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Recover Data after a Hard Drive Failure

Before a hard drive failure, your computer may give you a few signs that the hard drive is close to failing. You may see or hear things such as strange noises such as a clicking noise, freezing during start up, the computer won't start, and a "no operating system found" error. These types of errors should be taken seriously.

Recovering Data

You can choose to recover a hard drive yourself or search for a data recovery expert. The causes of a failing hard drive include old age, overheating, and dropping. Sectors of the hard drive could also be corrupted. In addition, a hard drive that acts erratically points to trouble ahead.

Follow the steps below to troubleshoot hard drive failure in a desktop:

1: Check to see that the IDE or SATA cable is properly connected: The IDE/SATA cable is the cable that connects the hard drive to the motherboard. If nothing is wrong with the connection, you can try to replace the cable.

2: Try using a boot disk: go to and create a boot disk. If your hard drive is readable, it may still be salvageable.

3: Check to see if you have bad sectors on your hard drive. Software like HDD regenerator will help you repair it. You have to download the demo and burn it to a bootable CD. If the demo finds any bad sectors, it is probably worth paying for the full version to recover the data and make the drive usable once more.

4: We strongly recommend you try the first three troubleshooting steps before this item. If youíve done so and the problem persists, go to and look for the diagnostic tool for your hard drive. All tools are free.

5: Still having problems? It is time to use data recovery software. There are many of these data recovery software packages available on the Internet.

6: If the hard drive still won't spin, carefully detach it from the computer. Handle it carefully. Don't open it or drop it. Place the hard drive in an airtight plastic bag and put it in a freezer for about 20 hours. Remove it after the time elapsed and wipe clean any condensation you find. If the hard drive works, backup the data immediately. The hard drive is most likely going to fail again after a short time.

7: It is possible that a part of the hard drive is stuck. You can try to loosen the stuck disk by repeatedly shaking it back and forward. Donít do this too hard though. If the hard drive spins again, make sure you back up all your data right away because it may not work for much longer.

8: If you've tried all the steps and nothing seems to work, then you may want to contact a data recovery expert.

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