Experiencing a hard disk crash is always stressful, especially when it leads to losing valuable data. Fortunately, the stress associated with a hard drive crash doesn’t have to last long because multiple effective methods make it possible to recover data from a hard drive that has crashed. 

recover files from a crashed hard drive

One highly effective method for performing data recovery from a crashed hard drive is data recovery software like Disk Drill. With its help, you can easily retrieve permanently deleted, formatted, or even corrupted data from internal and external hard drives. 

Data Loss Scenarios: How They Happen and What You Can Do

Data loss from a crashed hard disk has several common causes that can be divided into two major categories: logical problems and physical damage. 

A hard disk can also crash due to logical problems involving the disk’s file system and/or data. These issues don’t involve physical harm to the disk itself but can still lead to significant data loss. In such cases, using hard disk data recovery software is an effective solution to retrieve lost or inaccessible data. 

Logical damage most commonly results from:

  • 🗂️ File System Corruption: This occurs when the system that manages how data is stored and retrieved becomes damaged. Such corruption can happen due to software crashes or improper shutdowns.
  • 🦠 Virus Attacks: Malicious software can corrupt, delete, hide, or modify your data. The good news is that some malware infections are fairly painless to recover from. 
  • ✂️ Partitioning Mistakes: Incorrectly partitioning a hard drive, whether during the installation of a new OS or while trying to create new volumes, can lead to the loss of partitions and the data stored in them.

Physical damage to the hard disk often results in irreversible data loss that necessitates consulting professional recovery services. For guidance on selecting a reliable service, visit the best data recovery services.

Physical damage typically occurs as a result of: 

  • 🥵 Device Overheating – Laptops and PCs are prone to overheating if you’re performing too many tasks at once, using heavy software or applications, or due to excessive usage, etc.
  • 🔌 Power Fluctuations – Sudden power surges or outages can cause severe damage to electrical devices. Be it an electrical storm or an unexpected power failure; these situations can lead to corrupt hard drives or even crashes.
  • 🔩 Improper handling – Physical damage to the hard drive from improper handling of the device or unforeseen accidents can cause fatal damage to hard drives.

Recover Data from a Corrupted or Crashed Hard Drive with Software

Failed hard drive recovery of a corrupted or crashed hard drive is possible whenever logical damage has occurred—you just need the right tool for the job. 

One highly capable and easy-to-use tool to retrieve data from a logically damaged hard drive is Disk Drill. Its intuitive user interface makes it accessible to users of all skill levels. At the same time, its powerful scanning engine can locate and recover lost files even in complex scenarios like partition loss, formatting, or accidental deletion from the Recycle Bin.

Moreover, Disk Drill offers a comprehensive suite of features, such as disk image creation to create byte-by-byte disk backups, S.M.A.R.T. monitoring to keep tabs on your disk’s health, or scan result filtering, sorting, and previewing to help you find your missing files quickly and painlessly.  

Steps to Recover Data from a Corrupted or Crashed Hard Drive

  1. Download and install Disk Drill for Windows or Mac OS X. Both versions let you preview an unlimited number of recoverable files, and the Windows version can even recover up to 500 MB of data for free.
    Disk Drill
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  2. Launch Disk Drill recovery software, select the crashed hard disk and click the Search for lost data button. Disk Drill will automatically apply its advanced recovery algorithms in the optimal order.disk drill search for lost data crashed disk
  3. Wait for the scan to finish or choose to Review found files with scanning continuing in the background. Regardless of if you choose to wait or not, remember that scanning has to finish completely for the most comprehensive recovery results.disk drill review found data
  4. Analyze scan results and look for your lost files. Disk Drill lets you filter files by type, such as documents, photos, videos, or audio files, so you can quickly locate exactly what you’re searching for. Whenever you find a missing file, click the checkbox next to it to recover it in the next step. Once you’ve selected all files, you can click the Recover button.disk drill recover lost data from crashed drive
  5. Choose a suitable recovery destination for your lost files. Make sure the recovery destination is located on a storage device different from your crashed hard drive to avoid overwriting.disk drill recovery destination selection

Recover Data with a Hard Drive Data Recovery Service

hard drive data recovery service

If your hard drive is damaged beyond the capabilities of data recovery software, you can still get your information back with the help of a data recovery service

Data recovery services leverage advanced technical expertise and tools to salvage data from crashed drives that have suffered severe damage. Of course, these services typically come with a potentially high fee, which is an important factor to weigh against the value of the lost data.

