USB to IDE-SATA Screenshot

How to Recover Data from a Crashed Hard Drive

The complete guide on how to recover data from a crashed hard drive.

If you are a tech, then you probably know that hard drive failures are inevitable. Chances are that sooner or later it will happen to someone you support or possibly even you.  The good news is that there are lots of great recovery tools and methods out there and I would like to share them with you.

I originally wrote this article back in 2006 and it currently holds the title as my most popular post.  Since hard drive recovery seems to be a hot topic, I keep it updated with all the latest and greatest hard drive recovery information.  Enjoy!

Connect the Drive to Another Computer

USB to IDE-SATA ScreenshotBefore you can do any work on the crashed drive you will need to remove it from the current machine and connect it to another machine as a secondary drive.  The best way to do this is to use a USB to IDE/SATA adapter.  If you don’t have one available then you may be able to connect the drive to another desktop computer internally as a secondary drive.  If you do, make sure that the machine detects the drive in the BIOS or you won’t be able to access it once the computer starts up.

 

Try to Copy the Data to Another Drive

After you connect the drive to another computer either internally or with the USB adapter, check to see if you can browse the contents of the drive.  If you can, try to copy data off that you would like to recover.  There is a chance that only the operating system is corrupt and the user data is still fine.

 

Use Data Recovery Software

If you can’t manually copy the user data off then you can try to recover it using data recovery software.  Whatever you do, do not install the recovery software on to the drive that you are trying to recover data from. Doing so could actually overwrite files that you want to restore.

 

PC Hard Drive Recovery

Recuva

Recuva ScreenshotRecuva is a free hard drive recovery tool from Piriform (the makers of CCleaner) and is one of the best free PC data recovery tools available.  Even if the drive has been formatted, Recuva can scan the drive recover files. If the basic scan fails, there is also a deep scan to discover more deeply-buried results.  There is also a portable version if you don’t want to install the full version.

When you launch Recuva, you will be presented with a wizard that will guide you through restoring your files.  First you will choose the type of file you need to recover, then the location, and then start the scan or choose “Enable Deep Scan” if the quick scan doesn’t find the files you need to recover.

PC Inspector File Recovery

PC Inspector File Recovery ScreenshotPC Inspector File Recovery is the recovery software that I originally featured in this article back in 2006.  It’s still a decent recovery tool and can be used if you are unable to recover the files you need with Recuva.

When you launch PC Inspector File Recovery, you will need to choose your language. After this, you will be presented with a welcome screen giving you three options.

The first option is “Recover Deleted Files”. This allows you to restore files that have been permanently deleted from the drive. This will only work if the deleted file has not already been overwritten.

The second option is “Find Lost Data”. This allows you to recover data that has been lost due to a system crash. If you choose this option, you will be asked for the “start cluster” and “end cluster”. Leave the default settings to scan the whole drive. The scan could take a couple of hours depending on how large your drive is.

The third option is “Find Lost Drive”. Use this option if your drive letter is not showing up in Windows Explorer or My Computer. It will attempt to connect to the drive and if successful, allow you to browse the data.

Hiren’s BootCD

Hiren's BootCD ScreenshotHiren’s BootCD allows you to boot into a slimmed down version of Windows called MiniXP from the bootable CD or bootable flash drive and run diagnostic utilities on a problematic computer. Recuva is one of the utilities that comes bundled with Hiren’s so you can run it right from the CD. This is helpful if you don’t have a USB to IDE/SATA adapter or just don’t want to pull the drive from the machine.

You will need to connect another drive to the machine such as a USB flash drive or an external hard drive so you will have a place to copy your recovered data to.

GetDataBack

Get Data Back ScreenshotIf the free utilities are not doing the trick then give GetDataBack a try.  GetDataBack is sold in two different versions, one for NTFS and the other for FAT files systems.  If you want to make sure it’s going to work first before you pay $79 for the NTFS version or $69 for the FAT version, they do have a demo version that will allow you to see what files it can recover.  If you like what you see, you can purchase the full version right then and there without even having to close out of the program.  I personally have had lots of success with GetDataBack when other recovery methods have failed.

After launching GetDataBack you will be asked to pick from a selection of data loss scenarios that the drive experienced.  If you aren’t sure, just select “I don’t know.”  After this you will select the drive, the partition on that drive, and then start the scan.

 

Mac Hard Drive Recovery

MiniTool Mac Data Recovery

MiniTool Mac Data Recovery ScreenshotMiniTool Mac Data Recovery is a data recovery tool specifically designed for Mac OS X.  It’s one of the few free Mac data recovery programs which is why I have featured it here, however, it still has a 1GB recovery limit.  After that you must pay for the full version.

When you launch MiniTool you will be presented with 4 options based on the type of recovery you would like to perform.  Undelete Recovery, Damaged Partition Recovery, Lost Partition Recovery, and Digital Media Recovery.  Once you choose your recovery type, you will then be asked to select the drive that you want to recover from.

Disk Drill

Disk Drill ScreenshotDisk Drill is one of the newest recovery apps for the Mac OS X platform and has quickly been deemed one of the best.  You can download the Basic Edition for free which will allow you to see a list of the files that you can recover.  If the files you want to recover are detected, you can then purchase the Pro Edition and move forward with the recovery.

When you launch Disk Drill, you will be presented with the option to either Protect or Recover.  You will want to choose Recovery to begin your recovery process.  You will then choose your drive and then select either Quick Scan (for deleted files) or Deep Scan (for lost data).  Once it is finished you can select the files you wish to recover.

