Hard Drive Recovery: Recovering a Corrupted / Damaged Hard Drive

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HD recovery is one of the most popular services in the digital age. After all, computers and laptops store important data from our lives, such as family photos, college papers, company spreadsheets, or customer files.

Only the storage of data by the devices can have problems, often caused by human actions, but also by the wear and tear of time and other various reasons. And anyone who has ever lost files like these knows what a headache it is…

Fortunately, most cases of data loss have a solution. There are ways to recover files that you thought you would never see again, especially with the work of companies and professionals who specialize in the subject.

Now let’s explain everything about Hard drive recovery. We are a multinational leader in data recovery, and we will help you understand how this process works and how to safely recover files.

hd recovery

What is Hard Drive Recovery?

HD data recovery is the process of recovering and treating files from the hard disk of a computer or notebook, when they are no longer accessible to the user in the conventional way. This process is also called data recovery.

Hard drives store the most diverse files, such as documents, spreadsheets, photos, and programs, that users want to keep for access at other times. They are essential for the interaction between people and computers.

You can access this stored data normally, either from the computer itself or from an external hard drive. The problem is when some situation happens that prevents this access, such as physical damage to the computer or permanent deletion of files.

In these cases, intervention is required to access the files – and this is where the process of HD recovery comes in. The goal is to recover all data in its integrity, as is often the case with Bot customers.

What is a hard drive and how does it work?

HD is the hardware on which digital data and files are stored. It is a non-volatile memory. So, it is not lost when the computer is turned off, unlike RAM, which stores files only while it is turned on.

There are internal hard drives, which are connected to the motherboard of the computer or notebook, or external hard drives, which are connected to the device via USB.

HD means Hard Disk. It gets its name because it is composed of one or more firm, smooth, uniform disks, usually made of aluminum or glass and covered by a magnetic material.

These characteristics guarantee quality and stability to the hardware, which are necessary for the drive to run at very high speeds.

The disk is where the data is stored, on tracks and sectors that act as storage “drawers. As the disk rotates around its central axis, the reading head, supported by a moving arm, is responsible for reading the stored data.

The reading head is very close to the disk, but not touching it, so that the arm can move along its entire length without damaging it. The faster the disk rotates, the faster the read head reaches the data and sends it to the computer.

The entire operation of the hard disk (rotating the disk, moving the arm, reading, writing, sending and receiving data) depends on an electromagnetic system, which is coordinated by the controller board and its electronic circuits.

How does HD data loss happen?

There are numerous causes for data loss from a hard drive, from simple file deletion to electrical or mechanical problems. Depending on the damage caused, the hard drive may need to undergo a complete mechanical rebuild, or only some data or sectors may be affected.

These are some of the main reasons why HD data can be lost:

  • Impacts;
  • Water or fire damage;
  • Wear and tear of time;
  • Excessive heat;
  • Power outages or power surges;
  • HD formatting;
  • Permanent deletion of files;
  • Incorrect computer shutdown:
  • Virus and malware attacks.

One of the main reasons for HD data loss is mechanical damage. HDDs contain sensitive components and a precise system, which can be affected by any impact.

When a device is dropped on the floor or exposed to dust or mold, for example, the parts can be damaged. This is especially common with notebooks and external hard drives, which are more mobile than a desktop.

Electrical problems are also quite common. Power outages, power spikes, or turning the computer off and on frequently, for example, can lead to an accidental burning of hard disk components and cause data loss.

And who has never accidentally deleted a file and can no longer find it? A lot of data is lost this way. If you delete files permanently from the Recycle Bin and don’t have a backup of them, you will need some help to recover them.

In addition, HD data loss can also be a software problem. Virus attacks, for example, can slow down your computer, crash your system, encrypt and delete files from your device. Then you have to resort to HD recovery to get them back.

How to recover data on HD?

The process of HD data recovery is the solution to these situations. In many cases it is possible to recover all data.

When people realize they have lost data from their hard drive, they turn to data recovery software. In some situations, they can solve your problem. Below, you will see some programs that we indicate.

However, this software is complex, presents superficial results, and in the vast majority of situations requires a lot of experience from the user. Any erroneous manipulation can wipe out all chances of recovery.

And it is worth remembering that we are talking about important files, which can cause great damage if they are lost. Furthermore, there are situations, especially in the case of physical damage, that even the best software cannot handle.

Therefore, in general we recommend that you seek professional help in hard disk recovery, especially in the more complex cases of more sensitive data loss or severe damage to the disk. A specialized company like Bot has the professionals, equipment, and experience necessary to recover a hard drive in its entirety.

Now, let’s look specifically at how to solve the main hard drive data loss situations.

How to recover corrupted HD?

