Data loss. It’s something that has driven fear into the hearts of computer users ever since the first commercial models were released decades ago. Because there is nothing worse then storing personal, important and sensitive data on a computer hard drive only to find out one day that the hard drive bit the bullet and the precious data is lost. These days, it is certainly true that hard drives are far more reliable than they were 25 years ago, and the advent of cloud computing adds another level of security to data storage.
That said, hard drives are still one of the more fragile components on a computer and therefore are still prone to failure. The trick is to identify the type of failure in order to known how to properly go about recovering vital data. Here are some tips to decipher the four principal types of hard-drive failure on a PC computer.
If the hard disk spins when the computer boots up, but the system doesn’t recognize the hard drive, then it is likely an is likely a problem with firmware corruption. The firmware of a hard disk is the software code inside the actual hard drive, and if it becomes corrupted then the computer can’t read the disk. The good news is that data is still likely on the corrupted drive, it just can’t be retrieved by a simple data-recovery program. In the event of firmware corruption, the owner will need to take the machine to a reprogramming expert.
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This usually occurs due to a physical problem such as a power spike or surge that fries the board of the hard drive. When this occurs, the BIOS won’t even realize there is a hard drive in the machine. An electronic failure can also be identified by a lack of a spinning sound from the drive when the computer powers on. Like a firmware corruption, the best way to retrieve lost data with an electronic failure is through an expert data recovery company.
Like many other components of a computer, the hard drive is made up of small moving parts. Over time these parts can break or malfunction, leading to a mechanical failure of the drive. Oftentimes, a mechanical failure is identified by a clicking or grinding sound coming from the drive. The best way to handle this issue is to take the drive to a data-recovery company with a “clean room” in which to take apart the drive.
These are issues with the file systems of hard drives rather than any physical problems. The good news is that data can often be recovered from a logical error via a simple data-recovery program. Also, running Microsoft Scandisk is a great way to remedy logical errors.
By following these tips, even the least technically inclined should be able to diagnose the type of hard drive failure plaguing their system. And while no one likes lectures after the fact, it can’t be understated that PC users everywhere should be diligent about using secondary data backups to the cloud. This is a fool-proof way to save money on pricey data-retrieval experts and agencies.
Benson Garrod is a digital content strategist for SalvageData Recovery, a company offering data recovery services in Washington, DC, Boston, NY, and other major cities. He enjoys keeping up with the latest trends in data recovery, smart phone apps, new gadgets, and other fun tech stuff!