 

Put Your Hard Drive in the Freezer to Recovery Data

If all other methods fail, there is one other nontraditional method that may allow you to recover files on your own.  To learn more, check out my previously posted article titled Put Your Hard Drive In The Freezer To Recover Data.  This does not apply to solid state drives.

 

Restore Deleted Files After Emptying the Recycle Bin

If you just need a simple method for restoring files that have been deleted from the recycle bin, check out this article. How to Restore Deleted Files After Emptying the Recycle Bin. This will only work if the file has not already been overwritten.

 

Use a Data Recovery Service

Gillware LogoAnd finally, if none of these methods work then you will probably need to send the drive off to a data recovery service.

Gillware is one of the top recommend data recovery services in the industry.  Some of the benefits they offer are immediate online price estimates, no up front payments, and the ability to see a list of all the recovered files through their website to ensure the files you need are listed before paying a dime.

 

If you have a success story or would like to recommend other recovery methods, please feel free to share.




91 Comments

  • Michael

    Reply Reply October 3, 2006

    After trying everything else but before sending your hard drive to the professionals you can try swapping the circuit board on the hard drive with one from a working IDENTICAL hard drive (apart from brand, family and size make sure firmware matches as well). This has worked twice for me so far.

    • Grandma

      Reply Reply May 23, 2012

      The post above said “1. Remove problematic drive 2. install it as a secondary drive in another PC 3. Boot into Windows and 4. download PC Inspector File Recovery.”

      I might suggest that is like asking Ben Bernanke to fix the Federal Reserve – the same guy who helped rob it blind. Relying on “MICROSOFT/WINDOWS ANYTHING” (free or not) to repair anything is asking for even more trouble.

      Try this – zero Microsoft/Windows required – no tearing out hard drives required – you just need a USB Flash and a working PC somewhere that has internet (which you also need with the plan above).

      Step 1: Any size USB Flash Drive is OK – down to about 1 GB – which is tiny today.

      You can also use an external USB hard drive – but won’t need that to get started.

      Step 2: go to another PC with internet

      Step 3: download a small bootable version of Linux that boots off a USB Flash Drive.

      You might not stick with it later – they often lack features that Windows has but as a TOOL to do this job – get your data back – its the best thing since its free and boots right off a USB Flash Drive on 90% of all PCs out there today.

      DO NOT download some mega-large Linux hard drive recovery tool.
      Honestly, most of them are junk – even at free – and take a long time to download.

      Good Choices are:

      a) Pocket Rocket Linux – easily reads NTFS data automatically – small and fast to download

      b) Tiny Core Linux – probably the smallest of them all but requires a bit of configuration to read NTFS drives

      c) Puppy Linux – a bit fatter than A or B, but can be configured to read NTFS

      d) Knoppix – usually installs from CD – not USB – so its the biggest/fattest to download and that can take hours.

      Suggest A or B

      Step 4: configure your BIOS on the dead PC to boot from a removable device first – i.e. your new USB flash drive

      Step 5: insert finished USB drive (5 minutes using A or B, 60 minutes using C, 3 – 6 hours using D) and reboot

      Step 6: connect a large external USB hard drive (not Flash Drive) and most of the Linux packages above will see it

      Step 7: right click – select all – copy – drag and drop/paste the key folders and files you want. Usually My Documents is a good place to start.

      Step 8: figure out what is missing on your Windows system. You can even get online – get other tutorials – and then go to your original Windows boot CD to find the exact file you need – just recopy that and you’re often fixed and don’t need a complete install.

      This is important, since keycodes expire after a certain number of installs.

      DO NOT (be careful) download specific Windows or PC specific files – except at authorized sites like Microsoft etc since they are often infected. Try to use your original, manufactured/authentic Windows CD.

      DO NOT rely on original Recovery CDs – they often wipe out your data. Sorry.

      DO back up frequently – but if you don’t – as long as the drive still spins up – you can use this method to at least get your data back and that is the one thing that you cannot replace. You can always re-install your operating system, but you cannot always get your photos, audio files, spreadsheets, docs and videos back if you make a mistake here.

      Use this method and you’ll get it all back – fast and free – saving $1,000 or more from recovery services.

      Free is a good thing.

      Hope this helps.

      From a software engineer – 30 years – and the owner of the largest computer sales and service store for 15 years – south Orange County, CA (I will not plug my store – no name provided)

      • sufi

        Reply Reply January 19, 2013

        if u have any vacancy for desktop engineer please replay me i am from india.
        an i have 4 years experience in California.

        Thanks Reply Must.

        • shashank persai

          Reply Reply August 1, 2013

          sir iam shashank persai my one problem my data is lost after format my laptop so how to recover my data? so please help me and please give me your mobile number
          thanks and regard
          shashank persai
          Engineer
          +91-9650071258

      • Prabhash

        Reply Reply March 2, 2013

        Hi Grandma,
        I got this problem when I was updating one of the driver on my lappy. I got one message “Fatal error” and since then many windows program and personal files/folder disappeared. I thought this is a temporary problem so I restarted the lappy assuming it will fix automatically. After restarting it is going in startup check repair mode and finally ending with saying registry is corrupt. I copied the registry key of the date before this problem occurred using manual command prompt even then my laptop is going in start up check repair. I tried safe mode and other option using F12 but still the result is same – start up check repair. I tried to boot the laptop using reboot-able flash drive through Ubuntu and it booted successfully but I could see only few GB of my personal data other files/folders I am not able to see. My laptop hard disk is 320 GB which contains almost 200 GB of personal data likes files/photos/movies etc. But as I said I could see only few GBs data out of that 200GB personal data. Could you please guide me how to recover all the personal data from the failed hard drive. It would be great help from you as these personal data is really important for me. Please do help.

