How to Recover Data from Physical Damaged Hard Drive

how to recover data from damaged hard disk

A hard disk drive (HDD) is one of the most important components of a computer or laptop. This is because it’s where the OS is installed and the personal files stored. Unfortunately, just like most things, it has a certain lifespan, and after running its course, it can fail.


In This Post:-

  • What is a Physical Hard Disk Failure
  • Symptoms of Physical Hard Drive Failure
  • Data Recovery Software
  • How to recover data from a damaged hard disk


What is a Physical Hard Drive Failure?

A physical hard drive failure refers to physical damage which is usually non-reversible.

While problems like virus attacks, human errors, poor air ventilation leading to overheating, etc. can be resolved easily by the user themselves, physical damage can’t. This is because it requires an industry-specific data recovery process strictly performed in a clean lab with the help of specialized tools by the data recovery experts.


What are the Symptoms of a Physical Hard Drive Failure?

Unlike logical errors, the physical damage on a hard disk drive can be easily detected. The following are some of the most common symptoms of the physically damaged hard drive:


1. Hard Drive Not Recognised by the OS

A tell-tale sign of a failed or faulty hard drive is that it isn’t detected by your computer. You can verify this by launching the “Disk Management” utility tool and looking for the hard disk drive in question. If it’s showing a “not initialized error”, then it could mean that the hard disk drive has failed.

Your computer may also report errors on its own when trying to initialize a physically failed hard drive. These include BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), “I/O (Input/Output) error”, etc.


2. Broken/Damaged Hard Drive

Physical impact on a hard drive, for instance, when it’s accidentally dropped on the floor, can damage the internal parts and/or the circuitry.

The read/write head is the most important but also the most delicate part inside the unit.  So, a physical impact can easily dislodge or break it. The same goes for the spinning magnetic disk that stores the data.   

Warning: You should never open a hard drive to check the condition of the reading head or the platter, etc. An HDD should only be dismantled in an ISO certified clean room that has a controlled environment and next to no dust particles and other pollutants that can harm the sensitive magnetic platter.   


3. Disk Doesn’t Spin

Unlike an SSD (Solid State Drive) which is essentially silent in operation, an HDD has a distinct sound which comes from its spinning magnetic platter, the main component that stores the data.

So, whenever an HDD is running, you should be able to feel a vibration as well a deep whirring sound. In case neither of these are apparent, then it means that the hard drive is most certainly dead.


4. Unusual Sounds

If your hard disk drive has developed bad sectors (regions on the magnetic disk that have been damaged), then you may hear a strange ticking noise. This is because the actuator arm tries to read the data from these bad sectors but repeatedly fails, thus creating the noise.

A dying hard disk drive may also signal its condition through loud grinding or squeaky noises. These are usually emitted when there are hardware issues such as broken actuator arm, dislocated magnetic platter, etc. If you hear these noises, then you must shut down the system immediately to prevent further damage.


5. High Temperatures

If you turn on the computer and the HDD isn’t detected even if you hear the whirring sound that’s a sign of an operational HDD, then you can check its temperature. If it’s uncomfortably hot, then it could be a sign of physical failure.

An HDD has a magnetic platter on which a mechanical read/write head moves backwards and forwards to access different files stored in different sectors which creates friction. In addition to that, there is usually some circuity inside too which can turn hot when physically damaged. So, by checking the temperature of the HDD, you can ascertain its health.


Physically Damaged Hard Drive Recovery Solution

As mentioned earlier, physical damage on an HDD is usually non-reversible. Even though repairs can be performed to get the HDD up and running again and recover the data, using the device again as primary storage is risky and not recommended.

Another important thing to understand is that hard drive recovery is not possible with the software when the damage is physical. No matter how advanced software is, it won’t work unless the HDD is opened and actual repairs are performed. However, you can’t do this on your own.

Instead, you should approach a professional firm that specialises in broken/damaged hard drive recovery solutions. This is because, first and foremost, physical repairs on an HDD must always be done in an ISO certified clean room lab which maintains an extremely controlled environment devoid of dust particles and other minute pollutants that can harm the HDD when it’s opened.

A professional hard drive recovery service provider also has skilled data recovery experts who know how to handle delicate HDDs with the help of the right tools and equipment.


In Conclusion

Hard drives may not be so expensive today, but the data stored in them is often invaluable. So, if you observe any symptoms of physically damaged hard drive then don’t take chances and contact a professional.

It’s important to remember that you can’t recover data from a physically damaged hard drive even if you are using a top-notch data recovery software. This is because software can’t solve a problem that’s hardware related. It can only be done in class 100 clean room lab and only by the data recovery experts, which Stellar has. Stellar Data Recovery  is an ISO 27001 & ISO 9001 certified organization and provides 100% safe and secure data recovery services and maintains high level of data confidentiality. They have 15 branches across India and recovering data since 1993. Stellar, have served more than 2+ Million customers worldwide and the services available for both corporates and individuals for all kind of data loss situations. For more information about stellar data recovery services visit their official website or dial their toll free number 1800-102-3232


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2 Thoughts to “How to Recover Data from Physical Damaged Hard Drive”

  1. Swati


    This article is well written… clearly states what to do in case of hard drive failure

    1. Hey. Thanks @Swati. Stay tuned for more such tech updates.

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