The majority of hard disk drive electronic faults can be remedied by component substitution and service area reprogramming. Once the hard drive is restored to an operational condition the stored data and files can then be recovered and transferred to a replacement hard drive.
Mechanical failure of the read/write heads or motor can often result in damage to the stored data, however in the majority of cases this is not extensive enough to prevent your data from being recovered. Mechanical component substitution in a clean air and ESD compliant environment will often render the hard disk drive operational and the data can then be extracted and repaired. In some cases the media damage is however extensive and can cause control and service area data damage beyond normal repair processes and data extraction is not possible without complex reprogramming and rebuilding processes.
Our advice is that in cases where your computer is exhbiting symptoms associated with a possible mechanical hard disk drive failure or your data structures and files are not showing up under your operating system then Do Not run utilities as they will often exacerbate problems by further stressing your hard drive.
Clicking Hard Disk Drive
In some cases you will hear a clicking, clunking, grinding or buzzing sound coming from the computer enclosure. The sound of a malfunctioning cooling fan can often be confused with a failing hard drive so to determine which you have carefully open the computer case enclosure and listen closely to the easily identifiable hard drive caddy area of your equipment. (lots of pictures on you tube). you will quickly pick-up which is the culprit.
Dead Desktop Hard Disk Drive
If after power on the hard drive is not exhibiting the above then place your hand gently and carefully on top of the hard disk drive. If you can feel a slight vibration then this usually indicates the hard drive motor is spinning. If you feel nothing then power is not getting through to the hard drive and this usually indicates your hard disk drive has an electronic or power supply problem. If you can feel a movement sensation from the drive internals then this indicates the read write head actuator is being engaged and the lack of a boot screen is usually indicative of the read write heads failing to function correctly.
Hard Disk Noisy but computer still boots
If you can still boot the computer but the drive is making a lot of noise, you could still may still be able to take an image of the drive or clone it to a new drive before it packs up completely. This however can be a risky option as the process will involve a lot of disk process time and work involving what is already a stressed device.
Datlabs advise that in these cases you do not try to start the computer and copy the files to an external drive because the operating system task processing will stress the mechanics of your failing hardware and may result in catastrophic failure and permenant damage to your stored data.
The best bet is to remove the hard drive and put it into a different system to retrieve the important data from the drive.
If you can retrieve the data, great – problem solved right? Now all you have to do is buy a new hard drive and reinstall your operating system and all of the applications. That is not a fun task. If you were able to retrieve the data, you may still be able to take an image or a clone of the drive and transfer the image to a new drive.
It is true that today’s hard drives are much more reliable than they were 20 years ago when the personal computers hit the market, however they are still gold medal winners for the most unreliable component in your computer.
If the physical hard drive crash is so bad that the computer will not boot or another system cannot see the hard drive, then your best bet is to contact Datlabs who will arrange a complete end to end data recovery service.
Logical Hard Disk Failure
A logical failure occurs when the hard drive is healthy but you cannot boot into the operating system. This can be caused by many different factors. A virus, system driver conflict, human error or a software malfunction can cause a logical hard drive crash. When this type of failure happens, imaging or cloning the computer will do no good. Do not try to reinstall Windows or run the useless operating system tools like CHKDSK because those tools can just make matters worse.
You will need a software data recovery solution to retrieve your data. Just because you cannot access your data on a crashed hard drive does not mean that it is not still present on the drive. What you do from here depends on the importance of the data that is stored on your computer.