Corrupted hard drives are those that make the data inaccessible for some reason, such as:

  • Physical damage to the hard disk;
  • Virus and malware attacks;
  • Excessive heat or humidity;
  • Power outages or power surges;
  • Errors in the process of reading/writing data.

You can identify a corrupted hard drive when you try to start your computer or notebook and the system issues an alert saying that the location is not available. In many cases, the hard drive makes noise, slows down, crashes, and you can no longer access the data.

When you notice any problems, back up the files you can access right away and don’t save anything else to disk. Then start the HD recovery process with Bot.

Corrupted HD Recovery

Recovering a corrupted hard disk, a corrupted partition or corrupted files varies depending on the diagnosis. Depending on what caused the problem, different measures need to be taken.

In general, corrupted files are recoverable, because they are still stored on the disk – you just can’t access them. Then it is possible to use tools that can recover access to the files in the HD index.

You can try to recover the corrupted hard drive with the Windows Error Checking tool. Right click on the disk drive > Properties > Tools > Error Checking. Then the system will scan the unit for faults and correct them.

If the problem is not serious, this check can already fix the failure and provide access to the files again.

Another tool available is the Windows Command Prompt, which allows you to use the ChkDsk command to check the disk. To do this, type in the black screen the command “chkdsk /r /f LetterDiskDrive:” and press Enter. Use without the quotes and replace with the drive letter of the hard drive you use (for example: chkdsk /r /f d:).

The /r parameter is responsible for locating the corrupted sectors, while /f makes the corrections. Then the system will check and fix the drive’s file system.

Another solution is to try using a hard drive data recovery tool. Programs such as Recuva, EaseUS and Recoverit, which we will introduce later, have this function to recover corrupted HD.

But any tool or command must be used with care, or you may put the data at risk. The safest and most ideal thing to do is to look for a company that will make the correct diagnosis and guarantee greater safety and efficiency in HD recovery.

How to recover damaged HD?

Damaged hard drives are those that have suffered some kind of physical damage. Often they make noises that indicate some kind of problem, or the system itself does not recognize the files and issues a failure alert.

When the hard drive breaks, falls to the ground, burns out, accumulates oxidation, or when the user spills liquid on the device, for example, the components can be affected. This can also happen with the action of time, which causes parts to wear out.

Physical damage from damaged hard drives is usually the most severe. They can affect the disk and make it impossible to access certain parts of it. They can also damage the read head, which, if it continues to be used, can scratch the entire surface of the internal disks. Small particles can also get loose inside the hard drive and damage other parts.

Damaged Hard Drive Recovery

In the case of damaged hard drives, software will probably not be able to recover the data.

The way out is to open the disk and replace the damaged parts with identical ones, such as the controller board or the read head. But this must be done in a laboratory with a Clean Room, and with specialized equipment and professionals.

Look for an experienced and reputable HD recovery company and explain what may have caused the damage to the device. This will make it easier to diagnose and define the most appropriate procedures to recover the files.

Often, in addition to replacing parts, it is necessary to use professional data recovery equipment for damaged hard drives to regain access to the data on the hard drive, and this can only be done by companies like Bot, along with the other HD recovery procedures.

When formatting a hard disk, the device deletes references to the files to free up space, but they usually remain on the disk as long as that area is not occupied by other data.

This also happens when you permanently delete files from disk. The difference is that formatting deletes all data, while deletion depends on the user’s selection of files.

You can format the hard disk when you want to wipe the hard disk or a partition, when reinstalling the operating system or when repairing virus attacks, for example. The problem is when this happens by mistake or accident, with files that are not backed up. In this case, you  should use the formatted hard disk recovery.

Formatted HD Recovery

You can try to recover a formatted hard drive using a data recovery program, such as Disk Drill, Recuva and EaseUS. Select the disk drive or partition you have formatted and have the software do the recovery.

However, these programs often provide superficial results, require payment, and do not guarantee 100% recovery of the formatted hard drive. Therefore, if the goal is to recover as much data as possible, the ideal is to look for a specialized company like Bot, because a professional job has more security, better results, and will guarantee the execution of all possible attempts.

How to recover deleted files from HD?

This is one of the most common situations. Usually files deleted from a device go into a Recycle Bin, from where you can easily recover them. However, if data is permanently deleted, data recovery must be triggered.

The deleted files become inaccessible to the user, because references to them are removed. As long as that space that was freed up by the deletion of the files is not overwritten, the files usually remain on the disk in fragments and can be recovered.

Recovering Deleted Files from Hard Disk

After deleting files on your hard disk, do not save new data or install any programs, as they may overwrite what was deleted and make recovery impossible.

You can use data recovery programs to recover deleted files from your hard drive. This type of software is often effective in simple cases of data loss, but only use reliable software, and only if you are sure that you can follow the recommended procedures. Incorrect use can destroy all data permanently.