        • Donald Kepler

          Reply Reply July 25, 2014

          Hi shashank, though this is an old post but still I am willing to reply your query because the same problem occurred with me and here I want to share my experience with you about Regain Mac Data software. For resources, please visit http://www.regainmacdata.com/
          free downloaded version can show the deleted files during scanning process, which assures to see your lost data, still existing on drive.

      • Jenifer Whitmire

        Reply Reply March 3, 2014

        This worked beautifully for me. I had spent $50 on software that claimed to recover data from a crashed hard drive but it would only recover previously deleted files. I bought a USB to SATA adapter from Tiger Direct, took my hard drive out of my laptop and hooked it to another computer as an external drive and CG Security test disk worked, I couldn’t believe it! And best of all it was free! They ask for donations on the download page to keep it free and you can bet I’ll donate. Thanks to CNET, DVDMaker for the recommendation and to CG Security.Hope that helps.

        http://fff.re/8Tqj

    • Paul

      Reply Reply June 5, 2013

      You can do software recovery yourself, but there is a lot of technical stuff that can be done that is beyond the average user (or even tech). Even the clean room recovery places say most drives do not end up going to the clean room! So I’d try a middle-of-the road place to do what they can before I drop the $1,200!
      I go into it here: http://durangopcguy.com/2013/06/hard-drive-recovery/.

      I do like the circuit board swap you mentioned. I may have to look into that… Thanks!

    • Kemlin joseph

      Reply Reply February 18, 2014

      If you want to recover data from Crashed mac Hard Drive then use a third party data recovery software. It’s name is Kernel Recovery For Macintosh application. I have used this tool. http://www.macrecoverytool.net/

    • Regina Melhoff

      Reply Reply August 11, 2014

      I use this utility quite a bit. It is available and has good tutorials.

      http://bit.ly/1oLCfVY

      Looks like someone posted to a very old thread and resurrected it.

  • vinnie

    Reply Reply April 30, 2007

    I have a hard drive that crashed, and it have two (2) partition. I can read the second partition, but not the first one. What can i do in this case?

    • sufi

      Reply Reply January 19, 2013

      you can repair via hirens boot cd.

  • vinnie

    Reply Reply April 30, 2007

    What software can i use to recover data from bad clusters in a hard drive?

    • sufi

      Reply Reply January 19, 2013

      restoration is free software.

  • Casey

    Reply Reply April 30, 2007

    Hey Vinnie,
    If the software in the article above does not work then I would highly recommend trying this method. http://www.caseytech.com/put-your-hard-drive-in-the-freezer-to-recover-data/ This method has proven to be successful for many people with unreadable hard drives. If that doesn’t work then you might have to consider sending it off to a data recovery service.

    • NoFreeze

      Reply Reply May 31, 2013

      The “freezer” trick on modern drives will most often do more harm than good. There is “clean air” inside hard drives. The air is clean (no dust) but it does contain moisture like the air we breath. When these things get cold that moisture in the air will condense on the platters. Modern hard drives have a magnetic float height that is typically significantly less than 50 nanometers. A tiny, barely visible droplet of water is like a mountain that the magnetic read head will crash into.

      When drives are “clicking” it is most commonly because there is an electrical short in the preamplifier or a magnetic read head. No matter how hot or cold you get it, it’s still going to be shorted.

      I am in the storage industry for 10+ years and have worked on the guts of thousands of drives.

  • zeusmorg

    Reply Reply June 2, 2007

    an easier way without pulling the harddrive, is to run a live linux, my favorite is knoppix, you can run from the cd, (of course first setting your boot options in BOIS to cdrom) then you can pull the data to a second installed burner or if the computer is networked use samba to transfer the information off of the bad drive. once i have the info that is salvageable off, it’s time to test and see if the drive is worthy of saving or time to replace.

  • techguns

    Reply Reply June 10, 2007

    I only plug IDE cables to a PC with damaged mother or processor or something like that or recovery of deleted. 2 foot long cables helps.
    Rlinux freeware works for recovery of deleted recycle bin but I can take a few hours.

    http://www.findapp.com/fmgmt/Pdetails.aspx?PID=4590

    List of live CDs. Sometimes UBCD wont boot and Knoppix, Slax will or Ubuntu. I cant depend one just one so I have about 7 iso burned.

    http://www.frozentech.com/content/livecd.php

    With Linux live I recover the files to a thumb drive.

    Regwizz on UBCD is handy for restore points.

    If I know its really going Ill try the freezer trick and getting PC inspector. Thanks.

  • techguns

    Reply Reply June 10, 2007

    Oh someone post a link on making a UBCD for someone that has a ealy XP disk without SP1. It was a real pain and I want to upgrade UDCD new version.

    • Grandma

      Reply Reply May 23, 2012

      you wrote “UBCD” and I am not sure if you meant USB CD (as in plastic disc) or USB Flash Drive (as in little thumb drive with USB Plug)

      The post I made above (black text on gray) describes 4 sites you can use to make a USB Flash Drive that boots up and can read the hard drive. You still will need a 2nd PC that has internet – but its all free and pretty darn fast and the install for choice A and B is easy.

