Your laptop hard disk or desktop hard drive crashed and your technician told you it is going to cost you a bomb to recovery/retrieve all the lost data. Don’t be fooled by his sweat talk, and most important of all, don’t panic! When you are not calm, you’re likely to do something you will regret once the incident is over, just like in a car accident.
Just like you, my hard disk crashed when I was busy rushing for my midterm assignment, I stayed calm, took a deep breath and use a hard drive recovery software to retrieve my damaged hard drive. These software are free of charge, unlike paid hard drive recovery software, these software performed the same task minus the expensive price tag of hundreds of dollars. I’ve compiled a few possible scenarios with the respective solutions:
Related Article / Part 2 » Top 15 Free Data Recovery Software for Windows and Mac
01 – Recuva Data Disc Recovery (Freeware)
Recuva Freeware is a free hard drive recovery software made available by Piriform, it can efficiently scan and recover data from crashed hard disk data in FAT and NTFS format. Besides standard hard disk file recovery data, Recuva can also:
- Recover data lost by ‘shift – delete’ on FAT partitions
- Recover any data fragments from drive
- Search drive through many criterion
- Searching data directly on HDD, for example scanning free clusters in search for our file
02 – PC Inspector File Recovery (Freeware)
PC Inspector file recovery is a hard drive data recovery software, if DDR failed in recovering your hard drive data, do give PC Inspector a try before you pay for a shareware, some of the key features of this free hard drive crash data recovery tool:
- Works even if the boot sector or FAT has been erased
- The free hard disk recovery tool has a user friendly GUI – like the Windows Explorer structure
- Recovers files with the original date and timestamp
- It can find partitions automatically, even if the boot sector or FAT has been erased or damaged.
- It can recover files with the original time and date stamp.
- It can recover files even when the header entry is no longer available.
- It supports a variety of formats, including those created by compressed and archiving programs.
Just like DDR, PC INSPECTOR™ File Recovery is free. This means that the software does not cost you a single penny. If you are not tech savvy, and really want good technical support, in addition to reliable hard disk data recovery and a guarantee results, you should opt for commercial hard disk backup and recovery software.
03 – Active@ Boot Disk Data Recovery Boot Disk (DOS Boot Disk)
Active@ Boot Disk is a bootable LiveCD/DVD/USB Flash Disk that allows you to boot up any computer and fix most startup and PC configuration problems. Use Active@ Boot Disk to recover your lost data, manage HDD partitions, reset Windows passwords, make computer system backups [disk images], securely erase data and there is much more.
- Active@ Boot Disk (Win Edition) – http://www.ntfs.com/boot-disk-win.htm
- Active@ Boot Disk (DOS Edition) – http://www.ntfs.com/boot-disk-dos.htm
This software works when your hard drive partition is healthy, it is advisable to make a system backup of your disk image. Alternatively, you can try TESTDISK (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk), TestDisk is a DOS and Windows tool (also available for Linux) produced by CGsecurity.org that can be used to locate and recover lost partitions (FAT and NTFS) by repairing the partition table or replacing partition boot sectors with the backup copies.
04 – Unbootable Laptop Hard Disk Data Recovery (Free DOS Boot Disk)
FindNTFS (http://www.partitionsupport.com/utilities.htm) is effective free hard drive data recovery software to locate and recover NTFS files. It is available in several versions, including one that will run from a DOS boot, and thus can be used when the Windows OS is not bootable.
Alternatively, you can try this method if the above method does not work, for unbootable laptop or desktop, remove the hard disk and swap it with your external/portable hard drive. Plug the USB to a desktop or laptop, install the hard drive recovery software and perform the necessary task. Usually Windows will detect the hard disk and request that you perform a ‘check disk’ on the hard disk, proceed as advised and chances are, Windows will recover the damaged partition.
05 – Swap Important Hard Disk Component To Fix A Damaged Hard Drive
If your hard drive is damaged, for instant, it flew off the table and landed on your floor, causing damage to your precious oak timber floor and some minor damages to your hard drive components, don’t panic! The technician will quote you an inflated price for that tiny component, which doesn’t make any sense when the same new hard disk with the required component cost 1/10 of the price.
Solution? Get yourself a brand new hard drive, if you are tech savvy enough change the component yourself or pass the new hard drive to the technician, tell him the replacement part needed can be found in the new hard drive. In this video I basically give a quick guide on how to fix a fairly new hard disc that doesn’t spin up.