Hard disks are delicate parts that can be damaged very easily if they are not properly looked after.
Some of the most serious problems they can present are burning, corruption or popping (which indicates imminent definitive failure).
But is it possible to repair a hard disk that has any of these defects? That’s what we’ll find out in this article.
What can cause hard disk problems?
Hard disks are mechanical devices and, like all mechanical devices, they can fail without warning.
Some hard disk failures are completely avoidable, but many others are governed only by luck and chance.
Check out some of them:
Unlike solid state disks (SSDs) or USB flash drives – which have no moving parts – all traditional hard disks have a very fragile part called the read/write head.
This head looks like a miniature gramophone needle, and its purpose is to transform the magnetic field of the platter into electric current, to read data from the disk and transform electric current into magnetic field and write data to the disk.
As there is only 3 nanometers of clearance between the head and the disk platter – which contains the actual data – even the slightest misalignment can (and usually does) cause the head to fall off catastrophically.
In addition, all traditional hard drives come with an air filter that equalizes atmospheric pressure and humidity between the enclosure and the outside environment.
It is essential that the filter prevents all dust particles from entering the enclosure, as even the smallest dust particle can cause the head to crash (if it runs over it).
Often, a head crash can also be caused by a sudden jolt, such as when a user throws the notebook instead of setting it down carefully.
All reputable hard drive manufacturers test their products thoroughly before selling them to consumers.
But even with modern testing methods, defective hard drives still sometimes slip through the cracks.
Most manufacturing defects reveal themselves during the first year of use, so it is advisable never to entrust critical data to a new hard disk.
Obviously, it’s best not to trust any hard disk at all, unless you keep up-to-date backups elsewhere.
Most hard drives are designed to operate at temperatures from 5°C to 50°C, and some newer hard drives can operate up to 60°C
Although overheating doesn’t usually result in a critical failure, it can lead to data corruption and read errors.
That’s why it’s essential to keep your PC or notebook well ventilated, especially during the summer months.
In extreme cases, the heat can even cause the electronic circuit board – which controls the entire hard disk – to fail, making it impossible to repair the hard disk, regardless of the recovery software.
Inside each hard disk are a multitude of sensitive electronic components.
A sudden power failure preceded by a short power surge can literally fry these components, rendering every hard disk useless.
A high-quality stabilizer is by far the best way to protect against disk failure.
When unintentional changes are made to the data during the data writing process, file corruption occurs.
File corruption can occur due to overheating, but it can also be caused intentionally by malware.
Is it possible to repair a hard disk?
It really depends on the extent of the damage – be it logical or physical. However, trying to repair a hard disk on your own is very dangerous.
After all, some software requires technical knowledge and familiarity with the process in order to work properly. And if they are executed incorrectly, they can cause irreversible damage.
In the case of physical damage, inexperience in handling the different parts of the desktop or notebook can also be fatal.
So if your hard drive is in need of repair, go to a specialized technical service rather than risk fixing it yourself.
How can I know if my hard disk needs repairing?
Before trying to repair your hard disk, you should first make sure that it is the hard disk itself that is causing the problem.
Check the fault
First, make sure that your drive really is broken. To do this, check the things that can cause your drive not to be recognized.
If the disk is making a constant, loud clicking noise, your drive is doomed.
Check the hardware connections
Sometimes it’s not the drive that has failed, but the physical connection of the cables that connect the drive to the computer’s motherboard.
So before resorting to a workaround, make sure that the data and power cables are firmly connected at both ends.
Do a visual check
Sometimes it’s not the drive that’s damaged, but the printed circuit board that controls its operation (on the underside of the disk).
If there’s a power surge or component failure on this board, your drive will stop working, but only because it doesn’t know what to do next.
So look for signs of damage – burns or scorch marks. If you see this, it’s the likely culprit – and often, this is a problem that can be fixed relatively easily.
Check that the disk is recognized
If the hard disk is detected, but the operating system requests reformatting while accessing the data, this is an indication that there are several defective areas.
Bad areas can also result in the PC crashing or slowing down.
