How to recover a dead hard drive: 9 steps

Table of contents:

How to recover a dead hard drive: 9 steps
How to recover a dead hard drive: 9 steps

This article describes how to check and try to recover a "dead" (non-working) or close to such a state of the hard drive. Please note that the steps described here do not guarantee that the drive will recover. Most likely, it is better to take a dead disc to a workshop, but such repairs will not be cheap.


Part 1 of 2: Basic Steps

Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 1
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 1

Step 1. Stop working on the computer

If your hard drive is still spinning, but your computer's performance has dropped dramatically, it's best to turn it off right away. Do not turn on the computer until you have repaired (or replaced) the hard drive.

If your external hard drive isn't working, just unplug it from your computer

Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 2
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 2

Step 2. Connect the hard drive to a different connector or to another computer

If the hard drive works fine on another computer, the problem is with the cables or connectors, not the drive.

  • In the case of an external hard drive, simply disconnect it from your computer and plug it into another. Also try replacing the USB cable - it may be faulty.
  • With an internal hard drive, things are a little more complicated. To determine the status of the internal hard drive, you must first remove it from the computer case. Then buy a pocket, docking station, or a special cable (all sold in consumer electronics stores and online) to connect your external hard drive to another computer.
  • Unplug the computer from the electrical outlet and remove the battery (in the case of a laptop) before removing the internal hard drive.
  • Removing the internal hard drive from an Apple computer is very difficult. If you do decide to do this, proceed carefully.
  • If the hard drive works on another computer, your motherboard is faulty (but this is a rather rare case). In this case, take the computer to a repair shop.
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 3
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 3

Step 3. Remember the names and characteristics of the hard drive components

A hard drive has three main components; failure with any component will result in failure of the entire drive.

  • Printed circuit board.

    As a rule, it is located on the back panel of the hard disk and controls most of its functions, as well as converts information that is read from the disk. Most PCBs are green.

  • Discs or plates.

    Thin metal discs that store data. Drives generate most of the noise that is heard when a hard drive is operating. Unless you are a professional with access to the necessary equipment and dedicated space, you will not be able to swap out hard disk platters.

  • Magnetic head block.

    Designed for reading data from plates. The head unit cannot be repaired without the necessary skills and equipment.

Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 4
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 4

Step 4. Listen to the sounds that the hard drive makes

Please be aware that the sound of a particular malfunction depends on the hard drive model. Compare the sound of your disc with the sound of the corresponding model.

  • For example, if the hard drive makes a clicking sound, the head assembly is most likely damaged.
  • Unfortunately, most problems identified by sound can only be corrected in a workshop.
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 5
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 5

Step 5. Refrain from hasty actions

That is, do not freeze the hard drive or knock on it. Some users report the effectiveness of such methods, but they can lead to the disc not being restored in the workshop.

Even if the above methods have been successful, as a rule, it is very short-term. In the end, the hard drive will die anyway

Part 2 of 2: Contacting a repair shop

Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 6
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 6

Step 1. Remember that a professional should be involved in hard disk repair

Due to the very complex design of the hard drive, you will not be able to fix it and copy important data (only, of course, if you do not have the relevant experience). Therefore, it is best to take the hard drive to a repair shop.

  • If you try to repair a dead hard drive yourself, you will only complicate the task for a professional craftsman.
  • Even replacing a PCB is a delicate job that requires knowledge of how to solder the chips and pick the right components.
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 7
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 7

Step 2. Expect expensive repairs

Hard disk recovery is carried out by highly qualified personnel in a special (sterile) room using specialized equipment. Therefore, it can take tens of thousands of rubles to restore a hard drive.

Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 8
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 8

Step 3. Find a hard drive repair company that suits your needs

As a rule, you can find a good workshop in your hometown, but the following companies operate throughout Russia:

  • Hardmaster.

    The company repairs hard drives and solid-state drives in 60 cities of the Russian Federation.


    This company has 5 laboratories and 83 collection points in Russia and the CIS.

Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 9
Recover a Dead Hard Disk Step 9

Step 4. Select a company and contact it

Remember that every time someone opens and repairs a hard drive, the chances of it being restored are reduced. This is because an open hard drive is susceptible to dust, static electricity and other harsh environmental factors. To reduce the risk, contact only one company, and to make sure that the experts are professional, ask what tools they use for data recovery. Great if they use PC3K or DeepSpar.


There are several powerful data recovery software that you can use to back up the information you want from a dying or dead disk. But such programs are very expensive


  • Removing the internal hard drive will void your warranty.
  • If you try to fix any moving parts of the hard drive yourself, it will most likely result in data loss.

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