  • TONY

    Reply Reply June 17, 2007

    I WAS HOPING THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO TELL ME IF THERE IS A WEB SIGHT I CAN GO TO . THAT WILL LET ME DOWN LOAD SOAFT WARE TO RECOVER INFOMATION FROM A HARD DRIVE THAT HAS CRASHED ? AS WELL AS ANY OTHER SOAFT WARE THAT MAY BE USE FULL FOR A PERSON THAT IS TEACHING HIS SELF HOW TO FIX COMPUTERS ! THANK YOU TONY

  • Lloyd

    Reply Reply August 6, 2007

    I also recommend using SpinRite instead of PC Inspector. I’ve used both and while SpinRite takes longer, it’s MUCH more thorough and has restored dead hard drives that PC Inspector couldn’t even read. Also, SpinRite can correct clusters identified as “bad” when they truly aren’t, resulting in a drive that operates as fast as when it was new; this is critically important for newer, larger drives which have much more frequently labeled “bad” clusters (even though the drives automatically compensate for them in firmware). Trust me, having BOTH applications is very worthwhile.

    PS SpinRite has an interesting copyright…it’s free to distribute copies to colleagues based on the assumption that those receiving the copies will find it useful and will purchase a license which, of course, is pretty inexpensive.

    PPS Steve Gibson (of Steve Gibson Research, grc.com) is the brilliant mind behind SpinRite. I rank him right up there with Mark R. of Sysinternals. :)

  • w4nder

    Reply Reply November 6, 2007

    This may sound strange…but it worked for me just now and I was able to recover all my data before the drive crashed again.

    I had tried putting it in the freezer, but it was 120 GB drive…so it would heat up and crash before I was able to complete the copying process.

    I put the drive in the freezer then after hooking the drive back up I took a small freezer bag and filled it with ice. I placed the small freezer bag in a large freezer bag and then placed the problematic drive in the large freezer bag against the bagged ice while I copied over all my data.

  • oj

    Reply Reply October 25, 2008

    trojan horse in your free program

  • Mike

    Reply Reply September 12, 2009

    Some people have mentioned using Knoppix to recover data from a crashed hard drive. I just got done recovering the data from my bosses hard drive ysing an Ubuntu LiveCD.

    Directions on how to do that are
    here

    • rocko

      Reply Reply March 15, 2012

      i tried to do it but when i go to my computer in ubuntu the computer didnt find any drives.If u know any solution plz tell me

      • Grandma

        Reply Reply May 23, 2012

        try Pocket Rocket Linux or Tiny Core Linux – both install to USB when some of the other larger Linux packages cannot and both can be configured to read NTFS Windows Data – Pocket Rocket Linux is a bit easier to use and installs pretty fast.

  • Dave Chika

    Reply Reply April 14, 2010

    please i need help on my crashed hard drive installed with xpsp2,it was updating and was shutting down when i mistakenly pushed the power button,since then my laptop refused to boot,it keeps on recycling on your best known configuration that worked screen etc.so i bought an external sata drive case and fix the HDD on it and plugged it on another laptop but i was making a clicking noise and was not recognizing or reading.please am so confused cos i have a whole lots of stuffs on my laptop.

  • brend

    Reply Reply April 30, 2010

    hey i have problem on my hardrive, he cannot detect on bios, i can try another pc, cannot detect, how to recover my file

  • Brenda

    Reply Reply June 10, 2010

    Guys i think you should also learn to have backups just for security purposes.I normally backup online with safecopy backup and here everything including the costs are fine and more to that now they give a free unlimited 5GB trial version.I love my laptop but this does not stop me form backing up online just to avoid my data from getting lost incase my hard drive crashes.

  • spokane computer repair

    Reply Reply September 7, 2010

    Great, this fixed our problem on the job! I can’t wait to browse more =D

  • Gloria

    Reply Reply July 28, 2011

    Would this work if the hard drive crashed is “unreadable”? I took it to some one to repair it, they-re installing a new drive but they say the contents of the old one are unsccessible as the drive won’t read

  • Rob

    Reply Reply September 17, 2011

    “make sure that is detecting the drive in bios? If its a bad drive it wont be detected in BIOS. WTF? if bios detects the drive then you are good……this post is worthless…fuking douche

    • Casey

      Reply Reply September 19, 2011

      Rob,

      Not all hard drive failures result in a completely dead drive. Most of the time they will still show up in the bios but will require data recovery methods similar to the ones above because you cannot boot from them. Trust me, as someone who has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years, I have been able to recover data from drive failures countless times following steps similar to the ones in this post.

      -Casey

    • Grandma

      Reply Reply May 23, 2012

      Hi Rob – I know crashed drives – viruses – and slow systems get us all pretty wound up – we all blow – but the author is just trying to provide A TOOL to help folks “not blow” – rather “stay cool” and “work together” – because losing data can make you cry – heavily.

      So…wtfyp (we truly feel your pain) – try one of the methods here – the post is pretty good – lots of options and ideas – and I will guess that if you use one of the Linux methods (see my first post) you can get to your data. I have even seen one of the tools above (PRL) get to a drive when BIOS didn’t see it but the Linux ntfs-3g somehow found it and was able to mount it and get to the data…so ya never know until you try and yes – a lot of times it doesn’t work – but persistence – especially when going after important photos and spreadsheets – is the key – along with patience.

  • Nick

    Reply Reply December 15, 2011

    Ok heres one for everyone. I can read the drive with another computer can even see partition and see the other drive. One I cant read is F: the G: is accesible and can be read. Whenever I load via 2.5 hd reader I get a message saying it wants to format the drive which I dont want to do. Now using pc inspector aint worked. Now from what i can see is I format the drive and then use pc inspector to recover the lost folder (pictures) thats all my friend really wants saved. But is there not a program I can use to access this drive. With pc inspector Ive managed to find all the old deleted files but this is not what I need I need to access the current folder and get its files. Any ideas????

