Losing a hard drive can seem disastrous, especially if you have not maintained regular back-ups of your data.
However, a corrupted hard drive does not necessarily mean you have to lose all your data. There are actions you can take to restore your files or even the drive itself.
Please take a look at our short guide on what to do when the worst happens.
Recognize the Warning Signs
One of the first warning signs that you need to fix a corrupted hard drive will be that Windows stops reading the drive’s data.
You will not be able to access the corrupted drive in Windows Explorer, and you may see messages such as ‘disk not formatted’ or ‘sector not found’ when you try and click on the disk.
If this is the case, do not panic. There is still a chance that the data on the drive may be recoverable, and even that, you may be able to rescue the drive itself.
What Causes Corruption?
There can be many reasons why a hard disk becomes corrupted. Age is often a factor, which is why it is important to back up your data on a regular schedule.
Disks can also be corrupted by being mishandled or left near magnetic devices. However, the most common reason is due to the file system table becoming damaged and unable to recognize the stored files correctly.
Use a CHKDSK Scan
Using the Windows CHKDSK tool to scan your hard disc is good practice as part of your system routine maintenance.
CHKDSK will mark any bad sectors it finds on your drive, which will reduce the likelihood of a file allocation table (FAT) failure. It may also be able to repair the table and restore access to your drive.
You can access CHKDSK via the Command Prompt by mounting it in the Disk Management tool.
Run a Virus Scan
Problems with your hard drive may result from having a virus or malware on your system. Certain malware programs are designed to block access to your files, sometimes attempting to hold you a ransom.
It is good practice when you are having problems with a corrupted drive to run a virus and malware scan on your system to see if there are any bad actors at play.
Once they are removed, the hard drive could become accessible again.
Recover Your Data
If saving the drive seems impossible, then it is time to recover as much data as you can. To do this, you will need some specialist data recovery software.
There are several good options on the market that you can download to a separate hard drive. These applications recover data from corrupted partitions that Windows is unable to read.
Many have wizards that will walk you through the process step by step. However, if you are unsure, it may be best to seek a professional’s help to get your computer repaired.
Fix Your Corrupted Hard Drive
A corrupted hard drive doesn’t mean you have to give up on your stored data. It may be a nightmare to deal with, but there are several options for getting back what you thought you might have lost.