fails we can do a head swap and then read the last head to access the data.

Leave It To The Experts

Finally, in the most dire cases when the HDD doesn’t work at all, the HDD will need to be sent to Recover My Data and we will recover the data where possible and transfer it onto an external storage device.

At Recover My Data if it isn’t possible to recover your data we’ll tell you straight away.  We run a diagnostic test to determine the extent of the damage and how much of your data is recoverable.   We believe in being open and honest with our clients. We won’t waste your time or your money. If the data isn’t recoverable, we’ll tell you.  If we can do it, we’ll tell you how much it’s going to cost and how much information we can save before you part with any cash.

Get in touch today if you would like to find out more about how we work and the services we provide.

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