    • Grandma

      Reply Reply May 23, 2012

      use one of the tools I listed in the first post – black text on gray background – and you can read, select, copy, paste all those files to either the USB Flash Drive or better is an external USB Hard Drive – much more space. Either way it starts with a USB Flash Drive.

  • Celine

    Reply Reply December 23, 2011

    My laptop died on me this week, and after running the PSA and everything, the Dell support told me that it’s a HDD failure. Since they are going to replace a new one for me, and I’m given 15 days to try to backup that faulty HDD, I’ll give everything a try.

    Oh jeez, this will suck big time if I can’t retrieve my dog’s puppy photos…

  • Alias Forensics

    Reply Reply May 29, 2012

    The tool listed in this article is a very good tool and we have used it before in a recovery. However, if anyone is still unable recover the data feel free to look us up.
    Alias Forensics

  • Don Anderson

    Reply Reply June 1, 2012

    This only applies to drives without physical damage. If the drive is clicking, beeping, buzzing, or has been dropped don’t attempt self recovery if the data is important.

    Remember, once the damage has been done it can be permanent. Please be sure to take your drive to a professional the first time if the data is important. If you can’t afford a professional recovery right now then safely store the drive until you can.

    Don Anderson
    Tri-State Data Recovery & Forensics, LLC
    http://www.southjerseydata.com
    http://www.realdatarecovery.com

  • Joshua

    Reply Reply November 21, 2012

    Great fascinating post! The tools mentioned here are all powerful and free something invaluable for the person who can’t afford and the small business man. Casey or Grandma I have a question for you guys I’m an IT professional myself and have 5 yrs experience working in the field(can’t compete with these guys for experience lol :-) one question though is will I be able to recover those files if there is a new windows partion on the drive? Want some info before I give it a shot!

    OH by the way I have to correct grandma on puppy you rank it low because you may not have used it much but puppy linux can easily fall in with pocket and tiny core!
    Regards!
    Joshua

    • Casey

      Reply Reply November 26, 2012

      Hi Joshua,
      Glad you like the post. PC Inspector File Recovery may be able to recover files after a reformat as long as Windows itself (or any other apps that you have installed since reformatting) haven’t overwritten the sectors containing the files you are trying to recover. Take a look at Recuva too. https://www.piriform.com/recuva It’s another free data recovery app that was released after I originally wrote this article. Hope this helps!
      -Casey

  • Calvin

    Reply Reply December 2, 2012

    Is there a way to recover data if the drive doesn’t show up in disk management and when PC inspector tries to find logical drives, it keeps on getting fails?

    • Casey

      Reply Reply December 5, 2012

      Hi Calvin,

      If the drive isn’t showing up in disk manager and PC inspector can’t see it then it’s possible that the failed drive might be beyond these recovery methods. If this is the case then you may have to send it off to a data recovery service like Ontrack.

  • Keith

    Reply Reply January 27, 2013

    First my Windows Vista computer would not boot. Took it to repair shop to check it out. They said it needed a new drive and they could not recover data from old one because it was dead??? Paid to have new hard drive installed and took old drive back with me because I did not believe what they said. They said it was making a clicking sound and was unrepairable. It was not making a clicking sound so I new they were not telling the whole truth. I started buy buying a usb to sata drive so I could hook the drive up externally. Hooked it up and the drive would spin up a but I could not see it, I then decided to purchase the pcb for the drive and went to manufacturers website to make sure that I matched the new board to the old board as best as I could. Found one on E-bay and purchased for 40.00 dollars. After replacing the board drive spin up great and now I was able to see a external drive in “my computer”. Double clicked on it, but got error “the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” searched internet and found how to run “chkdsk” in the command prompt. I ran it on the affected drive by typing in chkdsk I: /r something like that you can find this on any repair website. I can now double click on the drive and there is 84 gb of my data. I am very happy. My question now is how to get that back on my computer the fastest and best way and not screw up all that I done. And also find any other data that the chkdsk did not fix possibly. After all this work I want it all back. But I need to do it the right way. Any Ideas?

    • Casey

      Reply Reply January 30, 2013

      Connecting the drive to a computer as a secondary drive and then manually copying the data over is probably the best way and shouldn’t screw anything up. Chkdsk may have fixed everything but you won’t know until you start copying stuff. If your copies fail then you will want to use a program like Recuva to help restore your data. Keep us posted.

    • naim

      Reply Reply February 20, 2014

      hi Keith, thanks for your idea, sounds excellent and simple. I have wasted many restless days on trying my unbootable hard drive to rebbot with no luck. I have though managed (hopefully to retrieve data) via a sta USB adaptor to trnsfer into another working notebook. I came across your simple way of checking and repairing the corrupted hard disk on my good notebook.Its still repairing it now but I am optimistic, presumably after its been repaired i can take the unbootable hard disk, put it back in its notebook and hopefully it will boot!

  • Tooz

    Reply Reply January 27, 2013

    Thanks for the article, Casey.
    My HD is bad, had a new one put in, need the files off the old one.
    Bought the SATA cable adapter, hooked it up, four drives showed up in Windows Explorer (E,F, G, H).
    Downloaded Recuva, but it stops when I select the drive to scan.
    Note – my computer won’t boot if I have the old drive plugged in when I start or restart it. I have to start Recuva, then plug in the USB/SATA cable.
    Got any suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Tooz

    • Keith

      Reply Reply January 27, 2013

      Go to start than run and type in cmd then enter. The dos command window should pop up. Type chkdsk x: /r where x is your external drive and it should start to repair it. Let it go. I am by no means an expert but this worked for me.

