How to Recover Data from a Dead Drive: Helpful Solutions

Data loss is something that comes with using computers. Newer drives are faster and more reliable than older models, but they’re not infallible. All hard drives will fail eventually. Even if your computer’s manufacturer offers a warranty on its drive, you might still find yourself scrambling to recover data from a dead drive. How can you prepare for such a worst-case scenario?

Follow these tips to decrease the likelihood of data loss and increase your chances of getting back important files when your hard drive fails.

Run a Disk Check

When you’re trying to recover data from a dead drive, it’s important to rule out any external factors that may be contributing to the issue. One of the first things you should do is run a disk check. In most cases, a disk check indicates that your drive is okay. However, there are a few things you should look out for, including errors in the volume structure, allocation table corruption, or an incorrect media speed.

If you see any of these issues, you may want to run a disk check that includes a surface test. A surface test will examine your hard drive’s physical surface for any irregularities, such as bad sectors. If you find any issues with your drive, it may be time to send it in for repair.

Use a Data Recovery Service

Depending on the severity of your data loss, you may want to consider using data recovery software to help you get your data back. These services use a number of different techniques to extract data from damaged drives, including a process called magnetic induction. For data that hasn’t been overwritten, this process is highly effective at getting your files back. However, there is a catch.

The data recovery services charge an upfront fee that may or may not be worth the cost, depending on the amount of data you’ve lost. Recovering a few important files may not be worth the expense of hiring a service. However, if your data loss is extensive, it’s definitely worth considering.

Recover with Electronic Shadowing

Electronic shadowing is a data recovery method wherein a technician copies the contents of your hard drive’s sectors to their own computer. If your drive fails, the technician can then send your files to you. Shadowing requires hardware that you may not have lying around the house. However, many computer repair shops offer this service for a small fee. Shadowing is similar to data recovery services, but it’s less expensive as the technician doesn’t charge an upfront fee.

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Reformat and Try Again

If you’ve tried everything on this list and you’re still not able to recover your data, your last option may be to reformat your hard drive and start again. Reformatting your drive will erase all data from it. Depending on how important that data is to you, this may be a good option for Data Protector.

If you do decide to reformat, it’s important to be careful. It’s possible to accidentally reformat the wrong drive. Before you start, make sure you’re logging in as an administrator. Additionally, you may want to consider keeping a backup of your administrator account. Just in case!


When it comes to recovering data from a dead drive, there are a few different ways to approach the situation. With the help of a great data protector like iTop Data Recovery, you can recover data from a dead drive and save yourself from having to start from scratch.


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