If the data is really important, be sure to seek professional help. A specialized company like Bot has the qualified professionals and knows how to adopt the correct procedures to recover your deleted data with greater security and successful recovery.

How to recover a burnt hard drive?

HDs are electronic devices. Just like your refrigerator or fan, they can also burn out when there is a power failure, a power surge, lightning, other instabilities in the power grid, or when you turn the appliance on and off too frequently.

These situations can burn out the HD’s logic board, which contains the component’s electronic circuitry. In this case, a new board, identical to the original, is needed to replace the burnt parts and a job of reprogramming the board’s firmware. Only then will it be possible to access to recover data from the burnt hard drive.

Burnt Hard Drive Recovery

To do a burnt hard drive recovery, you need to find a hard drive model exactly like the damaged device, with the same firmware version, storage capacity and other details. This makes it possible to replace the components safely.

The procedure for recovering a burned hard drive requires great care and professional equipment. So don’t try to do this at home, because the chances are high that you don’t have the necessary electronic equipment or that you adopt complex procedures incorrectly and leave the device in worse condition or even destroyed permanently.

Only a company like Bot can verify where the damage is and recover the burnt hard drive. In Clean Room environments, and with qualified professionals, it is possible to change the controller board and follow the correct procedures.

How to Recover External Hard Drive?

The external hard drive is for storing files outside the computer. It can be used to expand your storage capacity or transport the data easily, for example.

However, this mobility of the device is a sensitive factor for data loss, since it can more easily lead to physical damage. The device can be dropped or moved abruptly, or stored in inappropriate places, which can cause damage to its internal components.

Other problems common to internal hard drives can also happen with external hard drives, such as virus attacks, a burnt board, electrical problems, etc. So you also need to trigger external hard drive data recovery.

External Hard Drive Recovery

The definition of external hard drive recovery procedures depends on a correct diagnosis. It could be that the hard drive has been formatted, burned, damaged or corrupted.

Then, when you identify the hard disk problem, you can take the same steps as you would with an internal hard disk.

But to avoid the risk of losing data from your external hard drive, you should rely on the services of a qualified company that can correctly identify the device’s problems and find solutions to recover the data.

How to recover HD with bad block?

Bad blocks are bad sectors on the hard disk. This means that some of the data, located in the affected sectors, is inaccessible.

Bad blocks are most often caused by physical damage, such as an impact that causes the read head to damage a part of the disk. When this happens, the computer can slow down, crash, and prevent access to the files that are there.

In today’s hard drives, manufacturers often provide a “reserved area” that is responsible for storing data when bad sectors appear. The HD itself replaces the damaged area with the reserved area.

In addition, there are programs that block bad sectors so that the read head no longer passes through that area and does not save files there.

Bad block recovery

Bad blocks are irreversible. It is not possible to physically recover that area. What you can do is just keep using the hard drive without accessing the bad sectors. However, in some cases this reduces its storage capacity.

But you can still recover the data that was in those sectors. Since bad blocks are caused by physical damage, recovering the files is more complex and usually requires professional intervention. So look for a company like Bot to recover HD with bad blocks.

How to recover HD in RAW format

HD in RAW mode means that the file system on the hard disk does not exist or cannot be read by Windows.

This can happen because of system errors, improper operations, virus attacks and other problems that corrupt the hard disk or a partition. It is usually more common to occur on external hard drives, which are more susceptible to damage.

RAW mode HD recovery

RAW format HD recovery requires you to convert the device’s file system to a Windows readable mode.

Initially you can try to repair the HD with the ChkDsk command. At the black screen of the Windows Command Prompt, type “chkdsk /r /f DiskDriveLetter:” and press Enter. Use without the quotes and replace with the drive letter of the hard drive you use (for example: chkdsk /r /f d:).

If this does not work, you need to format the disk to restart it with a readable file system, such as NTFS or FAT32. Before this, however, you must recover the files that were saved, since formatting destroys data.

In this case, a professional company needs to step in to recover the RAW format HD files and then format the disk safely without putting any files at risk.

Programs to recover damaged HD

There are several programs to recover damaged, corrupted, bad blocks or permanently deleted files. If you do a Google search, you can find several of them.

Using software to recover data on a damaged hard drive is very risky as it can destroy the data permanently. It is important to have technical knowledge to know the real reason why the hard drive is damaged, and in only a few situations will it be possible to recover data from a damaged hard drive with programs.

However, it is also important to note that these programs may not recover all files, especially in complex cases of data loss.

Now let’s take a look at some programs for recovering a damaged hard drive:

  • 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 $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 $392/year.

7 General HD Data Loss Prevention Tips

HD data loss can be a big problem. Bot can recover the vast majority of the cases it receives, but sometimes the loss is irreversible. Also, the process until you get the data back can be stressful.

