Hard Drive Failure Recovery

by Rod Dunne on August 3, 2010

in Articles, Data Recovery, Hardware, Registry Cleaners Articles, Tips and Tools

  • Share
  • Share

When your computer throws up a computer error stating there has been a hard drive failure then there is no need to panic just yet. Your issue could be a mechanical fault or related to some software issue so there are many troubleshooting options to consider for completing a HDD repair.

Before you take your PC to a repair shop, try the following hard drive failure recovery steps.

Hard Drive Failure Recovery Software

If you have discounted mechanical faults, for the time being, then you should consider what software/system faults could have caused the issue.

With many of these issues your first blocker will be that you won’t be able to boot up Windows properly due to the error. To get back in, try booting Windows in safe mode (hit the F8 key as it is starting up). This will limit the amount of processes running on the system and will hopefully bypass the application causing you problems.

If safe mode works for you then it is a confirmation that the issue is software related so proceed with your hard drive failure data recovery by first backing up all your critical data before troubleshooting what software is causing the fault.

If the hard disk failure has resulted in lost, deleted or corrupt files then data recovery software should be able to scan the healthy parts of a drive to detect any lost documents – keep in mind that file deletion/formatting will not clean hard drive contents from the disk (it merely clears their index in the file allocation table). Tools like Remo Undelete is a popular low-cost file recovery software applications that work well on most computers/drives.

Remo Undelete: Data recovery software; All Windows OS; Free trial scan.

Remo Undelete | PC Maintenance Software | Click Here For A Free Scan

If your computer has detected issues with the file system format (i.e. fat 32/NTFS) and has reverted back to using a raw partition format then you will need a data recovery tool which explicitly states it can do raw recovery, as many tools can only support the aforementioned fat 32/NTFS formats.

With your critical data recovered, run your regular PC repair tasks to resolve the software fault and complete your HDD recovery:

  • Scan the disk for viruses: These may corrupt files (e.g. the registry file), triggering the issue.
  • Check the master book record and partition table have not got errors using Test Disk from CG Security.
  • Run a registry cleaner tool (e.g. Error Fix) to repair any damaged configuration keys or automate file system repairs and the registry fixes.

Alternatively, roll back your system files using Windows own System Restore application (Programs > Accessories > System Tools). This tool swaps system files, including the registry, with previous date-stamped copies. This may get your system files running properly again and fix PC errors, but any application changes/installations since the checkpoint date may become inoperable.

If these steps for completing a hard drive failure data recovery fail to get your computer back running smoothly then you should consider data recovery experts. They will have specialist disk recovery software and disk readers for retrieving data from even fire/flood damaged hard drives.

See also: Our post on external hard drive repair goes into the details of fixing faults specifically on external disks.

HDD Recovery – Mechanical Faults

In general terms, the error messages to look out for that indicates a disk failure are: Hard drive failure, NTLDR is missing, error reading fixed disk, no fixed disk present & disk boot failure.

If you have installed new hardware recently then it may be that the system has an IDE conflict that is causing the BIOS to stop recognizing your hard drive. The simple HDD recovery approach to take is to remove the newly added hardware and retest.

If you have had the box open (in the case of desktops) then double-check the IDE ribbons and power cables are securely connected to the hard drive. Check the connector pins are all present and undamaged (not twisted  or pushed in).

The worst case scenario for hard drive failure data recovery is that your disk has developed a mechanical fault. If you hear a screeching noise from the disk then the bearings or reading heads could have seized up, in which case you will need data recovery experts. Shut down the PC, as any further use could make disk recovery impossible if any more damage occurs.

See also:
~ Our article on computer backup options details ways of backing up/cloning your data, and so reduce the damage that a hard disk failure can cause.
~ Our post on external hard drive data recovery lists 5 common mistakes that can impact your chances of finding lost data.

Previous post:

Next post: