Many people use an external hard drive to transport files, to have more storage capacity, or to back up important data. However, this device can get damaged and lose what was stored on it… And anyone who has experienced this knows that it can be a big headache!
When this happens, you need to activate external hard drive recovery. This process may be able to recover all the data on the disk in its entirety. But it can also happen that some data gets lost or even the disk becomes unusable, especially when the procedures are done in an amateurish way.
If you are going through this now or want to better understand how it works, we will explain everything about external hard drive data recovery. Bot is an expert on the subject and will help you understand everything!
What is External Hard Drive Data Recovery?
External hard drive data recovery is the process of recovering the files and documents that were stored on a portable hard drive, called an external hard drive.
This process is adopted when the external hard drive suffers damage, which can be caused by a sudden impact or an electronic breakdown, for example. In such cases some or all of the data may be lost.
Whether it is personal or business data, data loss can cause great harm. Imagine that many people use an external hard drive to store files as backup or extension storage.
There are photos of birthdays, trips, and college work, for example, or customer data, spreadsheets, and presentations. Losing this information can be very painful and can even lead to financial losses for companies.
When this happens, it is necessary to trigger data recovery from the external hard drive – and for this service you will need to hire a specialized company like Bot. It is very important to trust your data to companies with trained professionals, adequate equipment, and experience in the area.
What is an external hard drive and how does it work?
An external hard drive is a data storage device, which works just like the hard drives inside computers and notebooks.
HD stands for Hard Disk. This name refers to the composition of the device, which is formed by one or more firm, smooth, uniform discs, usually made of aluminum, that rotate at very high speed.
Disks are where the data is stored. As with internal hard drives, there is a reading head, supported by a moving arm, that reads the files stored on the disk as it rotates and carries the information to the device.
There is also an electronic board that controls this whole process and drives the electromagnetic system that controls the reading and writing component: the heads. This is what allows the user to access the files that are on a hard disk.
The external hard drive is usually placed inside a case that protects it from impact, water or dirt. You can buy it like this, in many different models and brands. Prices vary according to the capacity, speed, connection type, and robustness of the device.
But it is also possible, with professional help, to remove an internal hard drive and put it in a case to use as an external hard drive. This can happen, for example, when replacing an internal hard drive with an SSD, which usually brings more speed to the device.
External hard drives can be classified as either portable or desktop. Laptops are smaller and do not need to be plugged in. The desktop ones, on the other hand, are larger, come with a power supply, are heavier, and can reach up to 18 TB of storage.
Difference between External Hard Drive, Internal Hard Drive, USB Stick and SD Card
The big difference is that the external hard drive is connected to the device via a connector port, while the internal hard drive is directly connected to the motherboard.
Most of today’s external hard drives have a USB 3.0 connection, which guarantees good data transfer speeds. But they can also have USB 3.2, USB-C, eSATA, or Thunderbolt connections, which can be even faster. Some desktop hard drives even have Wi-Fi signal, which allows you to send and receive data wirelessly between multiple devices.
This feature of the external hard drive ensures its portability. Large amounts of data can be stored in a self-contained device that is easy to transport.
But you may be wondering, then, what is the difference between external hard drives, USB sticks and SD cards. After all, they are all portable storage devices.
USB sticks and memory cards use flash memory, which is different from the HD disk system. This type of memory generally has slower data read and write speeds, and less storage capacity than HDDs.
What is an external hard drive for?
The external hard drive can be used for different reasons, for both personal and business data. These are the main purposes:
- Transporting files in a small, secure device;
- Increase the storage capacity of your computer or notebook;
- Back up important files off the main computer.
A person can use an external hard drive to store his or her movies and music, for example, without taking up the memory of the PC or notebook. In companies, the external hard drive can serve professionals who travel a lot and need to access their files from anywhere.
How does external hard drive data loss happen?
The external hard drive is a powerful device for data storage and can help anyone who needs portability. However, this feature is precisely one of the main causes of data loss on external hard drives.
After all, portability subjects the device to sudden moves and drops. Since the operation of the hard disk is essentially mechanical, any impact can damage its internal components. Dropping the hard drive on the floor, for example, can damage the read head and prevent access to the data that was stored there.
Other accidents can also occur, such as spilling some liquid on the device. This can damage or even burn out the electronic board, which results in data loss from the external hard disk.
The electronic board can also fall victim to misuse of the external hard drive. Removing a USB device suddenly can delete or corrupt files, especially if they are in use on the computer.
Data loss from an external hard drive can also happen due to the simple act of permanently deleting the files. You may regret deleting a file, format the hard drive accidentally, or have improper access to the device. If you don’t have a backup of the data, it is lost.
Another common problem is virus and malware attacks when the external hard drive is connected to infected devices. They can corrupt files, slow down the system, and even encrypt all data on the hard drive.
How to recover data on external hard drive?
Recovering data from external hard drives requires care. Many people turn to data recovery software, either free or paid, that is available for download from the Internet.
They can help in simpler cases, but there are more serious situations that require more attention. Also, these programs are complex and require experience – if used amateurishly, they can ruin the chances of recovering the data on the external hard drive.
Below we will show you how to recover files from your external hard drive in major data loss situations:
Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive
It is very common to accidentally delete files from an external hard drive or to regret it after deleting.
In general, external hard drives have a Recycle Bin that you can access to restore the files. However, many people do not know this, because the Recycle Bin folder is usually hidden. Then simply enable access to hidden folders in the system control panel.
If you delete the files directly from the Recycle Bin of the external hard disk (or if, by chance, you can’t find them in the Recycle Bin), it is important to unplug the device. To ensure greater security and chances of recovering the deleted files, do not save new files on the external hard drive, as they may overwrite the deleted data and make recovery impossible.
Formatted external hard drive recovery
Formatting the external hard disk also deletes the files permanently, in the intention of cleaning the disk or repairing virus attacks, for example. The difference is that formatting an external hard disk erases all files at once, while deletion depends on the selection of files by the user.
However, by the same token, there are great chances of recovering the data from the formatted external hard drive – and only a specialized company (such as Bot) can offer more security and the possibility of recovering all the data.
Damaged external hard drive recovery
An external hard drive can be damaged by dropping, dirt, excessive heat, or weather, for example. In this cases, the external hard drive suffers physical damage, which affects the disk, components, and the entire operation of the device.
This damage is more serious than deleting files or formatting the hard drive. It is usually necessary to open the external hard drive and replace the damaged components. This must be done in a laboratory with a Clean Room that prevents the entrance of any particles, and with specialized equipment and professionals that guarantee the safety of the procedure.
So don’t do that at home. Count on Bot to recover damaged external hard drives.
Corrupted external hard drive recovery
An external hard drive can have corrupted files due to misuse of the device (sudden disconnection) or failure of previous data recovery processes, for example.
These situations can burn out the controller board and damage electronic components, which prevents the external hard drive from functioning.
The solution for a burnt out board is to replace it with an identical board and rewrite the firmware to be able to access the files stored on the disk again. However, it is not a simple process.
Again, you need to do this procedure in a very professional laboratory, with all due care and the proper equipment. So, seek professional help if you need corrupted external hard drive recovery, okay?
Recover Corrupt Folder from External Hard Drive
The external hard disk or just a folder on it can be corrupted for different reasons: virus attacks, power outages, operating system bugs or hardware failures, for example.
When one of these problems corrupts the external hard drive, the device tends to slow down, corrupt folders, or even crash during use. Often, the system identifies that there is a failure and issues a notification that the unit is not available for access.
To make sure that the external hard drive is corrupted, you can run the Windows diagnostic tool. To do this, right-click on the disk drive > Properties > Tools > Error Checking. If the problem is not serious, this same tool can already fix the corrupted folder on the external hard disk.
If this does not work, you can try using data recovery programs, which we present below. But be careful when using these programs, which, if not used correctly, can make data recovery impossible. Seek professional help to be more confident in your procedures.
Programs to format corrupted external hard drives
There are several programs for recovering corrupted external hard drives. To use them, you need to connect the external hard drive to your computer or notebook and run the software. Then the program scans your device for lost data, and you can select the folders and files you want to recover.
Below we will introduce some external hard drive data recovery programs that we recommend. It is important that you use only reliable software without putting your data at risk.
Still, even the most well-known and recommended software deserves care in its use. If you don’t know how to use it, you can risk losing important data. Moreover, they cannot always recover the totality of the data.
So if you want more security and chances of recovering your corrupted external hard drive, count on the help of a specialized company (like Bot).
- FreeUndelete: data recovery software for Windows. Available free for personal use.
