Tips for Recovering Files When Your Hard Drive Crashes

All hard drives fail eventually. It doesn’t matter what kind of preventative measures you have taken, or whether or not your drive has moving parts or is a solid state drive.

If you have ever gone to start your computer and found that error message saying your hard disk has failed, you know that feeling of your heart dropping, thinking everything is lost.

Most of us keep all sorts of personal files on our computers—pictures, videos, music, games, tax documents, work files, emails, bank statements, and more.

At this point, it doesn’t matter what happened or how the disk crashed, the most important thing to you is salvaging any data you can.

Stop Using the Broken Drive Immediately

It may not seem like it, but it’s possible to do more damage if you attempt to continue to use the drive once it has started showing signs of failing, or if it has failed altogether.

If you want to have any chance of recovering the data from you drive, stop using it. Remove the internal drive or unplug the external drive from the computer and any power source.

Check for the Simple or Obvious Things

Sometimes a failed drive can be fixed fairly simply, or looking for the simple things could at least help you determine if the problem is fairly serious or not.

A friend of mine recently had an external drive fail. He wasn’t able to establish a connection between the drive and his computer, so he checked all of his connections.

The cable was fine, and the drive seemed fine, except for the connection port, which was loose. The soldering had become broken, and no connection could be made, though the drive itself was, in fact, just fine.

He was able to buy a soldering iron and fix the part on his own, rather than spending hundreds of dollars for a professional company to do it for him.

Freeze the Broken Drive

I’ve researched this on several occasions, and I haven’t found a source that can say exactly why this works from time to time, but you can actually put the drive in your freezer in an anti-static bag.

Once it has been frozen for a few hours, take it out and plug it into a different computer with a working hard drive. It’s important to use a second computer because the failed drive may not be able to boot the operating system, and attempting to do so could damage the failed drive even more.

When All Else Fails, Take Your Drive to a Reputable Recovery Company

There are several companies out there who are able to recover data using special tools and equipment, and sometimes even repair the drive. This can be an expensive option, so it’s important to find a reputable company who will get you every piece of data they can.