People who use external drives to store important data are usually worried about what they can do if the external drive dies. The main concern is whether it is possible to recover files from a dead external drive. We consulted our expert Mike McCory to give us a deeper insight into the possibility of data recovery.
According to McCory, it will depend on the kind of damage that the drive may have suffered. “Before you start panicking or even before you call the experts, it is advisable to carry out your own diagnosis.” He advises.
“Many times I get people coming to me very distressed thinking they have lost all their data but in the end, you discover the problem was not even with the external drive but their PC.” Mike points out.
Mike says if the drive is not making any strange noises, then you should investigate the ports on the computer try connecting it to the different ports and see if it will work. If it still does not work, try another computer.
If on the other hand the drive is making a strange sound that it does not usually make, then that is a reason to have the external drive looked at by the experts.
“If you are good at fixing things you can try to open up the external drive and check for a loose connection, alternatively you can find the internal drive within the drive and connect it directly to the PC” The expert suggests.
This may be a little too technical for an ordinary user trying to recover files from a dead external drive and that is why data recovery experts would be the best option.
So what happens at the data recovery service? We put this question to Mike McCroy and this is what he said.
“We usually investigate the reason for the death of the external drive, there are two causes usually,” he says. “You could have a physical problem related to physical damage or it could be logical, in connection with a viral attack or improper format of the drive.” He explains.
Once the investigation is done and the cause is determined, naturally they will attempt to fix it. McCroy, however, says that sometimes it is impossible to fix the dead external drive and so it comes down to trying to recover the information in a different way.
“What many data recovery experts will do is try to retrieve the internal drive and then connect it to a PC or even install it on a PC and that should make it possible to recover files from a dead external drive.” He says.
So once anyone is faced with a dead external drive, all hope is not lost, it is indeed possible to recover the files as long as you contact the data recovery service. However our expert points out that at times the damage to the drive may have deleted the data and that may make it impossible to recover the files like in the case of fire damage.
It's good advice when people are told to back up their data in advance. However, since it's human nature to ignore even the most critical things, the repercussions of a failed hard drive often pushes the subject to seek desperate measures at whatever cost.
Recovery of backed up data from damaged hard drive
Switching your system off and back on again
Switching the system off and on again is something that has quickly become a cliche. However, it's still sound advice because it normally solves minor glitches in the system. For this reason, switching off/on is the first bit of advice that people will be told to follow. But unfortunately, if one is dealing with a dying hard drive, it may not really survive the experience, and this may lead to a stickier situation. Even if a system has an optical disk drives, one may not have the option of booting from another disk.
But if the problem of the hard drive isn't too terminal, restarting may show Recovery HD (if one is using a Mac computer). Recovery HD is a special partition in the system that will not show up until it is most needed. Also, it has been shown that booting from this partition doesn't affect the main hard drive in any way, so there should be no worries of overwriting the data on the hard drive.
The use of data recovery software
When systems fail, victims always rush to get a data recovery software to salvage the lost data. And the worst thing about this software is that you'll only use it once when you have encountered a failing hard drive. In fact, the developers of these programs have you at their mercy. When you approach them because you have lost crucial data, they can charge you whatever price they want to. Good thing, however, is that this is a highly competitive industry, and for this reason, the pricing structure has somewhat evolved to achieve an equilibrium state. Most of them will cost $99, although some developers may charge more depending on the features they offer.
Another good news is that developers don't always want their consumers to spend the $99, then come back today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow with complains that the thing didn't work. For this reason, all of them will have a trial version that scans the problematic disk to highlight what can be saved. From there, you can decide if all those fragments of lost data is worth the investment.
SSDs vs HDDs
The nature of SSDs don't allow people to recover data from them no matter which tools are used. SSDs would be very very slow if they were subject to the task of saving data to a cell or block that has another data on it.
On the other hand, HDDs can over write any type of data repeatedly -- different from SSDs which must first erase fully to record new information.
Recovery of backed up data from damaged hard drive is possible in many cases. But if the problem is severe, one can seek the services of a professional to help them save the data.