- Recuva: program belonging to the CCleaner software family. It offers a free version with limitations and paid plans with more features starting at R$70/year.
- DiskDrill: available for Mac or Windows, offers recovery of up to 500MB of data for free and advanced features in paid plans, starting at $249/year.
- Recoverit: one of the most complete and reliable file recovery programs, available for Mac and Windows, in a free or paid version, starting at $249/year.
- EaseUS: offers complete solutions for backup, HD optimization, and data restoration. In the free version, it allows you to recover up to 2GB. The paid version costs from R$392/year.
After using one of these programs, you can save the files in a safe place, and then format the corrupted external hard drive to recover its use.
Formatting will clean the disk, including its flaws, to “start from scratch” again. But it is important to be careful in this procedure – if there is any data stored on the device, it will be lost. After that, you can go back to using the external hard drive as usual.
How much does external hard drive recovery cost?
The price of an external hard drive recovery is set according to the complexity of the problem. But the price does not depend on the amount of data to be recovered or the capacity of the device.
To present a budget, it is necessary to do a complete analysis. In this analysis, it is necessary to evaluate the entire electronic and mechanical structure of the external hard drive, check the possibilities of data recovery from the external hard drive, the details of the service execution, and only then present the diagnosis and budget.
Prices for a professional data recovery service vary widely, but to help you get a better idea of costs, we can say that external hard drive recovery services start at $700.
Do not hesitate to make an estimate to evaluate the cost-benefit of the service. At Bot, we offer free quotation and shipping from any location in Brazil. If you want to know how much it would cost to recover your external hard drive, fill out the form now and start the process with us.
6 Tips for Preventing External Hard Drive Data Loss
Better than resorting to external hard drive data recovery is preventing file loss. It is often possible to recover all data in its integrity, but there are unrecoverable cases. And you don’t want that to happen to your files, do you?
So here are a few tips to prevent data loss from your external hard drive. Check it out:
1. Back up your files to other locations
Backing up files is the main tip for not losing important data. The external hard drive may be unusable, but at least you have the data saved.
However, many people use external hard drives for this very purpose. And when they lose HD data, they lose everything…
Therefore it is important to keep the files that are on the external hard drive backed up in other locations. You can keep copies of the files on another external hard drive or use cloud storage services. In the second case, which is ideal, the data is protected from physical damage since it is stored on remote servers.
2. Be careful when moving the external hard drive
As we have seen, one of the main reasons for data loss on external hard drives is mechanical damage. They often happen in accidents at home, when transporting the HD from one place to another. Any impact can damage the components of the external hard disk.
So be careful when moving the external hard drive. In situations where you are moving house or office, for example, make sure you wrap the device in some soft material that protects it. Also, when connecting to your laptop or computer, take care that the device sits flat on the table, without friction or risk of falling on the floor.
3. Store the external hard disk in a safe place
Try to store the external hard drive somewhere safe. If you drop the device in any corner of the house or office, it can easily get lost, fall on the floor, or take other risks.
You can use the office drawer or cupboard, for example, but it is interesting to choose places where people will not move about all the time. Those who are more careful can also store the external hard drive in a soft case for added protection.
4. Disconnect the external hard disk safely
Many people don’t give it much thought, but safely removing devices from your computer is essential.
While an external hard drive or USB stick is connected to the computer, the system understands that the data is accessible at any time. They cannot suddenly disappear, as they may be in the middle of reading or writing to the disk.
So, by removing an external hard drive suddenly, you can burn out the electronic board, corrupt files, and lose data.
So whenever you disconnect the external hard drive from your computer or notebook, make sure you click on the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the system tray. This ensures that the device shuts down so that you can remove the USB cable.
5. Password protect your external hard drive
Improper access to the external hard drive can also be a reason for data loss. This can happen by some malicious act, but also by accident – when your child decides to mess with the device, for example.
Then you can apply a password to limit access to the external hard disk. On some devices, Windows offers BitLocker encryption (not available in Windows 10 Home), which can be enabled on the external hard drive. You can also download programs for this.
6. Protect your external hard drive against viruses and malware
Viruses and malware can attack your external hard drive if it is connected to an infected computer or notebook.
So only connect your portable disk to reliable devices. On your own computer, you can install antivirus software and run it on the external hard disk folders when it is connected.
Did you like this article? Don’t forget! If you need help, you can count on bot.