Methods Of Recovering Data From A Hard Drive

By August 10, 2016 Data Recovery
Sydney based data recovery service

So What Are The Methods Of Recovering Data From Your Hard Drive?

Computer Fixperts, which is a Brisbane data recovery service, outlines below in this article the many available methods of recovering data from failed hard drives, external hard drives, USB drives and RAID drives to name a few.

Each year, millions of hard drives either fail or become corrupt to the point where data is lost. In fact, Seagate, a world-leading hard drive manufacturer, states that an average of 140,000 hard drives fail each week. To understand more about how hard drives work read our post about it here.

Hard drives fail for different reasons. These include:

  • Sudden power failure when the hard drive is writingHard drive data recovery on macbook pro on table
  • Exposure to fire or some other source of extreme heat
  • Exposure to water
  • Exposure to high magnetic fields
  • Environmental contamination
  • A sharp impact from an external source, like the computer being jostled or bumped while it is in operation
  • Bad bearings or other components in the electric motor that spins the platter
  • Hard drive controller electronics failure
  • Clogged air intake or faulty filter on the hard drive
  • Read-and-write head crash

According to Computer Fixperts data recovery technicians, the failure rate for each brand and type of hard drive varies. For example, according to a survey conducted by Backblaze on the 4,190 Seagate 3TB (ST3000DM001) drives it bought in 2012, by early 2015 approximately 32% of them had failed. Of the 181 Seagate 3TB (ST33000651AS) drives that were bought, 8.3% of them had failed. Other 3TB drives had lower failure rates, like the HGST 3TB (HDS5C3030ALA630) and Western Digital 3TB (WD30EFRX) drives. Keep in mind that each person will have a different experience with the hard drive that they use seeing that the conditions within which they are used are unique to each person. For example, persons who use their computers in dusty areas may experience a higher failure rate than those who operate in dust-free environments. The same holds true for computers used in air conditioned rooms compared to those used in hot and arid conditions.

In addition to failure, data becomes lost due to accidental deletion or reformatting. Many computer users remove files from their system from time to time that they no longer need or are taking up too much space. Inadvertently, we sometimes get rid of files we need without even realising it. When that happens, recovering the data becomes of utmost importance. This is even more so the case when we have already cleared the Recycle Bin. There are also times when files seem to disappear from the computer, sometimes files that were recently edited or just saved. As odd as that may seem, it happens more often than not, but the files can be recovered unless they have really “vanished into thin air.” Reformatted drives, when observed with the naked eyes in a file explorer, have nothing on them. Recovery of data from those drives is also possible.

Types of Hard Drive Failure

Hard drive failure falls into two categories, namely logical and physical. Logical failures occur when the file system becomes corrupt. A virus, improperly formatted drive and accidental deletion of important registry entries can cause a logical failure. Even though the hard drive is recognised by the BIOS, it will not boot. Physical failures, on the other hand, occur when the moving parts in the hard drive fail. The electric motor is one component that has moving parts that can fail at any time.

Signs of Imminent Hard Drive Failure

There are a number of things that you can look out for that are clear signs that your hard drive is about to fail or has failed. The signs include:

  • Frequent mysterious disappearance of man holding failed hard drive in need of data recovery service in Brisbanefiles
  • Grinding or clicking noises when running
  • Increased numbers of bad sectors
  • Computer becomes unusually hot
  • The speed at which files normally open and save decreases, even when files are small
  • Optimisation tricks fail to speed up the computer’s performance
  • Frequent freezing of the computer where keyboard and mouse input are lost and a hard reset has to be done
  • Computer locks up while booting

Recovering Lost Data

The good news, in light of everything previously mentioned, is that if you lose data due to hard drive failure or malfunction, it can be recovered. There are many different ways in which data can be recovered. The level of difficulty of recovering data also varies from method to method. The type of hard drive as well as the type of data loss impact on the level of successful data recovery. In retrospect, you can either recover the files yourself or pay a data recovery company to do it for you. If your hard drive ever becomes corrupt or fails, the following methods of recovering your data are worth a try:

Data Recovery Software

There is a wide variety of data recovery software on the market today. Just walk into a computer store or check online and you will see that there are many choices from which you can pick. Their effectiveness varies and the results that you expect are not always guaranteed. This is due to the level of damage that the hard drive may have suffered as well as how deep the software is able to dig to recover files. Generally speaking, you are able to recover documents, media files, photos, as well as other file types from lost partitions, bad sectors, and completely failed drives.

The specific data recovery software that is used has its own set of instructions that must be adhered to. Some of the more popular data recovery software includes:

  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard WinPE Edition
  • Recuva
  • Data Rescue PC3
  • Seagate File Recovery
  • R-Studio
  • Power Data Recovery
  • DMDE Free Edition
  • MiniTool Partition Recovery
  • PhotoRec
  • Paragon Rescue Kit 14 Free Edition
  • Pandora Recovery
  • UndeleteMyFiles Pro
  • PC Inspector File Recovery
  • Puran File Recovery
  • Disk Drill
Read Our Data Recovery Software Reviews


Many of the software are Shareware while others are Freeware. Most of them are very portable, meaning that they are standalone software that does not need to be installed before use and can be run from even a USB drive. Please note that installing recovery software onto your hard drive may overwrite deleted files, making them unrecoverable, so it is best to use the standalone versions. Depending on the severity of data loss, each software is able to recover data based on its own pre-defined settings or settings that you choose. As stated earlier, you must follow the instructions that come with them to understand how to get the best results.

Data Recovery Companies

What you will quickly realise is that despite your best efforts, you may never be able to fully recover your data using the readily available software. This can be quite frustrating and agonising. If your files are so important to the extent that you lose sleep over them, you may have to take your hard drive to a data recovery company. Brisbane Data recovery companies have more advanced hardware and software that are able to recover just about any type of data. With such technology at their fingertips, expect to pay anywhere between a few hundred to thousands of dollars for their service. You must also bear in mind that the process can take days to complete, depending on the severity of damage to the hard drive, and there is no guarantee that your investment will produce any results whatsoever. Data recovery companies do not give up easily, so you can expect that they will do their best to recover your data.

If you have reached the point where you absolutely need to use the services of a data recovery company, you can contact Computer Fixperts. With a 90% success rate on many different types of data recovery, you’re in safe hands.

Final Note

It is important to remember that not all data will be recoverable and there are simply ways of avoiding costly data recovery. Severe damage to partitions or the entire hard drive, as well as overwritten files, may prevent the software from recovering all lost data. In some instances, partial recovery may occur. Recovered pictures, for example, may open only halfway or fail to open at all. Recovered documents may have zero-lengths, which means that they are nothing more than merely headers without content. Recovered music files may not play at all or only a small sample plays. If you face any of these situations, run the scan again a couple of times and compare the results. You can also use more than one data recovery software as the recovery results can and do vary between them. For example, one software may recover a file with a zero-length while another one may fully recover that same file. Doing multiple passes with each additional software may also yield slightly different results.

Recovering data from a hard drive takes skill, time and patience. If you are up to the challenge, go ahead and use any of the software mentioned above, or use a data recovery service if you don’t feel competent enough. Understand that in attempting this yourself,  you may further damage your data and make it unrecoverable.

Why not check out the video below on data recovery:

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