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Hard Drive Data Recovery

Hard disk failures and hard drive data recovery methods are the two topics that every individual wants to know about. Find the complete details below.

Our whole life is based on various structures of data. Sharing of photos, videos, and documents is all what our life has succumbed to. People on the internet know of our presence because of the various photos we uploaded, or maybe due to the blog people write.

But all this data needs a place to be stored, to be handled. People talk about cloud computing, but even cloud computing requires its “on-the-move” data to be stored somewhere.

We use hard disks to store all the data we come across during our normal routine. Our work reports, school reports, income tax info and what not. Primarily we give more importance to the data stored, but hardly anyone realizes the importance of “where” it is stored until that piece of critical data becomes inaccessible. Hard disk failure is a form of physical failure.

hard drive data recovery

A hard disk failure is recognized when the boot process fails to pass BIOS POST or an error is reported by CMOS if it cannot recognize the hard disk. What may cause this failure is that the internal read-write head comes in contact with the magnetic data-storage surface or the platter.

This damages the platter and thus can lead to irreversible severe data losses if not handled correctly and professionally. If one wishes to avoid such data losses or hard disk failures, some solutions are:

  • Data Redundancy
  • Data Backup
  • Active Hard-Drive protection
  • For server racks usage of base isolation
  • Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) found on hard drives.

Normally, two different types of hard disk failures occur:

Logical Hard Drive Failure

In this type of failure, no damage is inflicted onto the hard disk. The hard disk is perfectly healthy, but still the user might not be able to boot into the OS. Many factors lead to this, such as virus infestation, driver files conflict and/or a software malfunction is the main reasons behind this.

The data is intact on the hard disk, so one should ascertain the type of failure before formatting or reinstalling hard disks. One suggestion could be to try to repair Windows from the OS cd/dvd. Even running the windows check-disk utility titled ChkDsk can help solve this issue at times.

Physical Hard Drive Failure

If your hard disk seems to be making weird noises while operation, you are most probably facing a physical hard drive failure. Yes, the drive is still operational, but sadly, not for long. Backup your data immediately!

Typically, users clone the hard drive to a new hard disk, or create an image as backup. This can be done utilizing software like Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image, both prominent names in this field.

But weird things happen, and losing out on your hard disk is nothing new. Most of the people tend to format or reinstall their Windows OS at least once every 2 months. So it is not a matter of waiting for it to happen, rather one should be prepared for such a scenario.

The data once lost, is actually still intact on the hard disk, only for some time though. The computer basically breaks off any access to that part of data. If the correct software is used, and in time, chances are that the data may be successfully recovered. One should be aware of some basic hard drive recovery tips. Some leading software for this purpose are listed below.

First, let us have a look at the freeware.

  1. Recuva: available for the Windows OS, Recuva is a highly useful, user-friendly tool. The user can restore lost files using the built-in rescue wizard. Manual recovery is also possible in case you knew where you data was. The probability of recovering the data is displayed using red/yellow/green colors. In fact, it also features a “wipe” tool to make sure the “files” you want gone, are actually gone.
  2. TestDisk: possibly the best free data recovery tool present in the market. This piece of software is developed as an Open-Source tool, and functions on Windows, Linux and Mac systems as well. It nicely recovers any accidentally deleted files from NTFS, FAT and ext2 file systems.   But that just the start. The software can also fix your drives MFT, FAT tables, can rebuild boot sectors and look for lost partitions. The only drawback to it is that it has no GUI, as it is available as a command-line tool.

But the best performance and features come when a paid version is chosen. Some top-of-the-line recovery software in this section are:

  1. Digital Rescue Premium 3.1: highly effective and comprehensive, this software has proven over time and again that it can recover most of your lost data, no matter how it got deleted. The software has a very fast scanning time and is technically a powerhouse. In addition to recovering lost files, photos, videos etc, this software can also bring back compressed and encrypted data. It handles lost emails, the NTFS and FAT file system quite effectively. The user interface is rich and easy. With extraordinary recovery capabilities and very rich help documentation, this must surely be your primary choice of paid recovery software.
  2. Advanced Disk Recovery: rolled out from the stables of Systweak, this is yet another winner. It is highly efficient, and easy-to-use and is relatively cheaper as compared to other software. There are two scan modes, quick and deep. You can choose the type of recovery based on the type of data you are handling. You can choose to restore everything or just a select few files or folders. The best feature about this software is that it is very straightforward. In fact it is so easy to understand and use, that no time is wasted on any documentation or help of any kind. You can jump right in.

Then there are the vendors, or specialized firms which offer this service to its customers. However, before choosing a firm, one should always do a detailed study of their website or the feature sets they provide. A good, established firm would always save your data first, and then fix the hard drive, not the other way round. So keep that in mind. But first, make sure that the problem is severe and physical. Logical failures can be easily fixed, so no need to shell out extra. One should always have the basic know-how on how to recover deleted files. As a last word of advice, regularly backup your data.

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