3 Ways to Recover Data From Broken Hard Drive

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data retrieval from hard drive

Seeing a “dead” hard disk makes us assume our data is gone forever. This doesn’t always happen. Some conditions can cause irreversible data loss, however dead hard drives can be recovered. Here’s when dead hard drives can be recovered and when they can’t. We’ll provide step-by-step rehabilitation methods.

How a Hard Drive Becomes Broken

Unlike hard drives that use memory cells, they use a rotating magnetic plate to store data. The head moves through these plates to access information for your system, as you can imagine. There are many moving parts involved in this process.

Factors that make hard drives inactive:

  • Physical damage: Since the hard drive consists of moving parts, physical damage such as misplacement or scratching of the plate can make it useless.
  • Data damage is a type of mechanical damage that can occur not only to individual files but also to the entire file system. If the file system is damaged, your hard drive will not be able to access the information, making it unreadable.
  • Malware Attacks: Viruses and other malware can cause mechanical damage. For example, they can attack your files or even format your entire hard drive. anonymous ransomware virus is one example that encrypts files and locks PCs.

Is it possible to recover data from dead hard drives?

Please note that we will focus exclusively on traditional rotating hard drives (HDDs) in this conversation, except for modern hard drive drivers. (SSDs).

Logical Damage Recovery

Data can be recovered from mechanically damaged hard drives after data deletion or virus assaults. The information stays on the disk and may be recovered using the methods in the next section.

Physical Damage Recovery

Data recovery from physically damaged hard drives where components such as magnetic sheets are inconsistent or scratches are almost impossible at home. A clean atmosphere is needed to recuperate from this harm. Therefore, consult a professional data recovery provider with the right tools and conditions for a secure recovery.

Some hard disks with surface damage, such as a broken exterior cover, can be fixed at home. These drives can restore data if they can interface with computers.

Method 1: Recovering data from broken hard drive with WinfrGUI:

WinfrGUI is a user-friendly software that helps you recover data from various situations, including disk formatting, virus attacks, bug removal, system failures, and so on. Try to find out how Winfr GUI can help you get valuable information.

  • Download and install WinfrGUI on your computer.
  • Stop your mouse on the corrupted hard drive and click on “Scan.”.
  • See if WinfrGUI will automatically scan your hard drive for missing information. For a quick file search, you can use the search box and enter relevant keywords.
  • Once the scan process is completed, select the file you want to recover and select a secure location to store. You can recover the file while scanning is underway.

>>Further Reading: How to use WinfrGUi to recover accidentally closed excel without saving?

Method 2: Check the Recycle Bin

Start your search in the recycling tank, where the deleted files will be temporarily stored before being permanently removed. Unless the tank is full or the files are too large. It should have files that have been removed from you. Follow these steps:

  • Open the recycling tank on your desktop.
  • Right-click on the file you want and select “Restore” for multiple files. Catch CTRL and click on each file before right-clicking.

Recovering files will return them to their original location or allow you to select a different location. If the file cannot be found in the recycling tank, please use the following method.

Method 3: Restore From a Backup

The easiest way to recover your data is by recovering from a backup. Of course, this option works if you have a Windows backup that provides backup benefits such as file history, which allows you to take photos of your files and restore previous versions.

If you have enabled File history, please follow the following steps to recover your files:

  • Open the Start menu and search for “File History.”. Select an option in the File History Control Panel.
  • In the File History Control Panel, click on the “Recover Personal Files” option.
  • Move to where your files are stored, and use the arrow to navigate to the time when the files are in the desired folder. 
  • Select the file you want to restore and click on the Restore button. 
  • When a restore is done, the file will be sent back to the folder.

How to Repair Broken or Damaged Hard Drive

While some types of damage may make the hard drive unrepairable, it is still possible to restore some damaged hard drives with the help of appropriate solutions. After successfully recovering your data, you can try the following methods to fix the drive.

Method 1: Repair using CheckDisk

CheckDisk is a file system repair tool that can fix locking errors in your drive. By scanning the drive to find errors and correcting them automatically, CheckDisc can identify and mark bad sections as unavailable areas to prevent data from being stored there by mistake. Follow these steps to repair the drive’s file system using CheckDesk:

  • Right-click on the Start button and select “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” in Windows 10 or “Terminal (admin)” in Windows 11. Click “Yes” if the UAC recommends.
  • Type “chkdsk /f /r D:” (replace D: with the letter of your own drive) and press Enter.

When the order is complete, check whether the damage has been repaired.

Method 2: Fix the Corrupted Windows File

If there are damaged or missing Windows files, it may affect your system performance. In such cases, you can use the System File Checker (SFC) to scan and restore lost or corrupt Windows system files. Follow these steps to restore corrupted or lost Windows files using SFC:

  • Right-click on the Start button and select “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” in Windows 10 or “Terminal (Admin)” in Windows 11.
  • Print “DISM.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth” and press Enter. The process will be completed as it uses Windows Update to fix the damage.
  • Print “sfc /scannow” and press Enter. This command will scan all system files and replace the corrupted files with the running version.

Method 3: Virus Scanning

As mentioned earlier, viruses can damage your hard drive. Scan your drive for viruses. It may restore disk functionality. If you do not have antivirus software installed, you can use Windows Security. Follow these steps to scan your drive to find viruses using Windows Security:

  • Press Windows Key + S and find “Windows Security”. Open it.
  • Click on “Antivirus and Threats.”
  • Select Scan Options
  • Select the type of scan you want with the most comprehensive full scan. Click on “Scan Now” to start scanning.


If your hard drive seems to be dead, do not immediately lose hope. The word “dead” may be misleading. Because many seemingly serious situations can still be fixed using appropriate recovery techniques. Mechanical problems and physical damage to the ground are often resolved using appropriate software and knowledge. However, if all the methods described in this article fail for physically damaged drives, please consider consulting the recovery center for expert help and further options.