How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive

Discover how to recover data from a dead hard drive effortlessly. Explore 4DDiG Data Recovery, your trusted solution for rescuing valuable files from non-responsive drives.

5 mins read

Updated on 2024-05-16 16:33:45 to Hard Drive


The process of recovering, reviving, and transferring files from a hard disk that is technically dead, inoperable, or inaccessible is known as slow dead hard drive data recovery. It entails using manual and automated methodologies to recover a dead hard drive that has encountered software or hardware-related issues.

So, what is a dead hard drive and how to recover data from a damaged/dead hard drive? You’ll get answers in the following part of this post.

Part 1: What is a Dead Hard Drive?

Is your hard drive failing? Here are some quick ways to see if your hard drive has failed. In the best-case scenario, hard drives fail gradually, giving you enough time to make a backup of your data and replace them before they fail.

But how do you know if your hard disk is failing? It's a beneficial move you're here, then!

1. Frequent Freezes, Computer Slowing, and Blue Screen Of Death

This trifecta of a P.C. breakdown can have a million multiple causes, one of which is a failing hard drive. If these issues occur after reinstallation or in Windows Safe Mode, the root of this problem is almost definitely bad hardware, such as a failing hard drive.

You can use various diagnostic tools to rule out a hard drive problem, but you should start by looking at your system's S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) data. While Windows collects this information automatically in the backstory, it is incredibly inaccurate in forecasting hard drive failure, and you may encounter a critical malfunction before a S.M.A.R.T. warning appears.

2. Data corruption and the accumulation of bad sectors

Corrupted data can manifest itself in a variety of ways. If you see any given signs regularly, your hard drive is likely to fail steadily:

  • File or folder names that have been scrambled.
  • Error messages appear at random when opening, moving or saving files.
  • Files that do not open.
  • Data corruption in your files.
  • Files or folders that vanish.

Data corruption occurs during the creation or storing of information. A virus may be corrupting your files, but it could also be bad areas on your hard drive.

3. Strange Noises

You're in trouble if you hear strange noises coming from your hard drive. The click of death is caused by the head attempting to write data, failing, having returned to its home position, and reattempting over and over. Grinding or screeching noises imply that hardware components will fail, like bearing surfaces or the spindle motor.

What is the Difference between Physical and Logical Damage?

External hard drives can be damaged physically and logically, resulting in losing some or all of the data kept and stored on the device. When attempting to recover your lost files, these two types of damage necessitate different approaches. Physical damage is common on a dead external hard drive.

When data loss occurs due to logical damage to an external hard drive, native operating system features can often recover the data. When native methods fail, personal data recovery software can be used. The recovery software fixes the logical damage and restores access to the lost files. Your operating system must recognize the device to recover from logical disc damage.

Physical damage that results in data loss makes data recovery more difficult. Physically damaged drives are frequently inaccessible to your operating system, making it impossible to use the same recovery options as logically damaged drives. In these situations, you'll need to enlist the help of a professional data recovery service to recoup your files.

Part 3: How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive with Logical Damage?

The primary and most basic step is to have your operating system recognize the drive. After that, you can try recovering data from a logically damaged external drive.

Way 1. Try the Windows Recycle Bin or the Mac Trash

This is the very first step you should try. Go to the Recycle Bin in a Windows computer or Trash folder on a Mac, search and check whether your files are there. If so, right click the file and click Restore button.

restore from recycle bin

Way 2. Restore from Mac Time Machine

Time Machine is Mac’s built-in backup utility that allows users to backup and restore data on Mac. If you’ve backed up your files before the hard drive damaged/corrupted/dead, it will be easy to restore them from Time Machine backup file.

  • Click the Apple logo from the upper left corner, choose System Preferences. Select the Time Machine to open the app.
  • Locate the problematic file or folder and select Restore.

    tap on restore button

Way 3. Make Use of the Command Prompt

You can use the following steps to recover files from a dead hard drive using command prompt:

  • Launch command prompt and run as administrator.

    run as administrator
  • Type chkdsk *:/f command and press Enter. Replace * with the dead drive letter.
  • Press Y until the command line appears.
  • Enter the drive letter and press Enter.
  • Enter this command: drive letter: attrib –h –r –s /s /d *.*.

    chkdsk recover dead hard drive

Way 4. Use Data Recovery Software

You can also reply on professional data recovery software, and I recommend 4DDiG Data Recovery for this purpose. It is an all-in-one computer data recovery that aims to recover files from a dead hard drive.

Some of the Outstanding Features of 4DDiG include:

  • Data recovery from a laptop or PC/Mac, internal or external drive, USB flash disc, SD card, and so on.
  • Recover 1000 or more file types such as photos, videos, documents, and audio.
  • Recover files that have been lost due to accidental deletion, formatting, partition loss, corruption, a crashed system, a virus attack, and other causes.
  • Recover data from formatted, corrupted, damaged and dead hard drive.

Secure Download


Secure Download

  • Select a Location

    Download 4DDiG Windows Data Recovery for free and navigate to the location where you lost the data. Click on Start button.

    4ddit interface
  • Scan Data from Dead Hard Drive

    Now, the scan process starts. The scanning of your lost files will take some time, depending on the hard drive size. Wait until the scanning is finished.

    tree view
  • Preview and Recover Deleted Files

    The found data are categorized by folder or file types. Users can switch from the left side panel. Choose the folder to expand details within it. Now, you can filter and locate files that you need. Choose them and click the Recover button to save them to computer. Do remember to store the recovered files to a different hard drive.

    save recovered files from local drive

    Secure Download


    Secure Download

Pro-tips: How to Repair a Dead Hard Drive?

A few tips are given when a hard drive is crashed, damaged, or dead.

  • Examine the Enclosure and Cables:

    When an external hard drive is damaged, it can fail for the same reasons that an internal hard drive can fail. However, it is not always the drive that fails, but rather a connection within the casing! And in that case, reviving the drive is simple.

  • Examine All Cable Connections:

    It is not always the drive that fails, but rather the connection of cables that connect the drive to the computer's motherboard. You can only hope that this is your issue! So, before you hire anyone, double-check that the power and data cables are securely connected on both ends.

  • Hard drive making noises

    Listen to the sound the hard drive creates as you try to get it to work. Is it completely extinct? Is it still turning? What does it sound like exactly? Compare your sound to the Data Cent list of hard drive sounds. This will aid you in determining the type of damage.

  • Do Windows recognize your Hard Drive?

    You can occasionally hear your drive spinning, but it never appears. Or perhaps it's completely extinct. To determine the type of damage, proceed to check whether your computer recognizes the drive.

The Bottom Line

We discussed how to recover data from a dead hard drive in this guide. The "dead hard drive" problem can be upsetting and must be addressed. We expect this article to help you get through this danger and recover any lost files using 4DDiG data recovery software.

William Bollson (senior editor)

William Bollson, the editor-in-chief of 4DDiG, devotes to providing the best solutions for Windows and Mac related issues, including data recovery, repair, error fixes.

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