      • Casey

        Reply Reply January 30, 2013

        Hi Keith,

        Thanks for sharing. This may work depending on what type of issue he is having. I left this out of the article though because I was trying to focus strictly on data recovery and not repair. In some cases, running a utility like chkdsk can make things worse. If the data is very important, and he doesn’t want to run the risk of making it worse, then I would recommend staying away from chkdsk and focus only on recovery. I did a quick search and found this article which explains it a little more if you are interested. http://ezinearticles.com/?CHKDSK—Life-Saver-Or-Disk-Drive-Killer?&id=1326003

    • Casey

      Reply Reply January 30, 2013

      Tooz,

      Did you try any of the other recovery programs I listed? I would recommend trying the demo version of GetDataBack and seeing if that works. If it does then you will have to purchase it to perform the recovery. If the hard drive had Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 installed then you probably need the GetDataBack for NTFS version. Hope this helps. Keep us posted.

  • Tooz

    Reply Reply January 31, 2013

    I downloaded and tried Recuva, but it didn’t find any files.
    Before I read your response, I tried the chkdsk as Keith suggested. It showed there were files, but I still could not access them.
    I guess I’ll try again with GetDataBack – it that doesn’t work, I’ll have to get ready to spend a lot of money, I guess…
    Thanks for your time and efforts on my behalf!
    Tooz

  • Felicitas

    Reply Reply January 31, 2013

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  • Tooz

    Reply Reply February 5, 2013

    GetDataBack didn’t work either… took it to a friend’s “computer guy” and he couldn’t read anything from it… said something about a corrupted Master Boot Record (MBR)…
    I’m screwed…
    (any ideas, other than spending $300 – $1,000?)

    • Casey

      Reply Reply February 6, 2013

      Hi Tooz,

      If GetDataBack couldn’t recover the files then I’m not sure if there is much else you can do. If it is an issue with the Master Boot Record then GetDataBack should have been able to still see the files so I think the problem is more serious then that. Reach out to Gillware and get an estimate. It may be cheaper than you think.

      • Saurabh Mehta

        Reply Reply July 21, 2013

        Dear Friends,
        I need Help, I have wdc5000aads-0sb90 500 gb hdd of western digital,hardly used 150 days ,
        suddenly gone bad, bios recognise ata device only no serial number,some times it shows,
        when it recognized it started chkdsk and files unreadable etc, please let me know how to recover my data from this point onwards,my email is samgreat555@gmail.com
        in adition i have four partition on hdd , 250 gb Vista, 79 gb ,79 gb,89 gb, other 3 are important for me not vista wich contains OS, i have snapshot done in recuva, please let me know proper way to detact it in Dos and any tool need for disk image or simple copy, also how to get hiren’s boot cd and how to use it Thanks, waiting for help………
        Regards, Thanks

  • Dave

    Reply Reply February 17, 2013

    this info is all for a crashing hard drive, not a CRASHED hard drive. My drive is completely crashed, meaning when I boot the PC, it isn’t recognized and the PC will not pass Post. It just sits there as long as the drive is connected. I need a method that works for this.

  • rana

    Reply Reply February 26, 2013

    Hi
    The tools listed here are very good tools for data recovery from a crashed hard drive and all are probably time tested for data recovery. I particularly like GetDataBack for the purpose. However, if anyone is still unable to recover his lost data from the failed drive he may look into the following useful article which I found very helpful while searching the web.
    http://radharenu.hubpages.com/_1fvrvpoyw4f0q/hub/How-to-Recover-Data-from-a-Dead-Hard-Drive-a-complete-guide

  • cararoxoxo

    Reply Reply May 13, 2013

    Hi, I have a PC with which I was using a Seagate external drive to store all my photos and videos. My son has a Mac and he connected my external drive to view photos and now neither of our computers recognizes the drive. He said he never reformatted when he connected it. I’m just wondering if there is hope for getting my pictures back? Thanks!

    • lql

      Reply Reply May 18, 2013

      i have exactly the same problem as cararoxoxo, just in reverse.

      my seagate external drive was working fine on my mac (maybe just taking a while to be mounted sometimes) up until i plugged it into my cousin’s PC. we all saw the pop-up window asking if we would like to “Format” or “Cancel”. we naturally chose cancel.

      now my mac can’t mount my external drive, although it can be seen in disk utility.

      fingers crossed for any help possible! (meanwhile, wondering if the freezer method will work?)

  • Kingsley

    Reply Reply May 28, 2013

    I installed a software “Blackberry OS” on my PC and I was instructed to restart my PC which I did, Unfortunately the PC failed to boot, I got this message showing “BOOTMGR Image is corrupt, system cannot boot” sometimes I do get “BOOTMGR is Missing” I had to repair it with Windows Installation CD” which was the only way, now the light indicating the HDD is not even showing again, and the PC is not even booting at all

  • sunil

    Reply Reply June 16, 2013

    As i connect my adata hv610 external drive to any laptop or pc’s it displays the message “one of the USB device attached to this computer has malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognise it” so i cant access the drive where i have stored my important files. So pls can any one help me for the mentioned problem so i can recover my files.

