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Hard Drive Data Recovery - Physical Failure | Recover Deleted Files from Windows
Hard Drive Data Recovery - Software Failure | Recover Deleted Files from Linux / UNIX

Data Recovery From an Inaccessible Hard Drive:

It is everybody's worst nightmare, your computer tries to boot up but cannot because of a failed hard drive and you did not have a proper backup plan in place. Signs of a failed a hard drive problem include messages such as "disk 0 error" and "invalid drive specification." You can view our entire list at: failed hard drive error messages. If the computer crashes when trying to load Windows, this is a fairly easily recovery.

Non-Physical Failures:

If the hard drive is still spinning but cannot be accessed by your computer it is not "dead". There is more than likely an error with your data or partitions. The good news is that data can usually be recovered in this case.

Information About Restoring Data:

Windows Problems:

You need to first evaluate what the problem could be, if the computer boots to the point where it is trying to load Windows and fails you should reinstall Windows. Reinstalling windows not delete all of your stored files and is a rather quick way to get back on your feet.

Master Boot Record Problems:

If the problem is more serious and the computer will not boot up to your operating system it may be a problem with your Master Boot Record (MBR). Most of the time when the MBR is corrupted it is due to a virus. viruses that infect the MBR do so by copying the contents of the boot sector to a different file and then overwriting the boot sector with viral code. When you remove a boot sector virus, the antivirus program is usually smart enough to know where the original boot sector was copied to. It then removes the viral code and moves the boot sector code back to the correct location. Some viruses don't back up the boot sector code before altering it so the MBR cannot be recovered by the anti-virus program. Problems with the MBR can also be caused by programs that alter the MBR in order to work. An example of this is a program like System Commander that allows you to boot multiple operating systems. Any program that alters the MBR runs the risk of causing problems with it. If this is the problem with your hard drive please see our tutorial: Recovering Data For a Hard Drive with a Damaged Master Boot Record (MBR)

Partition or Partition Table Problems:

The partition table is very important, and there is only one copy of it. The partition table is located in the very first sector on the hard drive, and can be easily accessed by any program including a virus. Some programs alter the partition table sector, and this can go wrong, even the most trustworthy software programs can damage the partition table.

For information on recovering from partition table problems please see our tutorial: How to Recover Lost / Deleted Partitions


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