Has your computer suddenly stopped detecting your hard drive?
Or is your hard drive making unusual clicking or beeping noises and not booting up properly anymore? As alarming as this situation may seem, don’t panic yet; there is still hope you can recover important files from the failed drive if you take prompt action. This step-by-step guide will outline both DIY methods and professional data recovery services that can help extract your precious documents, photos, videos, and other personal files from a dead or failing SATA or IDE hard disc drive.
Signs Your Hard Drive is Dead or Failing Before looking at recovery options, let’s review some common signs of a dead or dying hard drive:
- Loud clicking or screeching noises from the drive
- Drive not detected in BIOS or fails to fully boot
- Frequent crashes, freezes or slow performance
- Input/output errors appearing
- Strange behaviours, like a very hot drive temperature
- Notable bad sectors detected during scans
If you exhibit one or more of these symptoms, immediately backup whatever data you can and then safely power down the system. The next step is to attempt data recovery using the methods below.
Attempt Data Recovery Yourself First, consider DIY data recovery yourself using software or hardware tools before resorting to professional help. Here is a step-by-step process:
#1 Carefully Remove the Drive from the Computer If the computer still partially works, create a system image backup first, then shut it down properly before opening the case. If the system crashes, hold the power button to force power off before disassembling. Then locate, disconnect, and gently remove the 3.5” or 2.5” hard disc drive.
#2 Connect Drive to Another System Attach the dead drive to another working desktop or laptop computer as a secondary drive instead of the main system drive using SATA and power cables or a USB bridge cable and an external enclosure. This gives access without interfering with the functioning computer’s drive.
#3 Scan Drive with Data Recovery Software Download and install reliable data recovery software solutions like Ontrack EasyRecovery, Stellar Data Recovery, or EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on the working computer and run it. Select and scan the connected dead drive. Many software tools can create disc images and deep-scan drives to extract recoverable files.
#4 Preview and Recover Extracted Files Carefully study file names and content previewed by the recovery software to find your wanted data. Select the personal files and folders needed most and restore them safely to another external media drive. Expect corrupted files. You may need to try multiple recovery apps to improve results.
#5 Attempt Drive Repair (Optional) If drive clicking is heard and it keeps stalling during data transfer, mechanical or logical issues are present. Consider using testing tools like HD Tune Pro or repair utilities like Disc Warrior to fix bad sectors or file system errors so more files are accessible for recovery.
Professional Data Recovery Service If DIY options fail to recover anything from a truly dead drive with physical platter damage or encrypted lost partitions, seek assistance from professional data recovery experts before it’s too late. Examples of reputable providers include:
- Secure Data Recovery Services: With multiple Class 100 cleanroom lab locations, highly certified engineers can manually attempt part replacement and platter data extraction once authorised. High recovery success rates but very expensive.
- Ace Data Recovery offers free evaluations and flexible pricing for logical recovery needs or clean room services if the drive is repairable. Free return shipping but not fast.
- Gillware: competitively priced tiered service plans based on failure type, either using proprietary software tools or precision hardware tools in the cleanroom environment. Fast turnaround once quotes are accepted.
While costly at hundreds or thousands of dollars, professional hard drive recovery stands the best chance of getting back completely inaccessible files when all else fails. Many companies offer free evaluations to diagnose issues and supply quotes. They also provide firm guarantees before payment is required.
Don’t Waste Time Attempting Amateur Fixes Beware of amateur “fixes” on dead drives like freezing, tapping hard, or using unreliable software. This often makes recovering data all the more difficult or impossible for pros to handle afterwards. Seek professional assistance fast instead for the best chance of rescuing those priceless photos, work files, and other digital memorabilia off the drive.
Recovering lost files is possible!
So before throwing in the towel, first, responsibly attempt the DIY software and hardware recovery methods outlined here. If hitting walls, quickly involve a data recovery specialist service. With the right tools, techniques, and some luck, you stand a promising chance of getting back data even from a dead or dying hard disc drive. Just act fast once failure symptoms arise and avoid amateur fixes that cause further damage.
Follow these tips and hopefully, your important files won’t be lost forever. Good luck recovering your precious data! Let us know in the comments if this guide helped save your dead drive and files.