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How to Perform a Hard Disk Crash Data Recovery

How to Perform a Hard Disk Crash Data Recovery

One minute, you’re happily typing away on your computer to finish up a last minute report, and the next your computer is emitting a loud clicking noise and then horribly freezes. You try rebooting to fix it and are met with one of a thousand variations of “disk error”. It’s the scenario that anyone who owns a computer dreads and prays will never happen to them. Let’s face it, your hard drive has just crashed.

After you’ve sat there for a few minutes contemplating just how many items you’ve just lost, including pictures, music, videos and documents, your next thought is “maybe there is some way to recover them”. Granted, in this situation, the odds are stacked against you, but there are a few tricks that can be attempted before either giving up in defeat or paying the big bucks to have a professional perform a hard disk crash data recovery.

Hard Disk Crash Data Recovery Option 1:
Mount the Hard Drive as a Secondary Drive

Just one failure in a crucial part of the hard drive can render an operating system unusable. That said, a good portion of the hard drive may still be accessible by mounting the hard drive as a secondary drive. This can be done in one of two ways:

Use a Live CD Distribution to Perform a Hard Disk Crash Data Recovery

There are a few distributions of linux which are meant to be run off of a CD or USB drive, with the most user friendly Live CD distribution being Knoppix. This means that you can download this distribution, burn it to a CD or install it on a USB drive, insert it into the computer with the crashed hard drive and then boot it up. The computer will boot from the CD or USB drive instead of the hard drive, and if the hard drive is not too damaged, will automatically add it as a secondary drive on your desktop. Once that happens, then the next step is to copy your most important files to another storage device, like a USB drive. One thing to note is that if you’re using a CD, then you can’t store anything to the CD, so be sure to use another hard drive or USB drive to store the files that you’re saving from the crashed drive.

Use a Hard Drive Adapter to Perform a Hard Disk Crash Data Recovery

The second option is to purchase a hard drive adapter or case which allows you to remove the hard drive from the computer, attach the adapter or insert into the case, and plug it in to another computer. This should automatically mount the crashed hard drive as a secondary drive, and allow you to remove the highest priority files from the crashed drive. Always try to save your highest priority files first, as it is very possible that the drive will completely die on you before the file recovery process is complete.

Hard Disk Crash Data Recovery Option 2:
Freeze the Hard Drive

If either one of the previous two options did not work, then the final option before finding a data recovery professional is to remove the hard drive from the computer, put it in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer. Allow it to sit in there for at least an hour, but preferably overnight, and allow it to chill all of the way through. Once frozen, remove the hard drive from the freezer and plastic bag and place it back inside the computer as quickly as possible. This technique should hopefully buy you a few minutes of time, so either attempt to mount the hard drive as a secondary drive using one of the previous two techniques, or boot it up directly. Save your most important files first to another hard drive or USB drive. Continue working quickly until either everything has been saved or the hard drive ceases to continue working.

Hard Disk Crash Data Recovery Option 3:
Seek Professional Assistance

If you’ve exhausted all of these options, and the data on the drive is worth it, then you may want to seek the help of a data recovery professional. Check your local listings for such a person, but be warned, the data recovery service is not cheap and will possibly run into the multi-hundreds of dollars.