Our data can never be 100% safe. Despite our best efforts, flood and fire can wipe out all of our precious photos, or vital spreadsheets in a matter of minutes. These are extreme cases, but many times it can simply be a matter of forgetting to do a backup, or misplacing the backup CDs. Sometimes, it seems that a hard drive failure is most likely to happen at these times. Also, given the fact that external hard drives are now more portable, and people are stuffing them in bags and jean pockets, the potential for disaster is even greater. All hope is not lost however, as data recovery from external drive is entirely possible.
Depending on the skill level of the user it may be possible to do data recovery from hard drive themselves, if the drive has not had a catastrophic failure that makes the data completely inaccessible. This is a rarity, and the data is usually accessible through various data recovery programs that have been specifically designed for the task.
The first thing to do is to figure out why your data is inaccessible. There are essentially two ways a drive can fail, the first is through a logical failure and the second could be that the drive has failed mechanically in some way. Mechanical failures usually have telltale signs. The drive making a clicking noise is one indication, another clue is that the drive appears to be completely dead when power is applied, as in it does not start spinning, or give any signs of activity.
Unfortunately, external hard drives that have had a mechanical failure are the most expensive to retrieve data from. Professionals will need to be enlisted to get your data back. Expect to pay in the range of hundreds of dollars for data recovery of this nature. Logical failures on the other hand, are often the cause of corrupted files. It is much simpler and cheaper to retrieve data from an external hard disc, and you can usually manage to do it yourself with a few easily downloadable utilities.
The price of data recovery software varies considerably, but many companies will allow you to use a demo of their product. The demo will scan your external hard drive, and collate the amount of data that will be retrievable should you decide to purchase. Good examples of this type of software are Prosoft’s Data Rescue for PC, Ontrack EasyRecovery, and RecoverMyFiles from GetData.
Hard drive recovery programs all work in a similar manner. The software is installed, and the defective drive is selected as the source. A scan is performed, and any data that can be saved is dumped to a backup drive of the users choice. The data dump is usually organized in to file types, so the user will usually have to go through and manually review the files to see exactly what has been saved.
It is important to do backups in the event of a hard disc failure. But, given the fact that we are human beings leading busy lives, backups often go overlooked. If you are unlucky enough to suffer from a hard drive failure it may be a relief to know that there are ways to recover your irreplaceable photos or that much loved music collection through data recovery from external hard drive software.