data recovery

Data Recovery: How To Safely Backup Data

Data Recovery: How To Safely Backup Data

That heart-wrenching feeling; your heart all but stops, beads of sweat pour down your forehead and you start to wonder when last you did a fully-fledged backup. All your data is gone – photographs, e-mails, documents, music, movies. All of it.

Data loss can be caused by a number of factors, but the most common is a software failure. You’ve accidentally hit “delete” on an important folder and emptied the recycle bin, or perhaps you’ve formatted the wrong drive by mistake.

However, the most common cause of data loss is a fault with the hard drive itself. When the hard disk drive suffers from some form of failure, there is more often than not sweet nothing you can do about it – yourself. You’d need to call in data recovery experts. Here are some tips to try before calling in those experts, though:

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Data Recovery Software

“When dealing with a software-related data loss, the first and most important thing to keep in mind is not to work with the affected hard drive. Your operating system is reading and writing to your drive constantly, whether you’re actively doing something or not. Now that your system is seeing the deleted data as ‘free space’ it will happily overwrite this area—along with your chances of recovery.”

Data Recovery Hardware

“What happens if your drive is not even being detected by your machine? Or your machine can see the drive, but just hangs when you try to access it? What if the drive is completely dead and won’t even spin up? Examining the components of a drive allows us to see which components could be at fault –  and how to detect each:

PCB: This is the well-known green circuit board attached to the bottom of your drive. It houses the main controller (the equivalent of your computer’s CPU) along with many other electronic controllers.

Platters: Your drive contains one or more thin, circular platters. These spin around at anywhere between 5,900rpm to 7,200rpm on consumer drives and are the media that actually store your data.

Head assembly: Data from your drives’ platters is read by means of a series of read and write heads. While in operation, these heads are not actually in contact with the surface of the platters. Typically a drive will have 2 heads per platter, so a large capacity drive with 3 platters will be paired up with 6 heads, one for each side of each platter

Firmware: Your drive runs its own mini operating system in order to deal with all of the data and operations required to access it. Most of this firmware is stored on the platters. A small portion is stored on the PCB, which is required when the drive starts up.


How Can I Tell If My Hardware Is Faulty?

  • Your Drive Isn’t Spinning Up At All

This is the one instance where you have a relatively good chance of resurrecting your drive if you’re prepared to put in some time and effort. If the drive does absolutely nothing when you apply power to it (no noises at all), it is 99% a PCB problem.

  • Your Drive Is Spinning Up and Making Clicking Noises

This is a serious failure and indicates a failed head or heads. It could also mean that your drive has suffered from platter damage if a head crash has occurred. Either way, this is a job for the pros.

  • Your Drives Spins Ups and Is Detected by Your Computer, But Hangs When You Try to Access It

This usually means that the magnetic media is degraded. This is a common problem that occurs over time and can be worked around, but only with professional data recovery equipment, more specifically a hard imager.

  • Your Drive Makes a Beeping Sound When You Power it Up

The beeping sounds you are hearing is the motor trying to spin the drive up and failing to do so. This is caused by one of two things, both serious mechanical failures. The drive needs to be opened up in the lab, heads carefully removed and most likely replaced, definitely not a DIY job.

  • Your Drive Sounds Normal but is Not Detected, or is Detected as the Wrong Capacity

This normally indicates a problem with some area of the firmware. Either it’s not being read properly which could actually be head problem, or there is some corruption that needs to be resolved. There is nothing that the end user can do but to send your drive in for professional help.

Credit to for the information sourced in this article!


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Cover Image Credit: TechRadar

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