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How to Restore Data from External Hard Drive

purity muriuki




External hard drives have become an important part of our daily lives. It allows us to transfer a lot of data easily and quickly. However, many users are not sure how to recover files from hard disks in case of data loss. This manual is intended to provide the knowledge and solutions needed to effectively recover data from external hard drive.

From my extensive experience in backup and recovery as well as the time my IBM has encountered various types of hard drive failures. In this article I will share my first-hand feedback from testing recovery tools and take you through common problems and powerful solutions for external hard drive data recovery.

Before recovering data from external hard drive

Before plunging into the data recovery process, it is important to understand the reasons behind the external hard drive failure. Quick access to any recovery solution without sufficient information can make the problem worse and may lead to unrecoverable data loss. In order to improve your chances of success. It is desirable to get acquainted with the workings of the hard drive and the common causes of failure before starting the recovery procedure.

If you encounter problems with your external hard drive. The most important step is to stop using it immediately. Continued use of the disk may cause data to be overwritten, making recovery more problematic. By acting quickly, you can prevent further damage and increase your chances of successful recovery.

Common causes of hard drive failure

  • Locking problems: This problem is often caused by errors in the file system or corrupted data, which prevents access to stored data. They can arise from an emergency disconnection during data transfer, power jump, or incorrect file system operation. Recovering from these problems requires specialized data recovery software that can navigate through complex file systems. Fixing these problems at first with the right tools can lead to high success rates for file recovery before new data rewrite missing files.
  • Hard drive does not rotate: The type of failure occurs when the hard drive refuses to rotate due to voltage damage to the diode inside the driver. In many cases, changing the printing circuit board can solve the problem without turning the drive on.
  • Click or sound: A click or sound indicates severe damage to the hard drive. These sounds occur when the drive fails to position the read/write head correctly, or when it's stuck causing significant scratches. Such damage often leads to loss of data that can't be repaired. Professional hard drive recovery services with well-mounted and dust-free labs can solve these problems, but they are often more costly.
  • Unaccessible hard drive: If your computer knows the hard drive, but you can't access the file or boot in the operating system, it may be because the file system is corrupted. The data recovery tool can help to recover data from unaccessable hard drive and identify any file system corruption.
  • No hard drive detected: If your computer fails to detect a running hard drive, it may indicate a compatibility problem between your hard drive and your main desktop. Some server devices, older devices or hardware are at higher risk for such a problem. In some cases, manual hard disk fixing can fix this problem.
  • Malware infection: Malware virus infection can lead to data loss. While virus removal is rare today, malware has become a major threat. Critical data encryption and requires revenge for decryption. Using hard drive data recovery software is an effective solution in combating malware infections.
  • Data destruction: Data damage caused by software errors or user errors may make files unreadable. Some corrupted files can be repaired using available tools and techniques, although this is not always possible.
  • Physical hard drive damage: Even the most sophisticated drivers may suffer physical damage which will result in complete failure. Physically damaged hard drive repair is challenging and requires skilled professionals and proper equipment.

How to recover data from external hard drive

We will now explore recovery methods for external hard drives suffering from the common type mentioned above of disk failure. I will give detailed steps for two options: using hard drive recovery software and finding professional data recovery services.

Option 1: Update data from external hard drive using software

For small corrupted hard drives, data recovery software is the recommended option. One of the most reliable tools is WinfrGUI, a free data recovery tool. The easy-to-use graphical interface for Windows file recovery developed by Microsoft. Winfr GUI makes the recovery process easier even for users with limited technical knowledge. Follow these steps:

  • Download and install WinfrGUI: Install Winfr GUI on a separate hard drive from the one with the information you want to recover.
  • Start WinfrGUI and select drive: Open Winfr GUI and choose the external hard drive you want to recover data from. Start scanning by clicking on the specified button.
  • As soon as scanning is completed: the duration of the scan depends on the size and speed of your hard drive. Have patience during the scanning process.
  • Analyze scan results: Once the scan is complete, use WinfrGUI's filters and search function to analyze the results. Specify and select the files you want to recover from the list of lost data.
  • Start Recovery Process: Select the desired file and start the recovery process by clicking the appropriate button. Select a suitable target for the recovered file.

By following these simple steps, WinfrGUI enables smooth data recovery for Windows users by offering a costly solution to find lost files from external hard drives.

Option 2: Hard Drive Recovery Service

For situations that require professional expertise such as physically damaged hard drives, a data recovery service center such as SalvageData can provide the necessary assistance. The common process in the data recovering center mostly involves starting work orders, packing and shipping your media, being evaluated and priced by experts and waiting for the recovered information to be delivered safely on the appropriate media.

Contrary to common belief, professional data recovery services are affordable. Most reputable companies charge based on the amount of data recovered and provide a “no data, no fees” warranty, only the cost of successful recovery.

Option 3: Manual hard drive recovery

In case of data loss due to file system damage, manual hard drive recovery corrections are usually effective. While the list of corrections is too comprehensive from the provisions of this article, I will highlight three reliable ways:

Fix 1: CHKDSK command for Windows users

  • Enter “cmd” in the search box on the taskbar and select “Run as Administrator”.
  • Enter the command “chkdsk X: / f” (replace X with a letter corresponding to the hard drive you want to edit) and press Enter.
  • Soon, CHKDSK will finish the process.

Fix 2: Disk Utility's first help for Mac users

  • Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and open Disk Utility
  • Select the hard drive you want to repair from the list and click on the “First Aid” button.
  • Check that you want the first aid feature to check for separation errors.

Fix 3: Installing a new driver

  • Search for “Device Manager” in the taskbar and select Device Manager
  • Find your external hard drive, usually listed in the Portable section.
  • Right-click on the hard drive and select “Uninstall Device”.
  • Restart your computer and allow for automatic reinstallation of valid drivers.

By following these manual HDD recovery fixes, you can solve the data loss caused by file system corruption.


In conclusion, it is possible to recover data from external hard drives with the right knowledge and tools. By understanding the type of hard drive failure and using the right recovery methods, you can increase your chances of recovering lost data. Whether you choose data recovery software, professional services or manual fixing. It is important to do it quickly and carefully to avoid damaging your valuable data.

I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about stris, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for stris. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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