|Summary: When your hard disk gets corrupt, you start facing various operational issues and may also lose the data stored on it. While trying to access such a hard disk, it throws errors such as “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable”, appears as RAW in Windows disk management utility, or fails to boot (if internal).
This blog explains a complete guide on how to recover data from a corrupted hard disk.
The hard disk may turn corrupt due to the following reasons:
- Virus Intrusion: Viruses are malicious code that may damage the file system on your hard disk, making it corrupt.
- Damaged Master Boot Record (MBR): If the boot sector (the hard disk sector that contains MBR) of your internal hard disk gets damaged, the disk turns corrupt and fails to boot or load the operating system (OS).
- Bad Sectors: An HDD has millions of sectors that store data. At times, data can’t be written or read from some sectors (bad sectors). Too many bad sectors result in hard disk corruption.
- Age and Usage: When a hard disk is used for a long time, it gets deteriorated and may get corrupted due to this deterioration.
- Unsafe Removal (if external): Unsafe removal of external hard disks from the system may also result in corruption.
If you want to recover data lost due to hard drive corruption, follow the methods mentioned in this post.
Methods to Recover Data from Corrupted Hard Disk
Method 1: Run SFC Scan
If you’ve lost data from an internal hard disk as it fails to boot due to corruption, you can use System File Checker (SFC). It is a Windows command-line utility that is necessary to fix broken Windows system files and to restore the data.
To do this, follow the steps given below:
- Press the power button to turn ON your Windows system
- The moment you see the manufacturer’s logo, power OFF your system by pressing the power button again
- Repeat this process 3 times
- Turn ON the system 4th time and let it load completely this time
- This would open a screen “Choose an option”.
- From this screen, navigate as follows:
Click Troubleshoot >Advanced options >Command Prompt
This would launch the Command Prompt window.
[NOTE]: If your system is bootable but your files are lost due to disk corruption, you need not follow the above-given steps to launch Command Prompt. You can do this easily by typing cmd on the text box at the bottom-left corner of your desktop. Next, right-click the command prompt and choose Run as administrator to launch the Command Prompt window.
- Before running SFC Scan, type DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command and press the Enter key
- The above step is applicable for Windows 10, 8.1, or 8. (For other Windows versions, this step is not necessary.)
- Now, Type SFC /scannow and press Enter
[NOTE]: Do not close the Command Prompt window until the verification is 100% complete. You can see scan results after this process. If you’re unable to fix corruption by using this method and it is an external hard disk, connect the corrupted HDD to another working Windows system and use the methods that follow.
[NOTE]: If the corrupted hard disk is internal, use a USB enclosure to convert it to an external hard disk.
Method 2: Use Windows Error Checking Tool
Windows built-in error-checking tool checks disk errors and tries to fix them. You can use this tool to fix minor corruption of hard disk. Follow the given steps:
- Open Windows Explorer on the system to which you’ve connected the corrupted hard disk
- Right-click the hard disk (partition), and select Properties
- Choose the Tools tab
- Click Check button
[NOTE]: You can use the same steps to check and fix issues on other partitions of the hard disk.
- Restart the system and see if you can access your data.
Method 3: Run CHKDSK Command
CHKDSK is a command-line utility that can fix hard disk file system corruption and other disk-related issues. Thus, helps you to restore data from a corrupt hard disk.
Follow the steps given below:
- Launch Command Prompt as an Administrator on the system to which your corrupted hard disk is connected.
- Type the below-given command on Command Prompt window, and hit Enter.
chkdsk /f /r x:
Where x is the disk letter of a hard disk partition
/f fixes errors
/r identifies the bad sectors and tries to read information from them.
- Run the same command for other partitions as well by using their respective disk letters, and restart the system.
- Now check if you’re able to access data on the hard disk.
Method 4: Avail Professional Data Recovery Service
If the issue persists even after trying the above methods, it means that the hard disk is severely corrupted. In such a case, it’s best to seek the help of a data recovery expert such as Stellar who can safely handle the data recovery tasks and recover the lost data successfully.
Stellar Data Recovery is a leading data recovery brand. The data recovery experts at Stellar recover data from corrupted hard disks in a “controlled environment” in the Class 100 cleanroom lab. This ensures the safety of data stored on hard drives, which are delicate data storage devices. Apart from this, we use proprietary data recovery tools and equipment to ensure the recovery of up to 100% of the data.
Hard disks may get corrupt due to various reasons. When this happens, you lose the data stored on it. To prevent hard disk corruption, use effective anti-virus software to safeguard it from viruses, always “safely remove” (if HDD is external) before ejecting, and properly shut down the system instead of powering it off directly.
In case the hard disk gets corrupt, you can try fixing it by using Windows built-in utilities mentioned in this post. However, if this doesn’t help, you need to seek a hard disk recovery expert’s advice to fix the issue and recover data from a corrupted hard disk.