  • Hasim

    Reply Reply June 16, 2013

    Dear sir
    i got a problem with my hard drive i dont know why. my windows xp was cuppupted and i cant access my data afterthat i remove that hard drive and i connect that hard drive in other pc but i show that hard drive with differant drive but i cant access it when i double click on peticular dir there is give me the message of format your hard drive so please help me how to recover my data

  • yash mehta

    Reply Reply June 23, 2013

    i have a seagate 1 tb external hard disk, its not getting detected, though it blinks the light after getting connected, but not getting detected to any device.
    how can i recover the data.
    plz help me

  • Saurabh Mehta

    Reply Reply July 21, 2013

    Dear Friends,

    I need Help, I have wdc5000aads-0sb90 500 gb hdd of western digital,hardly used 150 days ,
    suddenly gone bad, bios recognise ata device only no serial number,some times it shows,
    when it recognized it started chkdsk and files unreadable etc, please let me know how to recover my data from this point onwards,my email is samgreat555@gmail.com
    Regards, Thanks

  • Saurabh Mehta

    Reply Reply July 21, 2013

    in adition i have four partition on hdd , 250 gb Vista, 79 gb ,79 gb,89 gb, other 3 are important for me not vista wich contains OS,
    i have snapshot done in recuva, please let me know proper way to detact it in Dos and any tool need for disk image or simple copy, also how to get hiren’s boot cd and how to use it
    Thanks, waiting for help……….

  • Surjeet

    Reply Reply August 16, 2013

    Sir,
    MY external hard disk have no partition. It has only a drive which only data. How can i recover the data

  • Thanasis Vourvou

    Reply Reply August 20, 2013

    My hard drive (Seagate Barracuda 250GB) stopped working and its making a beeping sound. Searching through internet I found out thta it has probably crashed.
    Is there a way I can recover any data from it without going to a lab?
    It was not my OS drive. It only contains files , music and videos.
    Any suggestions?

  • Blake Carpenter

    Reply Reply August 25, 2013

    After I recover data to a different drive is it ok to then move that data back to the drive it came from?

    • Blake Carpenter

      Reply Reply August 25, 2013

      There isn’t anything wrong with the drive I recovered it from, it was just formatted

  • carlos

    Reply Reply August 28, 2013

    so my macbook pro was giving me a white screen with just the apple logo so i got into the comand shift window and it told me my operating system was unsucsesfull which i took as everything is still on the disk. i put the disk in my pc hoping to transfer my files to my pc . all my files are on the dick but it will no let me transfer. what can i do . i am a audio engineer so all the files i have are really important .someone help please

  • Andrew Bibeau

    Reply Reply August 29, 2013

    I had a similar situation happened with my computer. I was gone for awhile I came home and when I turn my computer on.windows would not boot up.I would get a message with Windows system root and listed a missing file name. this message will come up every time no matter what I try to do with it I tried to reboot several times tried to do a recovery with my Windows CD and that didn’t work. So Iremoved the hard drive from my garage computer and install that into my desktop computer and when I did that I ended up having to installI knew copy of Windows on to that seem hard drive however I installed the Windows files in a different folderand was there for able to retain my service pack files that I had saved on that hard disk alreadyone of the first things that I did with this computer is install service pack 2 once that was installed the computer rebooted and after the reboot the check disk notification came up once again andand luckily for me I wasn’t paying attention at the time and the check disk operation started and basically windows proceeded to repair whatever was wrong with my hardest to know it’s working again I was just able to go on to it and access all the information. By the way sorry for the missing punctuation I’m not typing this I’m speaking to my phone.soul what I intend to do know is remove the hard drive I just had it in and hopefully windows will reboot on my 80 gig Western Digital hard drive again. And I t will be party on time. Btw I am running xp pro and always will be. I will post any updates

  • aniket d

    Reply Reply September 29, 2013

    i have got sata hard disc which is not working and it seems due to my wrong connections done it got crashed. what should i do in this case? please help me soon.

  • dZ

    Reply Reply October 20, 2013

    hi, just read this post. please tell me, in order to retrieve the data in “broken” or crashed drive, I have to actually format the drive first to get the other data that isn’t causing the drive to crash? I’m lost here. confused to be exact.

    I have a dead 16GB micro sd card (used to be the life of my android phone) that is now making windows pops “please format your drive in order to use it” message everytime I put the card in the computer, and a crashed C drive of my laptop hdd (the D part is perfectly well and readable). I tried using Piriform’s RECUVA on the C drive and it retrieves only the files that cause the C drive to crash (actually my kid turned the laptop off while it was updating the nVidia driver). I want the other files that is fine….. do I need to format the C drive to get them?

    please advise. THANKS!!

  • msa

    Reply Reply October 21, 2013

    adg trh

  • ms anwar

    Reply Reply October 21, 2013

    dear,
    i hav a laptop. there r two windows, 1 wondows10 and 2 ubuntu.
    my windows 10 sowing only c drive then i craeted a d drive by my frnd.
    and then i restarted my laptop, its showing error! ( ergue …..)
    my frnd formetting my laprop. and my all data loss. and show only one woindows…why?
    did ubuntu crashed?
    could my all data recovery?
    please help me…

    shahid

  • Rohit

    Reply Reply October 22, 2013

    i have a dell studio 15 and three drive partitions…i cant access one of my drives (which had most of my important data)…i have windows 7 installed on my laptop and it is now taking half an hour to boot up…i m also unable to reinstall windows 7/8 as the set up is getting hanged…the drive is showing in “my computer” but i cant access it neither its showing any details about it…how can i recover my data from that drive??

