Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive and Repair the Corrupted Disk

To Recover Deleted Data from a Damaged Hard Drive: 

How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive

When you find your hard disk does not respond anymore and hear a few "biz biz" when you're trying to boot from it, and then it stops, and you can't access it. In such a condition, your hard disk drive might become dead. How to tell if your hard drive is dead? Here are some tips:

If you are faced with one of these symptoms, your hard drive is dead. You don't have to be panic, follow the tips below to recover data from dead hard drive.

Part 1. Chances of a Dead Hard Drive Data Recovery

The dead hard drive eventually affects all computer users. Frustration soon kicks in due to the loss of pictures, music, documents, and other files - files that you can't always replace.

Do not worry, unless corruption has occurred within the files, the files can be saved. And most of the time, the data is intact. It is good if you have a backup of your important data. However, if you do not make a backup in advance, and find the components in your drive are still functioning, you can recover data from the dead hard drive with bootable CD/DVD of data recovery software - Deep Data Recovery WinPE Edition.

Tip: Make sure that the Disk is recognized as Online Disk and the partition or disk space is displayed properly. Then you can use this software. If the disk is not recognized as Online Disk, you can refer to Part 3.

disk must show as online

Part 2. How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive

Deep Data Recovery WinPE Edition is a bootable disk of data recovery software which can help you recover data after the system crash and boot problem. Before you start, create a bootable USB first. Then, boot from Data Recovery Wizard WinPE bootable disk. Then, follow the steps below to recover data from a dead HDD.

Step 1. Create a bootable disk

Prepare an empty USB. If you have important data on it, copy the data to another device. When you create a bootable disk, the data on the USB will be erased. Deep Data Recovery WinPE Edition will help you create a bootable disk.

Connect the USB drive to PC, launch Deep Data Recovery WinPE Edition. Select the USB drive and click "Create" to create a bootable disk.

Step 2. Boot from the bootable USB

Connect the bootable disk to PC that won't boot and change your computer boot sequence in BIOS. For most users, it works well when they restart their computer and press F2 at the same time to enter BIOS.

Set to boot the PC from "Removable Devices" (bootable USB disk) or "CD-ROM Drive" (bootable CD/DVD) beyond Hard Drive. Press "F10" to save and exit.

Select file types that you want to recover

Step 3. Recover data from a hard drive that won't boot

When you boot from the USB, you can run Deep Data Recovery from the WinPE bootable disk. Select the drive you want to scan to find all your lost files. 

selet the drive

Click "Proceed" to start the scanning process.

Recover data from the computer or laptop. After the scan completed, you can preview all recoverable files, select the targeted files, and click the "Recover" button to restore your files. You'd better save all of the recovered data to another place to avoid data overwriting.

recover data from the computer

Apart from recovering lost files from a dead hard drive, Deep Data Recovery WinPE Edition also supports recovering data from RAID, external hard drive, dynamic disk and Memory Cards, etc. Also, it can recover lost photos, documents and media files, etc., unformat files, recover data from lost partition, etc.

Part 3. What to Do If the HDD Is Not Online

If your dead HDD is not showing as "Online", follow the steps to fix it.

Case 1: The HDD Shows "ONLINE (ERRORS)"

When a dynamic disk detects an I/O error, an "online (error)" status occurs. And usually, all volumes on the disk will show as "At Risk" status.

online error - at risk state

Step 1. If the I/O error is a temporary error (like cable slack), reactivate the disk.

Step 2. If the "Healthy (At Risk)" status is still displayed, there may be a disk failure. Back up data and replace disk as soon as possible.

Case 2: The HDD Shows "Not initialized"

The "uninitialized" state occurs when the disk does not have a valid signature or virus corruption.

Step 1. Connect the hard disk to other computers to see if it is normal. If it is still uninitialized, you can initialize it first.

