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How to Recover Data from Damaged or Dead Hard Drive

This article guides on how to recover data from hard drives without having prior technical expertise. We have covered the basics as well as some specialized methods. Just follow our instructions and easily retrieve your valuable files.

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Joy Taylor | Last Updated: Mar. 20, 2024
1731 words|5minute

Have you lost important files due to a hard drive failure? This article contains all the information about how to recover data from Hard Drive. Losing data from a hard drive can be upsetting, especially when the drive no longer responds or appears dead. The reasons for drive failure could be a software malfunction, accidental deletion, or a system crash.

However, there are data recovery software that allow users to easily recover their lost data files with less effort. Windows also provides tools and utilities that play an essential role in backing up and restoring. But before we discuss the details of these methods, let’s start with the basics.

Can I Retrieve Data from a Dead Hard Drive?

The answer to this question is Yes and also No! It depends.

A hard drive is considered “dead” if it’s non-responsive or doesn’t function as expected. The reason could be mechanical failure, electrical issues, or software corruption.

If the hard drive is detected by another computer, the issue might be logical. In this case, you can use data recovery software to get back your data. They are special software that finds and fixes errors and recovers lost files if the hard drive is responsive.

But, if the drive makes unusual noises like clicking & grinding, or gives a burning smell, the problem might be physical. A physically damaged hard drive is usually not responsive at all. In this situation, software attempts may be unsuccessful, and you may require help from professional data recovery services.

Here’s what you’ll see if there are logical issues with your hard drive.

Signs of Logical Issues (Software-Addressable)

If your hard drive is showing these signs of logical damage, let’s see how to recover data from hard drive.

How to Recover Data from Dead Hard Drive with Ease

Some special software is available to bring back important information from dead hard drives. These tools are designed to search into the drive’s memory and find any data that is not completely removed. Out of many data recovery tools, Glarysoft File Recovery is very popular.

Glarysoft File Recovery is a user-friendly tool designed to help you get back lost or deleted files. It can retrieve lost data from various storage devices, including internal and external hard drives.  Let’s have a look at the key features of Glarysoft and see how to recover data from hard drive with it stepwise.

Key features of Glarysoft File Recovery

Here are the steps to recover your data from a hard drive with the Glarysoft file recovery tool.

Step 1. First of all, make sure that the dead hard drive is not damaged physically. If the dead hard drive is external, connect it to a working computer. If it’s an internal hard drive, you may need to remove it from the non-functioning computer and connect it to a working one using a SATA or USB adapter.

Step 2. Download Glary File Recovery on your computer. Install Glary File Recovery by following the installation prompts.

Download and Install Glarysoft File Recovery

Download and Install Glarysoft File Recovery

Step 3. Launch the software. Its interface has three main areas. From the middle area select the dead hard disk with lost data. After selecting the drive, click the “Scan” button to start a full scan.

Click the Scan Button

Click the Scan Button

Step 4. As the scan results display, you can use the left panel to filter files and refine your search. You can also preview the desired file.

Scanning the Drive

Scanning the Drive

Step 5. After previewing the files, select the required files and click the “Recover” button. Now choose a save location for the recovered files.

Recovering the Files in the Desired Location

Recovering the Files in the Desired Location

It’s crucial to save the data to a different drive than the one you’re recovering from to prevent data overwriting.

Step 6. When the recovery is successful, you’ll get a notification like this. Click on the View Recovery button to see your recovered data.

Recovery successful

Recovery successful

Software recovery is the most trusted method for data retrieval. But, it is not the only option, alternative strategies do exist.

If the software struggles to recover the lost data, you can use the backup plan.

Recover Data from Dead Hard Drive from the Backup

Getting your data back from a backup is easy, but it only works if you’ve already set up a backup. Windows has “File history” to help you back up your stuff before any trouble starts. It keeps copies of your files at different times. So if you ever need to, you can go back and get a version that works.

Just remember that you have to set it up first to use it when you need it. Creating a backup in Windows is a simple process, here’s how to do it.

Creating Data Backup

Step 1. Connect a hard drive or USB drive to your computer. This is where your backup will be stored.

Step 2. Go to the Start menu, and open Settings. Click on “Update & Security,” then select “Backup” from the sidebar. Then click on “Add a drive” and select your external drive from the list.

Click on Add a Drive

Click on Add a Drive

Step 3. Using “More options” you can customize your backup. With your drive selected and preferences set, click “Back up now” to start the backup process.

Accessing and Restoring Data from Backup

Creating regular backups is crucial for data protection. If you have the backup drive with you, you can follow these simple steps to restore your lost data easily.

Step 1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder where the missing files were originally stored.

Step 2. Click on the “Home” tab at the top. Look for the “History” button in the ribbon menu under the Home tab.

Click History in the Home Tab

Click History in the Home Tab

Step 3. Clicking “History” will open File History. Select the desired version or files. Click the “Restore” button to restore the selected files.

Don’t worry, if you don’t have any data backups and attempts to restore data with software are also unsuccessful.

There is still a chance to recover accidentally lost files by checking the Recycle Bin.

Recover Data from Dead Hard Drive from Recycle Bin

In Windows, files are not immediately removed from your hard drive after being deleted. Instead, they’re moved to the Recycle Bin, where they stay until you decide to permanently delete them or restore them. Here are the steps to recover data from the recycle bin.

Step 1. Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking its icon on your desktop. Browse through the contents to see if your deleted files are there.

Step 2. If you find them, you can right-click on the file or files you want to retrieve and select “Restore” to move them back to their original location.

Restoring from Recycle Bin

Restoring from Recycle Bin

It’s a quick fix for some situations, but not a catch-all solution for all lost data scenarios. But you can also try to repair your damaged hard drive by repairing it.

How to Repair a Damaged or Dead Hard Drive

After recovering the data from the hard drive, you can try to repair your damaged hard drive. Windows provides a CheckDisk file system repair utility to repair logical errors on your drive. It can identify damaged sectors and mark them as unavailable. This action will prevent accidental data storage in these areas.

To run the CheckDisk utility follow the steps below.

Step 1. Click the Start menu and run Windows PowerShell as administrator.

Step 2. Type chkdsk D: /f /r  Replace D: with the letter of your drive. Press Enter.

Running CheckDisk

Running CheckDisk

Check if the damage is repaired after the process finishes. If the error still exists, you should scan for viruses using Windows security. Third-party diagnostic tools can also be used for assessing hard drive health and repairing it.


If your hard drive appears to be dead, don’t lose hope. We’ve shown you how to recover data from hard drives using many methods. If the problem is logical, software recovery methods can help. Using repair software like Glarysoft File Recovery is a good step. It can help you recover your lost data from hard drive with simple steps and in 3 minutes. So, if your hard drive seems gone, just free download Glarysoft File Recovery to try it first. You might be able to save your data and fix your drive too.

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Joy Taylor

Senior writer of the iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android-related issues.

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