So better than getting to that point is preventing data loss. To do this, there are several steps you can take on a daily basis. Now for the main tips:

1. Keep files backed up

Backing up your files is the number one tip for preventing data loss. This measure does not prevent failure or damage to the hard disk, but it ensures access to the data even if the disk is not recovered.

Ideally, you should have a copy of the files on an external hard drive and at the same time synchronize the data with a cloud service such as Dropbox or Google Drive. So if one of the storage locations has problems, you have extra copies.

2. Avoid impacts

Impacts to devices are a major cause of hard drive damage, especially with notebooks and external hard drives. Since hard disk operation is essentially mechanical, any shock can misalign and damage the parts.

Therefore, be careful when moving or handling your devices. Avoid walking around with the equipment turned on or leaving it in any corner of the house or office, susceptible to accidents. If you transport them, protect them with soft materials.

3. Take care of the device’s temperature

Excessive heat can impair the operation of the hard disk and even burn internal components, especially the electronic board, as well as other computer parts.

So, avoid working with your notebook under the sun and try to use rigid and stable bases to support your equipment. Using the notebook on your lap on a pillow, for example, can lead to overheating.

If the computer is overheating, also check if there are any defects in the coolers or the cooling system. The maximum temperature supported by the device varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but is usually specified in the manual.

4. Avoid dust and humidity

Although hard drives are well protected, dust and humidity can impair the functioning of the hard drive and the equipment as a whole.

Dirt can accumulate on the computer’s cabinet or between the components of the notebook. This can impair the air circulation or damage cooling parts and thus increase the heating of the device.

Humidity, in turn, can accelerate the wear of components and even rust parts. In addition, dust and mold can also burn out electronic circuitry and damage the hard drive.

So protect your devices from dirt and humidity. You can use protective covers on the cabinet or notebook while not in use. Also, never open the hard drive yourself – without the proper environment and equipment, it is inevitable that particles will get into the hard drive and interrupt its operation and increase the chances of failure in hard drive recovery.

5. Use an up-to-date antivirus

Install an antivirus on your computer, keep the program updated, and scan it constantly. This way you increase security against attacks that may damage your data.

Be careful what sites you access and what programs you download – use only safe sources. When it comes to external hard drives, it is also important to only connect the hard drive to reliable computers that are free of viruses.

6. Pay attention when connecting and disconnecting devices

Turning appliances on and off are times when the HD is most demanded. Therefore, avoid doing this too often so as not to overload your activity. Turn off your computer while you are not using it, but if you are not using it for a short time, prefer to hibernate it.

Also, when it’s time to shut down your computer or notebook, use the Windows Start/Shutdown function and let the system shut down completely. Letting the notebook battery run down, shutting down directly at the button, or forcing the shutdown while programs are in use increases the chances of corrupting files.

About external hard drives, it is also important to unplug the USB cable only after ejecting the device. If not, there may be failures to write the data, which corrupts the hard drive or some data.

7. Protect yourself against lightning strikes

Power outages are very common and can suddenly damage the hard disk. To avoid this, unplug the notebook, whenever possible, during storms and lightning.

On desktop computers, use nobreaks, which offer security and power stability. They have internal batteries that keep the computer on for a while after a power failure, so you can save files and shut down the device safely.

How much does it cost to recover HD data?

Pricing varies according to the complexity of the problem, which is not related to the capacity of the hard drive or the amount of data lost. In the diagnosis, HD recovery companies evaluate:

  • The electronic and mechanical structure of the hard disk;
  • The damage done to your structure;
  • The possibilities of data recovery;
  • The details of the execution of the service.


From this analysis, it is possible to present a budget. The values are very variable, but, to give you a better idea, we can say that they start at $700.

When requesting a quote, also check if the company does the analysis for free and if there are costs for shipping the hard drive. Bot, for example, offers free shipping from any address in Brazil.

To find out how much your hard drive data recovery would cost, fill out the quote form with Bot now.

Equipment used to recover HD data

To do HD recovery, it is often necessary to perform mechanical and electronic repairs on sensitive and even microscopic parts – an almost surgical operation. Therefore, a professional service requires specific equipment.

To give you an idea of what is needed, here is a list of some of the equipment we use at Bot that is indispensable in a HD data recovery lab:

  • Microscope for electronic repair;
  • Firmware editing equipment, which allows you to make the necessary changes to the devices to enable data recovery;
  • Professional cloning equipment, to ensure the best reading method and provide maximum data removal from the device.

In addition, it is important to have a clean and controlled environment to perform the service without any risk of impurities getting on the hard drives.

Bot works with the largest manufacturers of professional data recovery equipment. All the work is done in the Clean Room. A clean, safe environment certified to US Federal Standards 209.


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