How do You Recover Data from a Bad Drive?

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Over on Lockergnome, someone was wondering if the data on a corrupted drive is recoverable. The last thing you want to do if a drive is failing is to continue to write data to it. If there’s a question of data being corrupt, do nothing until you can get a professional to look at it. I’d be more inclined to send it to a third party than I would be even taking it back to a store where it was purchased from.

There are businesses built to do nothing more than recover your precious data from hard drives gone bad. The people you find at a local store that your drive was purchased at may not be as well-trained in the methods used to SAFELY retrieve your data. Do you really want to trust those photos, videos and documents to someone who may or may not be able to properly recover it?

If you’re reading along and have had experience with this, please leave a follow-up comment here. The community could use GOOD recommendations of people and companies who can help them gain access to their lost files.

6 thoughts on “How do You Recover Data from a Bad Drive?”

  1. hi,

    never let people from a local store do anything on your computer.
    they are not well trained or know a lot options.
    if you like to get your data of a bad drive,use this:
    download a bootable cd from linux.
    it doesn’t matter which one you use,i say,try this one,the most easy one to use: live cd ubuntu.
    download him,burn it and boot your pc with it.
    use only the options to copy.
    when you are finhised shutdown take out the cd when it says so and nothing happend,only thing is,you have a copy of all the things you like to save somewhere else.
    and if you like to try that cd to install on that bad drive,try it,you be surprised what linux still can do or work on:-)

    so,download a live cd from somekind off linux version,burn it and reboot you pc with it.
    as long as you don’t delete things,nothing bad will happen.

    have fun getting your data back.

  2. As Chris mentions, the absolute second you ‘discover’ that the issue is hardware related, especially if the drive had been previously acting up and giving signs of eminent failure, do not, and I repeat, do NOT attempt to recover yourself using ANY software or techniques in your arsenal. It’s just not worth it. I learned that the hard way. I’m a typical guy with typical guy attitude. i.e. I do my own repairs. No one touches my stuff.

    Well that attitude cost me dearly, because although I ended up getting the drive to eventually access and cough up all the data, all my attempts at getting to that stage ultimately resulted in useless data that even a savy recovery technician couldn’t do anything with.

    So don’t say you haven’t been warned.


  3. I like to keep a directory list on my externals. So i know a list of every dvd i had on my drive or every ebook or every learning program. In the event i can’t recover the data i can just go though the list, and take the time i need to in order to reacquire the files.

  4. This site is good for getting data recovered at a fraction of the cost of what other companies charge.

  5. If the hard drive has physical / mechanical hard drive failure, you hear it scratching and has difficulties booting up and the computer says that no hard drive is detected. You can kiss the drive good bye unless you have about $800 or more to spend on data recovery service.

    Or if the operating system blue screens stating that certain file(s) are missing then you have a chance to recover files using programs like Spinrite or Ontrack EasyRecovery program using an external USB device and slave the drive off the computer running the recovery program. Or booting the computer up using an operating system cd and issuing the the chkdsk command to recover and check the hard drive.

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