Do You Need Hard Drive Data Recovery?

by PlatterSwapper

If you find that you have lost all access to the data on a hard drive then it is worth taking a few minutes to confirm the location of the problem before concluding that you need hard drive recovery. There are a few very basic and easy checks which can be done to confirm that the problem resides with the drive itself.

Assuming that the hard drive in question is located inside a computer then in the first instance it is worth checking that there is not a problem with either the power supply or the cables connected to the hard drive itself. Always disconnect the mains power supply from the computer chassis before you open it. Next check that both the power supply cable and the data cable are seated correctly at the hard drive itself. It is worth disconnecting and reconnecting each in turn to be sure that they are properly fitted. Similarly make sure that the opposite side of the data cable (this will usually be the computer motherboard) is properly seated. Reconnect power to the computer and try rebooting.


P-ATA_IDE cables

Older style P-ATA or IDE data and power cables (the power is identified with a red arrow). Check these before assuming the need for hard drive recovery.



S-ATA cables, always check these before assuming that hard drive recovery will be needed.

Newer style S-ATA data cable, again the power cable is indicated with a red arrow.

If the hard drive is still not accessible then try changing the power connector to the hard drive (assuming that there is a spare one available within the computer chassis) and similarly try replacing the data cable.

It may be worth leaving the cover off your computer chassis while you switch on your computer in order to allow you to hear if the hard drive is spinning up, this will give you some idea as to whether power is reaching the hard drive or not, however be very careful where you place your fingers as parts of your computer will of course be live.

While problems with hard drive cables and power supplies are relatively rare they are an easy potential problem to eliminate and will save you from reaching the wrong conclusion about whether you need hard drive recovery or not.

Should you be in the situation that whenever you switch your computer on, it immediately switches itself back off ,then there is a strong possibility that the printed circuit board mounted on the side of your hard drive has suffered electrical damage and is now presenting a short-circuit to your computer’s power supply unit. To confirm whether or not this is the case, disconnect the power cable from the hard drive and then try switching your computer on. If it was indeed the hard drive printed circuit board which had suffered damage then you will find that the computer will remain on (of course it may not be able to boot without your damaged hard drive).

The Computer BIOS Will Give a Strong Indication as to Whether or Not Hard Drive Recovery Will be Required.

Another useful guide to whether your hard drive is being powered up is the report shown by your computer’s BIOS on boot-up. This is typically a plain text screen of information showing some basic details about the hardware fitted within your computer, it typically appears before the operating system begins to load. Many computers are configured not to show the BIOS information on boot-up but most will allow the user to override this setting by pressing a particular key immediately after the computer is initially powered. This key is usually one of the following <F2>, <Esc> or <delete> keys, but there may be other alternatives.

If the hard drive doesn’t appear at all in this BIOS screen then there is a good chance it is not being powered up, on the other hand if it appears but is incorrectly identified (either in terms of the wrong model or the wrong storage capacity being reported) then it is powering up but there are problems elsewhere within the hard drive itself.

Once you have satisfied yourself that the loss of access to your hard drive is not being caused by something simple such as a poorly connected or failed cable then you have at least confirmed the genuine need for professional assistance with your hard drive recovery.


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