  • Satyam

    Reply Reply October 29, 2013

    Hello,
    I need help.
    a Friend has a crashed 2.5 inch Seagate Hard Disk.
    To attempt to recover it….can i put the crashed hard disk in an external HDD casing and attempt recovery??? any other efficient and “workable” way of connecting the crashed HDD to a PC? thanks

  • bichitra

    Reply Reply October 29, 2013

    my hard disk not working. as ants got into it & it made scratching sounds. it has 320gb space & not shown by another computer when it was connected.
    what should i do now

  • Dave L

    Reply Reply January 29, 2014

    I’ve got a 2005 Compaq Presario with XP and two hard drives. I recently attempted to upgrade the XP before the MS April 2014 deadline. It caused major problems with the operating system. After searching the Net I tried to reload the “Service Pack2″ and “Service Pack 3″ as per instructions from MS. MISTAKE!!!!
    Killed the operating system completely. Net search found numerous complaints and discussions of the same problem.
    Attempted to load Windows 7 and now nothing. It starts, attempts to load Windows, and drops me into the safe mode. Took to repair shop, who got it to work, but … that was only until I turned it on at home.
    Attempted to copy important data from secondary drive to USB but the system does not recognize any of the 7 USB ports. Took it back to the shop, and was told the hard drives were dead, the all important secondary was “clicking”, and that it is probably a mother board issue.
    But I can get to a c:> and it no longer recognized the vital secondary drive.
    What are my options?
    When I get a new machine, is it best to install the questionable HD? What about hidden malware that may have become immeshed into the files?

  • After going through the whole thread of comments, I am wondering why people are so much into getting data recovered on their own. If the data is worth recovering then it is not worth taking the risk of recovering on your own.. Though you can try putting in some software expertise in it. Software from http://retrievephotos.com/ has shown good results for me..
    And even if you are not satisfied with the results of software, you can go for data recovery experts.

    Points to be noted:
    1. If data is invaluable, dont recover it.
    2. If data is valuable, dont be a doctor yourself.
    3. If you want to save money, go for the best data recovery software.
    4. If its so valuable that you want it anyhow, go for data recovery experts like Stellar..

    Thanks…

  • Rasmi Mishra

    Reply Reply June 30, 2014

    I have an external hard disc (USB) of 80gb to store my raw data. It is a old one (FAT32) and it has three partition. I wanted to copy all the data to a new one. I tried first to copy to my computer, but after copying 1 file somehow it did not work. I restarted my computer and the external hard drive was still attach to it. Now two of the partition are not accessible, its says used space zero and disc space zero. The 3rd partition is working fine. I need the data from one of the drive and its really important. Any good software for it, please suggest.

    Thanks
    Rasmi

  • angel234

    Reply Reply July 8, 2014

    Data is more important to all user so use advanced data recovery tool to instantly recover data. Check free trial tool http://www.en.windowsdatarecovery.net/

  • Vishal

    Reply Reply July 8, 2014

    Hi, few weeks earlier my hard disk felt into water and was in a very critical situation but I got recovered my all data back from DATA CARE SYSTEMS very soon and it is working fine now. It’s little bit expensive but not more than our data.

    You can contact 9235602333,9235202333 @ DATA CARE SYSTEMS.

  • Donald Kepler

    Reply Reply July 15, 2014

    If drive is formatted then the chances of recovering the deleted data back are high. But in case, if drive is wipe out or overwritten completely then the chances are too less near to zero. There are many data recovery software which claims to recover the data with in few clicks like Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery software, mini tool Mac data recovery software etc.

  • magic man

    Reply Reply August 7, 2014

    can you access the search history?

  • magic man

    Reply Reply August 7, 2014

    My hard drive crashed three years ago can I still save it?

  • Ford

    Reply Reply August 14, 2014

    Hi! First, a million thanks for posting this article! This really did help me recover some of my important files and photos. My old man is so delighted to see his younger years and our old family pictures that have already been lost when this pc crashed. However, right now my problem is most of the files that I really need was overwritten for the dumbest reason of not following simple instructions of not installing the recovery software on the hard drive that I want to recover from. I really feel bad about it and it was too late (I got too excited) when I realized I have screwed up. So my question is, Is there any other way that I can undone what I just did or restore those files that got overwritten in the process of installing the recovery software? I hope so. Thanks again!

  • piku

    Reply Reply August 25, 2014

    Hi All ,
    I have been using a HP laptop for last 5 years . Recently i found a problem while starting the lappy . Its throwing a blue screen then getting restarted and then asking for repair . when i tried to repair , its doing nothing . i tried to format using a pen drive but failed . den i have taken my lappy to a computer repairing center . they told me that lappys hard disk has been crashed . they tried to take back up by connecting with an adapter but did not work . could you please let me know how can i get back all data from the crashed hard disk .

  • George Paul

    Reply Reply September 9, 2014

    I was confused about how to recover data from crashed hard drive. Moment later my technical friend suggested usage of third party application called Remo Recover, used it and the result was overwhelming.

  • Monica

    Reply Reply November 14, 2014

    Informative.. Thanks for the post.my lappy’s hard disk crashed couple of weeks back. The hard disk contained confidential and important data related to my work.I was skeptical about using online data recovery tools because my previous attempts of recovery was just a mere waste of time and money. So, as suggested by my friend I contacted a data recovery company (http://www.indiacssi.com). I was promised by CSSI engineers that my data will be recovered back. What a big sigh of relief :-).. I was able to get all my data recovered after few days.

    +-+

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    To attempt to recover it….can i put the crashed hard disk in an external HDD casing and attempt recovery??? any other efficient and “workable” way of connecting the crashed HDD to a PC? thanks

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