There is a difference between an operating system crash and a hard drive crash. If your operating system crashes, whether you are using Windows, Linux or Mac, that is a Logical Failure. If the hard drive itself malfunctions, that is a Physical failure. Either way your data is not readily accessible but it is still there. Of course, you should have a backup plan and an image of your computer just in case but if you do not; there is still hope for your precious Gigabytes of data you may have stored on your computer through a data recovery solution.
The best way to prevent damage from a hard disk crash is to take a proactive approach and back up the data stored on the drive. One of our favorite backup programs is the Acronis True Image backup utility.
Determine what is Causing the Crash
The first thing you need to do is figure out if the crash is caused by a physical or logical failure. That is the tricky part made easier by the Disk Doctors Drive Manager that monitors your hard drive and lets you know about potential problems before they happen. If your computer crashes, it simply will not boot to the operating system. You can get the same errors if the crash is caused by a physical or logical failure. If your computer will not boot and you hear a grinding, clicking or whirring noise, that is a good sign that it is caused by a physical drive failure. At this point you should stop trying to boot the computer and do not try to reload the operating system.
Physical Hard Drive Failure
If your hard drive crash is caused by a malfunction of the hard drive itself, there is still a very good possibility that the data is still intact and accessible. You will know if it is a physical failure by the noise the drive will make. You will hear a clicking, clunking, grinding or whirring sound coming from the hard drive. Do not mistake the sounds for a malfunctioning cooling fan. Carefully open the case and listen close to the drive.
If it sounds something like this, it is more than likely a physical hard drive failure. This drive is still functioning but by the way it sounds, its days are very limited. Notice the grinding, pinging, clicking and whirring sounds the drive is making.
If you can still boot the computer but the drive is making a lot of noise, you could still get an image of the drive or clone it to a new hard drive but that is risky. Do not try to start the computer and copy the files to an external drive because that may be too much stress on the failing hardware. The best bet is to remove the hard drive and put it into a different system to retrieve the important data from the drive with a Data Recovery Solution.
If you can retrieve the data, great – problem solved right? Now all you have to do is buy a new hard drive and reinstall your operating system and all of the applications. That is not a fun task. If you were able to retrieve the data, you may still be able to take an image or clone of the drive and transfer the image to a new drive using Acronis True Image Home or Norton Ghost. It is worth a try unless you like reloading Windows.
If the physical hard drive crash is so bad that the computer will not boot or another system cannot see the hard drive, then you may need to send the drive out to a data recovery solution like Disk Doctors or Stellar Data Recovery. They both have an excellent reputation for retrieving data from a crashed hard drive. It is not cheap but how much is your data worth?
Logical Hard Drive Failure
A logical failure occurs when the hard drive is healthy but you cannot boot into the operating system. This can be caused by many different factors. A virus, system driver conflict, human error or a software malfunction can cause a logical hard drive crash. When this type of failure happens, imaging or cloning the computer will do no good. Do not try to reinstall Windows or run the useless operating system tools like CHKDSK because those tools can just make matters worse. You will need a software data recovery solution from Stellar or Disk Doctor to retrieve your data.
Just because you cannot access your data on a crashed hard drive does not mean that it is not still present on the drive. What you do from here depends on the importance of the data that is stored on your computer. If you are like most people in this technological age, part of your life is stored on your computer and that data is important. I hope that if you have a hard drive crash you can retrieve your precious data. Hard drives do crash and the best way to protect your data is with a proactive approach that is to backup, image and backup some more.
Stellar Windows Data Recovery 6
Even if you did not have a good backup solution in place and you have a system crash, you can still recover your data. Stellar Phoenix offers a wide range of data recovery solutions that can help you recover your files. Stellar Phoenix offers data recovery solutions for Windows, Mac, Linux, Novell and Unix. They also offer file, and email repair software so all of your data recovery needs are covered. Stellar has the tools to recover lost data due to accidental format, virus problems, software malfunction and file/directory deletion. Check out the Stellar data recovery products here.
Disk Doctors Data Recovery
Hard drive failures happen more often than you might think. It could be caused by a physical or hardware failure or a logical or software failure in the drive. Either way, the Disk Doctors have a solution to recover all for your data in case of a hard drive crash.
If, for some reason, your hard drive has crashed and you did not have an image or a solid backup of your data, there is still hope. Disk Doctors has all the tools you need to recover from a physical or logical hard drive failure. See the Disk Doctor recovery solutions here.
Disk Doctors Drive Manager
The Disk Doctors Hard Drive Manager allows you to not only backup, image and restore your hard drive, it also monitors the hard drive health to let you know about problems before they occur. Drive SOS is part of the package and lets you know about potential hard drive problems thus allowing you to use the utility to clone the drive to a new one without losing your precious data. The utility also comes with a Folder Manager that allows you to monitor hard drive space and track changes. See our Review of the Disk Doctors Drive Manager
Kernel Data Recovery
Kernel Data Recovery offers data recovery software that recovers every aspect of data that can possibly become corrupted or deleted. They also offer email recovery and email migration software. Other services include; deleted file recovery, digital media recovery and recovery of iPod files. Nucleus offers a demo version of their software so you can test it to see if it will recover the data that you need before you buy the software. Read more about the Kernal Data Recovery Solution.
Search and Recover
Search and Recover is a data recovery utility that can recover files from your computer or any other storage device connected to your PC. This utility allows you to recover accidentally deleted files or files that have been lost due to a hard drive crash or accidental format. If you accidentally deleted an email, no problem Search and Recover can retrieve the email from just all of the popular email programs. Search and Recover's data recovery is instinctive and easy to use. Systematic wizards guide you though most of the recovery tasks. Recovery features combined with bonus tools for system backup and secure file destruction make Search and Recover a comprehensive program for managing your vital data. Read More about the Search and Recover Data recovery Solution.