Imagine this: you are busy working on something important on your computer or laptop and you need to access some crucial documents that are saved on your external hard drive. You connect it and get ready to find your data, but nothing happens. Your hard drive has stopped working. Before you start panicking, there are some things you can try out on your own before you call professional recovery services.
Data loss can happen because of many reasons, but two are the most common. The first (and easy to resolve) is software related. If you have accidentally deleted an important file or folder and emptied the recycle bin or even formatted the wrong drive or partition by mistake. The second factor – and probably much more common than the software one is because of a fault with the hard drive itself.
Given the complexity of modern hard drive, it is no wonder that something, somewhere along the line will go wrong. When the hard disk suffers from some sort of failure there isn’t much you can do by yourself to get that important data back – professional recovery services are your best bet. However, there are some certain failures that you can attempt to fix yourself.
Recovering the data with hardware
We covered the software part, but what happens if you drive completely stops and is not detected by your system at all or nothing happens when you try to access it?
According to DataSector, if you drive is not spinning up at all when you apply power to it, chances are that it is a PCB problem. A PCB is the green circuit board that is attached to your drive. It houses the main controlled along with other electronic controllers. This is the “CPU” that turns all your data into something the computer can understand.
There are two main causes of failure here, either a vital component on the PCB failed or it’s a shorted out fuse. If you have accidentally plugged in the wrong power adapter, or you experienced a power surge, the fuse may have shorted. If this is the only casualty of the power surge and the rest of the hard drive is ok, then simply removing this fuse is enough to bring the drive back to life.
If there are other damages to more vital parts of the PCB it is time to leave it to the pros since fixing this kind of a problem is a difficult task.
Recover the data with software
When dealing with a software data loss, the most important thing you need to remember is not to do anything on or wit the drive in question. Every second that you are using files from the drive or even connected to a running system is increasing the chances of losing your files completely. Your operating system is constantly writing and reading to your drive, no matter if you are actively doing something or not. This is because the system seeing the deleted files as free space and will use that space to overwrite that area with new data.
- Shutdown the machine that is connected with the drive and make a clone of the drive so you can attempt to recover the data from the clone. There is various free clone software online you can find.
- You can try scanning the clone with the many different recovery programs you can find online. There are several options whether free or paid.