How to fix hard disk errors and recover data from a corrupted disk

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A disk error can be a headache… All it takes is a mechanical problem in the disk’s operation or an electronic fault, for example, to put photos, files, documents and spreadsheets at risk.

That’s why finding ways to fix a disk error is essential if you don’t want to lose your device or the files it stores.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the errors that can affect the functioning of your disk and how you can fix the problems and recover your data.

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What are the types of hard disk errors?

First, let’s take a look at the main disk errors that can affect your device and put your data at risk. The problems can be mechanical or electronic. Check them out:

Physical or hardware bad block

A bad block is a defective sector on the disk that stops data being exchanged with the computer and is no longer reliable for storage. This defect can be physical or logical (as you will see below).

Physical or hardware bad blocks stop data from being accessed because there is a mechanical problem with the disk. The parts may have become unstable, the read head may have touched the disk or there may be dirt on the surface, for example. In these cases, the disk can’t read the data from the damaged area.

Often, the disk itself has a technology, called a reserved area, which enables the user to continue using the disk. When a bad block occurs, the disk programs itself to ignore the bad sector and triggers the reserved area to send the affected data there, so that the system can continue to access it.

Logical or software bad block

Logical or software bad blocks are also bad sectors on the disk that stop data from being read or written. The difference here is that this happens because there is some electronic problem in the disk’s operation.

It could be that a virus has damaged areas of the disk, that the user has disconnected the device improperly or that there has been a sudden power failure during an operation, which can cause damage to the disk’s logic board.

In these cases, the data on the damaged areas cannot be accessed either. But the reserved area can also be triggered by the disk itself to keep it working and to access the data that was in the bad sectors.

Magnetic disk read head problem

The data on the disk is read and written by a “read head”, which is supported by a movable arm and is very close to the disk, but not touching it. The disk, covered in a magnetic material, rotates at high speed while the read head accesses the stored data.

Therefore, any problem with this data reading mechanism can cause damage to the disk. If the disk suffers a fall or impact, for example, the read head could become misaligned or hit the disk, making it impossible to access the data. It is therefore important to take care when handling your external devices or disks.

Air filter clogged

Disks are protected from the outside environment to prevent dirt and moisture from affecting the components. However, the accumulation of dirt on the computer can indirectly affect the disk’s operation.

When the device is not cleaned properly, dust can accumulate in the cooling system and cause the computer to overheat. In these cases, the disk also heats up above the expected temperature limit, which can cause the electronic board to fail and even burn out components.

How do I fix the disk error with cmd?

The Windows Command Prompt (also known as cmd) is an operating system tool that you can use to try to repair errors on disk drives.

To open the Command Prompt, type “cmd” in the Windows search bar or press the “Win + R” keys and type “cmd”. It is on this black screen that you will type commands to check for errors and correct bad sectors. Next, we will see what this command is.

How to use ChkDsk and fix errors on your disk?

ChkDsk is the command you should use in Windows cmd. It is a tool for performing diagnostics and correcting problems with damaged disk sectors.

To use it, after opening the Windows Command Prompt, type on the black screen “chkdsk /r /f DiskDriveLetter:” and hit Enter. Use it without the quotation marks and replace it with the letter of the disk drive you are using (for example: chkdsk /r /f d:). The /r parameter is responsible for locating the bad sectors, while /f makes the corrections.

This command checks and corrects the drive’s file system. If Windows notifies you that it has made the corrections, it means that the bad sector has been recovered and you can use the disk again normally, with access to the data that was stored on it.

But be careful when executing these commands, okay? The wrong procedure can lead to unrecoverable problems. The ideal is to rely on a specialized company like Bot to fix problems on your disk in complete safety.

Logical bad blocks are more likely to be repaired with the ChkDsk command, while physical bad blocks usually require hardware intervention.

But never open your disk at home, okay? There is a great risk of dirt getting in and the device not being assembled correctly, which could make it impossible to recover the disk and the data for good.

Only specialized professionals with the right equipment should work on disks. That’s why we also recommend contacting a company like Bot to carry out this service safely and with the best chance of recovering the disk.

How do I fix an external disk error?

The external disk can experience the same problems as the internal disk. Both types of device work with the same mechanics.

However, the external disk is much more mobile. And it is precisely this particularity that makes the device more susceptible to falls, impacts, dirt and humidity. Therefore, the external disk is even more prone to bad blocks and other data reading problems.

But to fix external disk errors, you can also use the same resources as with the internal disk.

Simply plug the disk into the USB port on your computer or laptop and use the “chksdk” command in the Windows Command Prompt. The difference is that you must use the letter of the drive the disk is in. For example: “chkdsk /r /f e:” (without the quotes), if the disk drive is “e”.

How do I recover data from a corrupted disk?

A corrupted disk or one with corrupted sectors makes the data inaccessible to users. It doesn’t mean that they no longer exist – there’s just a hardware or software problem that stops access to the disk’s data index.

It is therefore possible to recover the data from the corrupted disk, as well as the full functioning of the device.

The first step to recovering data from the disk is to stop using it. If you keep trying to save files and documents to the disk, you may end up overwriting data that could be recovered.

Also, try saving the files (that you can still access) somewhere else, a trusted disk or in the cloud, for example. You will probably need to perform some procedures on the disk, so don’t risk losing even more data.

After that, you can try using the Windows Error Checker tool. In Windows File Explorer, right-click on the disk drive > Properties > Tools > Error Check. If the problems aren’t serious, this might solve them.

If it doesn’t, you can use the ChkDsk command in the Windows Command Prompt, which we explained earlier. This tool can perform a more thorough repair than Error Check.

Even so, if the disk error is more serious, these tools have little chance of success. Then you can still try using data recovery programs, which scan the disk even more thoroughly for faults and then fix them. Here are some reliable programs you can use.

What are the best programs to fix hard disk errors?

There are data recovery programs that you can use to save your disk and stored files. But try to use software that is reliable and recognized on the market. Here are a few:

These programs offer a free trial version, usually with limitations on the amount of data that can be recovered. So if you want to save a large volume of files, you probably need to purchase a paid version of the program.

It is important to note that any procedure with your disk needs to be carried out as safely as possible. Incorrect handling with unsuitable tools can make it impossible to recover data from the disk. Furthermore, these programs are often ineffective at repairing more serious disk errors.

That’s why the ideal solution is to hire the services of a company that specializes in data recovery. Here at Bot, for example, we work with the ideal equipment for handling storage devices.

Our professionals, who have years of experience in the market, have already solved the most complex cases of disk data loss. And most of the time, the device and data are fully recovered.

So if you are looking for the best solution for recovering data from a disk with errors, check out Bot’s services. As well as a free quote, you can also have your device shipped free of charge from any address in Portugal.

Now, fill in this form so we can assess your device and give you a quote!


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