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Hard Drive Recovery: The Initial Recovery Procedures

Aug 17, 2007
With the advances of computer technology, hard disk failure is still a pulsating reality. And when hard drive failure occurs, hard drive recovery is not far behind. A hard drive is a collection of spinning aluminum discs which spin at 120 times per second. The discs surfaces are quickly spinning magnets. Hard drive is divided into sectors. Each sector, considered as the smallest physical storage on a disc, is 512 bytes in size. For files more than one sector, the file system has to allocate multiple files.

Small interferences to the spinning platter while in usage can damage the disc in one area. When some areas fail, the hard drive is relatively useless. This is where hard disk recovery comes in.

Hard drive recovery may be difficult. Oftentimes, it is an expensive and lengthy process. But recovery is not impossible. Fortunately, there are some procedures one can do before engaging a hard drive retrieval service.

If your computer makes ill-sounding noises then back up data as quickly as possible then purchase and install a new hard disk to facilitate hard drive recovery. More often than not, the cause of hard disk failure is corrupt Master Boot Record 'MBR', whose main function is to tell the computer how big the disk is. Corrupt MBR results in non-booting drive. Windows has easy to use tools that can address this problem. For DOS/3.1/95/98/ME, one can use SCANDISK. NT/XP systems use CHKDSK. Hard disk error may also be apparent in the initial POST or BIOS startup screen. The following factors could cause the problem: check the CMOS battery, reconnect IDE/SATA cables and Power cable, change IDE channel, swap the IDE Cable and check jumpers.

The following solutions to hard disk recovery are also suggested as a last option if you dont want to resort to expensive recovery service. These suggestions may sound a bit outdated but they work just the same.

1. Remove the hard disk cage and tap with the knuckle the outside casing. The shock may free any stuck mechanisms.
2. Place the hard disk upside down in the drive cage. The change in head geometry can occasionally solve the problem.
3. Putting the disk in a waterproof bag then put in the freezer overnight and back to the pc. This method might work and allow you to quickly transfer the data before it dies again. The theory behind is that the freezing could expand/contract metal components thereby freeing mechanisms.

If the data you lost is very important and cannot be retrieved using the above-mentioned methods then it is best to use hard drive recovery software or a recovery service before the problem gets any worse.
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