How to Recover Broken Hard Drive Data

by Rod Dunne on January 16, 2011

in Data Recovery, Hardware

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Attempting to recover broken hard drive data is not something for the fainthearted. Here I’ll show you some of the things you can attempt before resorting to a data recovery expert to complete the process.

ID Hardware Faults First

The first question you ask yourself is if there is actual mechanical damage to the hard drive. If the disk platters have been scratched or damaged, the disk read/write heads are misaligned or there is a fault to the motor then these are severe problems which cannot be fixed by home repairs. You should go directly to contacting a data recovery expert.

Moving on, if there is a fault with the operating system or the rest of the computer components then you may be able to extract the hard drive. You can install this directly into it secondary machine and then read it just like it was extra hard drive partition. This requires no extra cost so is a good initial solution.

Alternatively, you could use an external hard drive enclosure/case to house the broken hard drive. These casings are widely available in PC repair shops. These allow you to plug in the device to a secondary computer via a USB port. You can then read the data off the hard drive and backup to new location.


If you would rather recover broken hard drive data and information without actually opening the PC then there are some data recovery tools that can scan the hard drive or you. If the hard drive is only a secondary partition and your computer is still able to startup then you should be able to use a data recovery tool such as Remo Undelete to scan the hard drive.

Remo Undelete: FAT/NTFS support, All Windows OS; Free trial scan.

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

It becomes more difficult to recover broken hard drive documents if the disk is your primary disk (i.e. where the operating system is installed). Some data recovery tools are still able to read disks on secondary PCs but it does require having an additional PC available and being able to connect it to your broken system.

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