How to avoid permanent data loss?

Attempting a data recovery from hard drive units that have failed can be a stressful process for most people. Even tech savvy people will struggle to pull anything meaningful from a damaged drive in most cases. However, depending on the reason for the hard drive failure, there are some steps that might help you get some of your files back without having to resort to the lengthy and expensive process of shipping your drive off to a professional. While no method is guaranteed 100% effective, you can take the right steps toward recovering your files and lessen the chance of causing even further damage to the drive. Hard drive failure can be catastrophic or gradual.

The first type of failure is a drive that has been corrupted due to a virus or damaged files. In these cases, the drive itself may still operate, but your operating system can’t make heads or tails of the files. This is the best of the worst when it comes to hard drive failures. You can sometimes retrieve files through third party software. Typically, this software breaks down your files into binary code and then attempts to reassemble them. It cannot always bring back complicated program files, but it may be able to help your retrieve your photos and documents.

The worst kind of hard drive failure is a mechanical failure. The most difficult thing about data recovery from hard drive units that have been physically damaged is getting them working again. For this, only a professional with a clean room, the right tools and knowledge can fix the problem. Never attempt to open or repair damage to your hard drive. You will only make the problem worse.

Following are the main symptoms of a mechanical hard drive failure

  1. Hard drive can no longer be found by your operating system is an easy symptom.
  2. Gradual hard-drive failure can be harder to diagnose, because its symptoms, such as corrupted data and slowing down of the PC, can be caused by many other computer issues, such as malware.
    Gradually failing areas of the hard drive requiring repeated read attempts before successful access and can make some sounds. If your drive is making clicking, grinding or whirring sounds, shut down your computer immediately. These sounds could be the read/write heads hitting or scraping the platters. Severe or complete data loss could result.
  3. A rising number of bad sectors can be a sign of a failing hard drive, but because the hard drive automatically adds them to its own growth defect table, they may not become evident to utilities such as Scandisk unless the utility can catch them before the hard drive's defect management system does, or the backup sectors held in reserve by the internal hard-drive defect management system run out.

While this kind of file recovery can be expensive, you really have no other option if you need the files on the drive. Never use home remedies for your drive such as freezing it. These ideas sound ludicrous because they are and they will only cause further damage. Unplug the power to the computer before removing the hard drive and handle the drive carefully.

The hard drive on a computer is the only moving part aside from the fans. This means that it is the piece that is the most likely to fail and are extremely sensitive to static electricity and physical jarring or jolts. Unfortunately, it is also the worst possible piece of hardware to lose since it contains all of your data. But if you keep a cool head, you may be able to salvage some of the files on damaged drive. You just have to take the right steps.

When disaster strikes:

  1. Do not use utility software if the drive makes scraping, tapping, clicking or humming sounds
  2. Do not power up a device that has obvious physical damage or is making unusual sounds
  3. Shut down the computer immediately to avoid further damage to the drive and its data
  4. Do not attempt recovery yourself on severely traumatized drives (i.e., turning the computer off and on, using over-the-counter diagnostic tools). This may cause further damage or permanent data loss

If your data is critical, make sure you choose Stellar Phoenix Solutions that can properly recover data from physically damaged drives. Even the simplest recovery attempts on a physically damaged drive could render your data unrecoverable. The first recovery attempt is always the best recovery attempt.

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