How to Recover Data from an External Hard Drive


How to Recover Data from an External Hard Drive

Mastering External Hard Drive Data Recovery: A Comprehensive Guide

The widespread use of external hard drives brings unparalleled convenience to our digital lives. However, their vulnerability is often overlooked until disaster strikes. This article aims to shed light on common external hard drive issues and provide insights into effective data recovery solutions, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right tools and methods.

Understanding External Hard Drive Mechanics

External hard drives house intricate components, relying on magnetic patterns and spinning platters to store data. A crucial aspect is the circuit board containing the firmware, instructing communication between the hard drive and other hardware. Familiarity with these components is essential to diagnose and address potential failures.

Common Types of Hard Drive Failures:

1. Software Data Loss:

  • Cause: Poorly written software or user errors.
  • Solution: Utilize reliable data recovery tools suitable for software-related issues.
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2. Hard Drive Isn’t Spinning:

  • Cause: Voltage spike.
  • Solution: Replace the printed circuit board (PCB) or seek professional hard drive data recovery services.

3. Clicking or Beeping Noises:

  • Cause: Serious hard drive damage.
  • Solution: Professional hard drive data recovery services are often required for irreversible data loss due to scratched platters.

4. Hard Drive Inaccessible:

  • Cause: File system damage.
  • Solution: Use data recovery tools like Disk Drill or try manual HDD recovery fixes.

5. Hard Drive Not Detected:

  • Cause: Compatibility issues.
  • Solution: Attempt manual HDD recovery fixes.

6. Malware Infection:

  • Cause: Malicious software.
  • Solution: Combat malware with reliable hard drive data recovery software.

7. Data Corruption:

  • Cause: File corruption.
  • Solution: Explore manual HDD recovery fixes.

8. Physical Hard Drive Destruction:

  • Cause: Physical damage.
  • Solution: Rely on professional hard drive data recovery services.

Recovering Data from External Hard Drives:

1: Try Hard Drive Data Recovery Software (Disk Drill):

  • Download and install Disk Drill.
  • Launch the application, select the external hard drive, and initiate the scan.
  • Review scan results, select missing files, and recover to a suitable destination.

2: Hard Drive Data Recovery Service:

  • In cases of severe damage, contact professional data recovery services like SalvageData.
  • Follow their workflow, including initiating a work order, packing and shipping the media, receiving an estimate, approving the quote, and finally, receiving recovered data.

3: Try Manual HDD Recovery Fixes:

  • Utilize manual fixes like CHKDSK command, Disk Utility’s First Aid (for Mac), or driver reinstallation.

11 Best Tools to Recover Files from External Hard Drives:

  1. Disk Drill
  2. TestDisk
  3. Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery
  4. PhotoRec
  5. R-Studio
  6. EaseUS Data Recovery
  7. Wondershare Recoverit
  8. Recuva
  9. Data Rescue 6
  10. DiskGenius
  11. Windows File Recovery
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Tips for Increasing Hard Drive Data Recovery Success:

  1. Promptly initiate the recovery process.
  2. Choose the best-suited software for optimal results.
  3. Minimize the risk of overwriting by avoiding unnecessary activities on the affected hard drive.


While external hard drives offer unparalleled convenience, understanding their vulnerabilities and employing effective recovery strategies is crucial. Whether opting for software tools, professional services, or manual fixes, timely and informed actions can make the difference between partial and complete data recovery. Ultimately, regular backups remain the most reliable safeguard against data loss in the event of a hard drive failure.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. How do I recover data from an external hard drive?

  • A: To recover data, you can use specialized data recovery software such as Disk Drill or seek professional services like SalvageData.

2. What causes external hard drive failures?

  • A: External hard drive failures can result from software issues, hardware malfunctions, physical damage, malware infections, or file corruption.

3. Can I recover files from a damaged external hard drive?

  • A: In some cases, data recovery software or professional services can recover files from a damaged external hard drive.

4. Are there free tools for external hard drive data recovery?

  • A: Yes, some tools like Disk Drill offer free versions with limited recovery capabilities. However, more robust features may require a paid version.

5. Is it possible to recover data from a formatted external hard drive?

  • A: Yes, data recovery tools like Disk Drill can often retrieve data from a formatted external hard drive.

6. How does Disk Drill work for external hard drive recovery?

  • A: Disk Drill scans the external hard drive, identifies recoverable files, and allows users to preview and recover them to a chosen destination.
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7. When should I seek professional hard drive data recovery services?

  • A: Professional services are recommended for severe physical damage, clicking or beeping noises, or when software tools are unable to recover data.

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