It’s also important to realize that the recovery of badly crashed or extensively corrupted hard drives can take a professional data recovery service a lot of time. This extended timeframe should be factored into your decision-making process, particularly if you need the recovered data urgently. In such cases, expedited services might be available, but they often come at an even higher price.

Use the following steps to engage a data recovery service and save your valuable data:

  1. Initiating the recovery: The first step usually involves filling out a work order form. This form provides the recovery service with information about your device and the nature of the data loss.
  2. Packing and shipping the device: Properly packaging your device is essential before shipping it to the selected data recovery service. It should be placed in an anti-static bag or wrapped in aluminum foil to protect against static electricity. Padding the device with foam or bubble wrap can help protect it from shock and vibration during transit.
  3. Diagnostic evaluation: Upon receiving your device, the recovery service conducts a thorough evaluation to determine the extent of the damage and the likelihood of successful data recovery. This evaluation typically results in a report and a quote for the recovery process.
  4. Approval and recovery: Once you approve the quote, the service begins the recovery process. This may involve various techniques, depending on the type of damage to the drive.
  5. Returning your data: If the recovery is successful, your data will be returned to you on a new storage medium, such as a flash drive or external hard drive.

Perform Corrupted Hard Drive Recovery Using CHKDSK or First Aid.

Besides Disk Drill, there are several other tools and methods that can help you perform corrupted hard drive data recovery. Some of these tools are included with your operating system, so you just need to put them to good use—no need to download anything. 

One such built-in tool for Windows users is CHKDSK (Check Disk). This utility scans the integrity of your file system and hard disk. It can also repair logical file system errors, find bad sectors, and recover readable information from those sectors.

Here’s how you can run the CHKDSK command and repair your hard drive:

  1. Press Win + X, select the Command Prompt (Admin) option. 
  2. Type chkdsk and press Enter to analyze the errors in your damaged hard drive.
  3. Type chkdsk C: /r /x to fix the drive (here, C is the drive letter of your corrupted hard drive). 
    chkdsk windows screenshot

For Mac users, First Aid is the go-to tool for diagnosing and repairing minor logical issues in your file system. Accessible through the Disk Utility, First Aid checks the partition maps on the disk and verifies and repairs the file system.

To run First Aid on your corrupted hard drive: 

  1. Open Disk Utility through Spotlight (Press Command + Space).
  2. Select the concerned disk or volume, then click First Aid.first aid macos on Apacer HDD
  3. After the First Aid runs, you’ll know if Disk Utility detected or fixed any issues. 

Once the process is complete, your hard drive will be repaired and ready to go!

Tips to Avoid Data Loss from a Hard Drive

Here are some tips to help you prevent data loss from a hard drive.

  • Stop using the device if you hear any strange noises such as clicking or grinding sound. Before ceasing the use of the device, you should consider using the byte-level backup facility of Disk Drill to create a viable backup that includes deleted files.
  • Use antivirus software to keep your machine free from malware. Many viruses and malware infections attack your computer and may result in data loss.
  • Back up your data frequently to protect your information. This will allow you to recover most or all of your data without dedicated software or engaging a recovery service.
  • Keep the storage device away from extreme heat or high humidity as these conditions can cause damage.
  • Verify all potentially destructive activities like deleting files or formatting a partition to ensure you have the correct information. Carelessness can lead to inadvertent data loss that could have easily been avoided.


When you need to recover files from a crashed hard drive that has suffered logical damage, your first option should be to use Disk Drill data recovery software. It’s a reliable and user-friendly solution that can get your data back in a few clicks. 

In cases where the drive is damaged physically and cannot be accessed by your system, a software solution is not sufficient. You need to use a reputable recovery company like Cleverfiles Data Recovery Service. Whatever kind of data loss issue you are experiencing, the experts at Cleverfiles have a solution.


Joshua Solomon

Technology, SaaS, and digital marketing are Joshua's go-to niches. He understands the need for simple and easy-to-read articles on the internet. As technologies grow in complexity, guides and how-to pieces must remain com...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.