Step 2. Right-click the disk and click "Initialize Disk". The disk status is temporarily changed to "initializing" and then to "Online" status.

initialize the dead disk

Case 3: The HDD Shows "Missing"

A "Missing" state occurs when a disk is destroyed, closed, or disconnected.

the dead hdd shows as missing

Open "Disk Management", right-click the missing disk, and then click "Reactivate Disk". If there are multiple missing disks, Disk Management will attempt to reactivate all of them.

reactivate the disk

Case 4: The Disk Is Showing as "Foreign"

When the dynamic disk is transferred from another computer to the local computer, the "Foreign" status is displayed. The "Foreign" status is also displayed when a computer running Windows XP Home Edition is configured to pass dual boot mode of another operating system (using dynamic disks). Importing a Foreign disk would solve it.

hdd is showing as foreign

import foreign disks

Case 5: The Device is Unreadable or No Media

An "unreadable" state occurs when a basic or dynamic disk is inaccessible. The disk may have a hardware failure, a corrupted, or an I/O error. You can solve this error by following the steps below:

1. Rescan the disk 

Click "Action" > "Rescan Disks") or restart your computer to see if the disk status has changed.

rescan the disk

2. Update driver in Device Manager

Step 1. In the Device Manager, double-click the device (where there is usually a yellow triangle exclamation icon beside it) and open the driver Properties window.

Step 2. Go to the Driver tab and click "Update Driver".

Step 3. Click "Search automatically for updated driver software".

update driver to fix the no media error

3. Rebuild MBR

If your MBR disk is damaged, you certainly cannot boot into Windows. How to repair the damaged MBR? Here we'll provide a safe and reliable procedure to help you. Qiling Partition Master has already offered the function to rebuild MBR in the case of boot failure due to MBR problems. Follow the step-by-step instructions to rebuild MBR.

Step 1. Create a WinPE bootable disk

create a bootable disk

Step 2. Boot Qiling Partition Master Bootable USB

rebuild MBR

Step 3. Rebuild MBR

rebuild MBR

Part 4. How to Repair Corrupted/Damaged/Dead Hard Drive

When your external hard drive fails, you can try the solutions below to fix it. If you can see obvious damage, such as strange sounds, obvious cracks, or a broken printed circuit board, send the HDD to a specialist in time. The following methods are more suitable for repairing non-physical damage.

Solution 1. Use Disk Repair Services

To repair corrupted disk or USB flash drive and restore data efficiently, restore to Qiling disk repair services.

Consult with Qiling data recovery experts for one-on-one manual recovery service. We could offer the following services after a FREE diagnosis.

  • Fix HDD, SSD, external hard drive, USB flash drive errors, and restore data from all RAID levels
  • Recover lost partition that cannot be restored by data recovery software
  • Fix disks that cannot be read or accessed because of bad sectors
  • Fix disks that become GPT protected partitions
  • Wipe data, unformat hard drive, Install/uninstall software or driver, etc.

Solution 2. Fix the File System Error

If the disk has bad sectors or internal errors, the hard disk can corrupt very easily. And if you know how to run the CHKDSK command on your PC, it will be effortless for you to fix the hard disk corrupted issue. 

fix the file system error

If you are a beginner and don't know how to use CHKDSK, you can use the CHKDSK alternative tool.

If command line is not your ideal choice, you can apply this command-line alternative tool - Qiling CleanGenius. Use this one-click tool to fix the file system error on your hard drive.

Step 1. Download Qiling CleanGenius on your computer for free.

Step 2. Run the software. Click "Optimization" on the left panel, and then choose "File Showing" . 

Step 3. Go to "Choose drive" and select the drive with a file system error. Check the "Check and fix file system error" option and click "Execute".

Step 4. Wait the Qiling CleanGenius completes the repairing process. After that, click the "here" to view the result.

Solution 3. Use File Manager to Fix Corrupted Non-System Drive

Solution 4. Run a Thorough Disk Check 

check the disk

If it reports that your drive has 'bad sectors or clusters', don't worry. CHKDSK command in Solution 1 will fix this issue.


Diagnosing and fixing a broken hard drive is difficult. Do take it seriously, but also try to exclude some of the more simple-to-fix culprits before you spend hundreds of dollars on a specialist. Even if you managed to repair your drive and get back all your data, replace the HDD with a new drive as soon as possible. If I were you, I would not trust this hard drive anymore.

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