Secondly, the hard disk may be displayed in the operating system but not accessible.
Finally, in the situation where the hard disk is the problem, the PC simply can’t start. In this case, see if the system prompts you to format the drive, but don’t do this if you want to recover your data.
What to do when my hard disk is corrupted?
The hard disk is corrupted, now what? You can use one of two alternatives:
- Use data recovery software;
- Seek help from a professional data recovery service.
Sometimes data recovery software can find fragmented parts of the file in other sectors of the hard disk and reconstruct it.
However, recovering data on your own always carries a significant risk. If you decide to use these tools, do so with a copy or image of the drive – not on the original drive.
To avoid further damage to the disk, this is advisable:
- Make a sector-level image of the drive containing the corrupted file(s);
- After recovering your corrupted data, you can try using file repair tools;
- Do not use the operating system’s volume repair tools (such as CHKDSK or FSCK) to repair the hard disk. Using these built-in tools will usually cause more damage and prevent the data from being recoverable.
Remember that the safest way out is to contact a professional data recovery service provider.
How to repair a burnt hard disk?
First of all, you should know what not to do with a burnt disk to avoid worsening the condition:
- Do not put the burnt hard disk in the fridge/freezer;
- Do not try to disassemble or open the hard disk yourself;
- Do not force your burnt hard drive to initialize;
- Avoid amateur tips and data recovery software. By resorting to this, you could end up with permanent data loss.
Now, check out the step-by-step process for recovering data from a burned hard disk:
- Connect your burnt hard disk to another working desktop;
- If your disk is external, connect it to another desktop using a USB port;
- If your hard disk is internal, remove it from the desktop, insert it into a hard disk and connect it to another desktop using the USB port;
- If you can access your data from the hard drive, copy it to any other storage device to minimize the risk of data loss;
- Then safely disconnect the burnt hard drive.
In extreme scenarios, contact a data recovery service company to recover your data safely. In these cases, only laboratory specialists can solve the problem.
How do I repair a hard disk that is crashing?
Unless you are an experienced technician with the appropriate knowledge, it is not recommended to try to repair your hard disk yourself. This usually leads to further damage and even permanent data loss.
That said, the hard disk hitting the needle may be a minor problem that can be solved with a few quick fixes.
One thing you can check is the power supply. The socket may be overloaded and unable to supply enough power.
You could also try replacing the power cable, as it may be faulty.
Apart from these simple power fixes, leave your hard disk in the hands of a professional. After all, a hard disk has very sensitive internal components and can easily be damaged by the use of improper tools or a dirty environment.
Remember: your data is at risk the moment the internal platter or disk head is exposed to dust and debris.
How to repair the input of an external disk
When the damage is to the external hard disk drive, the repair will involve technical knowledge of electronics. Therefore, unless you have this knowledge, you will need to call in a specialized professional service.
How much does it cost to repair a hard disk?
The amount charged for repairing a hard disk can vary greatly, depending on aspects such as:
- State of repair and handling of the device;
- Availability of parts and components;
- The extent of the damage;
- The complexity of the arrangement.
That’s why there’s no way to get an average price before your hard disk has been evaluated.
A hard disk is an electronic component which, like any other, is subject to failure and can suffer various types of damage – whether due to lack of proper care or manufacturing defects.
Regardless of the reasons why your hard disk is damaged, trying to repair it yourself is not the best course of action (as we’ve made clear throughout this text).
To avoid further damage to the drive and ensure safe data recovery, turn to a professional recovery service, like the one we offer here at Bot!
With over a decade of tradition in data recovery, we guarantee the recovery of your files and documents, thanks to our highly trained professionals, our efficient tools and the handling of the drive in a room with all particles controlled.
What’s more, we can carry out an assessment and send you a quote within 48 hours!
Not to mention that you don’t have to leave your home: we offer free shipping of your device from anywhere in Portugal.
Do you have any questions about the data recovery process? Contact us any time of day or night on our social networks!
Join our 95% satisfied customers: start your recovery with us now.