Ways to recover data from a corrupt hard drive?

Happy Friday folks! This week’s topic is all about helping Chuck out with recovering data from his daughter’s corrupt hard drive. Before we begin, I cannot stress how important it is to backup your data, so that you do not find yourself in this situation. With that said, if you haven’t backed up your data lately, get to it! Now, let’s move on to the topic.

Well, Chuck, there are two possible ways a hard drive can become corrupt, one way is a physical failure (when something mechanically goes wrong within the drive–bad platter, bad circuit board, and so on), and the other way is logical failure (when the drive physically works, but data on the drive is in a corrupt state and it can be caused by a range of issues from viruses to file corruption.) If you read through the answers by our members, physical drive failure are by far more difficult to retrieve data from, as the mechanics need to be fixed, whereas logically failures, while not easy, are recoverable through third-party software, or costly services that specialize in data recovery. Either way, no method is guaranteed to recover your data completely.

This week, our members’ solutions to your questions varied, as there are many methods to hard drive recovery–ranging from what software they used to retrieve date from logical drive failures, to the method of freezing the hard drive (which many recommend to be the last resort.) There are simply no wrong or right answers, just a bunch of different approaches. So, give all our members’ advice and recommendations a read. I will mention that when it came to recommending a data recovery utility, a few titles that where mentioned more frequently than others were, SpinRite from Gibson Research and Ontrack Easy Recovery, both will cost you a bit of money. However, there were other options, which is to use Knoppix or Ubuntu Live Linux CD that are free to download. Overall, there were many helpful answers. I truly believe that after you read through these recommendations, you’ll have some good ideas what to start with. I’ve selected a few answers to get you all going in the Q&A section, so check them out. Again, as a reminder to all you folks, back up your data and do it frequently, so you won’t have to go through this stressful experience. Take care everyone and thank you all for your contributions to the question. Good luck Chuck and, if you have a chance, let us know what worked out for you.

Lee Koo

Lee Koo
CNET Community manage

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