There is a general lack of knowledge about problems caused by damage to computer hardware. Many people feel that such damage causes a loss of data there is there on the hard drive. However there is software available that can assist hard drive failure data recovery. There are also a number of service providers who specialize in recovering data from hard drives. There are a number of processes that are used to recover such lost data and these will depend on the computer configuration and the operating system being used. Some processes restore sections of data that have been deleted by mistake, even if such deletion as been deliberate.
Most such data recovery and even external hard drive data recovery uses software that looks for the empty sections and then replaces the information that has been deleted or lost. Such software is effective when there has been no physical damage to the hard drive, either the one in the computer or the external one. Such software is also partially effective where there has been physical damage to the devices. The operating system being used does make a difference and different software is used for the commonly used Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems.
Windows operating systems are the most common and there is a lot of software, some of it free, which can be used to recover data. The type of software that is best will depend on the extent of damage and the repairs required to the hard drive. Mac data recovery systems are also available , but if not correctly used can cause irreparable damage to the data and the hard drive and thus negate any efforts. Linux recovery software is normally fully automated and is very user friendly.
In all cases, depending on the extent of the damage, it is best to use the services of professionals who are expert in the use of such software and give results. Such services are expensive, and it is necessary to assess the cost of replacing the data manually, before hiring such experts. If you are buying software for recovery these costs must also be separately assessed. Finally the cost of replacing the damaged hard drives or external recording devices also needs to be estimated.
It is essential to understand how files are stored before you go into any data recovery mode. Most data is organized into sectors and clusters and tables that give an idea of the location of such data. Deletion leads to only deletion of the flags in the table. This tells the computer that such locations are free for use. The actual data continues to remain there till it is overwritten by other files or data which are being directed to this location that has been marked as free. So recovering such data is fairly simple, and one of the first things to do when data is lost, is to stop using the system so that there is no further activity on the hard disk which can overwrite the sectors where such data is stored. This is especially true where such data is saved on the system disk, as even when new data is not being saved, the system itself can use these so called free sectors and thus eradicate the data. One of the best things to do in such cases is to stop using that hard drive, disconnecting and installing another one if necessary. If the file has been saved in another part of the disk that has been partitioned off, it is safest to stop using that particular drive, till the data is recovered.