Hard Drive Rescue

by Rod Dunne on October 28, 2010

in Data Recovery, Hardware

Hard Drive Rescue Using Data Recovery And System Recovery Options When A Hard Disk Is Faulty Or Corrupted.
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Having to do a hard drive rescue is something which shouldn’t happen all that often. However, when it does occur, there are a number of PC maintenance repair approaches worth considering. This article steps through the five different ways of retrieving your data and/or restoring your system.

#1: Hard drive rescue using computer repair software

The logical first step is to try and fix the issue with the operating system that is causing corruption to your files. Many PC repair tools and registry cleaners are capable of rectifying faults to operating system files automatically.

If you are unsure where the fault lies then the best approach for doing a hard drive rescue is to use a computer repair application which can target registry, DLL and operating system program files. If you suspect the fault lies with the registry file alone then you could try using registry cleaners to attempt to repair the damage (e.g. Registry Easy, XP Repair Pro).

#2: Use an external disk casing to complete a hard drive recovery

If the Windows OS is not working and any attempts to repair the OS have failed then you could resort to taking the hard drive out of the computer, placing it in an external casing and connecting it (using a USB cable) to a second PC. This method at least allows you to do a hard drive recovery of the contents of the disk to another computer.

External hard drive cases/harnesses can be purchased from PC repair shops and online sites. Once you have copied the data over to the second PC, you can always use the drive as an external storage device/backup system.

#3: Use hard drive recovery software

Hard drive recovery software is widely available (e.g. Remo Undelete) and work by scanning the hard drive for data clusters belong to your lost data. The hard drive data recovery scan will attempt to collate data clusters into complete documents that you can copy to a second location.

These products do however require the operating system/boot records to be operational. Some software makers (e.g. Easeus and BrotherSoft) can provide tools that can read disk contents when the boot record has been corrupted.

#4: Boot the PC from a LINUX CD and then do hard drive data recovery

One very different approach to doing a hard drive rescue is to try booting the computer from a LINUX CD in order to copy the contents of the disk to an external hard drive. This approach doesn’t mean that you’re damaging Windows, or indeed installing LINUX; you are only booting the PC from a LINUX CD.

Doing a hard drive data recovery using a LINUX can be done as follows:

  1. Borrow a second PC and download a LINUX live CD (for example, Puppy LINUX). You will need to burn the download file onto a CD.
  2. Insert the CD into the faulty computer’s CD drive.
  3. Start up the faulty computer and enter the BIOS mode. You want to change the boot settings to prioritize booting up from the CD drive (instead of the hard drive).
  4. Restart the computer. The PC will reboot using the LINUX operating system from the CD. Once it starts, you will be able to connect an external storage device and copy the disk contents to the drive.

#5: Contact a hard drive recovery service

The final option is to contact a hard drive recovery service or shop capable of doing software/mechanical file recovery from your hard drive. These services will be able to do a hard drive rescue for you in most circumstances and will often use a variety of the previous steps listed here to try and retrieve your documents.

In the case of mechanical damage to the hard drive, then using a hard drive recovery service is really your only viable option as all software utilities will require your hard drive to at least be functionally operational in order to work. Data recovery experts have their own disk reading devices/harnesses that can retrieve data clusters directly off of the disk platters.

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