By Ivy / Last Updated January 30, 2018

About hard drive crash

Hard drive crash, namely hard drive damage, is mainly caused by two types of reasons: logical damage and physical damage.

The logical damage belongs to soft failure. And it includes partition table lost or damage, MBR damage, tracking servo information error, system information error and section logical error.

The physical damage belongs to hardware failure, which cannot be fixed easily. And it contains all kinds of failing component on the hard drive, including Scratches on a platter, head wear, circuit board's short circuit and chip burning, etc.

Can you recover files from a crashed hard drive?

Here are some symptoms related to hard drive crash:

  • Invalid media type reading drive.
    Abort, Retry, Fail?
  • The file system is displayed as "RAW".
  • Windows may ask if you want to format the drive by warning "disk not formatted. Do you want to format now?"
  • File names contain "weird" characters.
  • "Sector not found" messages.

When you see one of the symptoms above, your hard drive may be damaged or corrupted. But your files still on the crashed hard drive. Now, here comes a question: how to recover data from damaged hard drive?

To recover data, you can try data recovery software. Besides, you still can restore files from backup if you have.

How to recover files from a crashed hard drive?

As mentioned above, you can use data recovery software or backup to recover data from corrupted hard drive in Windows 7/8/10. see below, choose the proper way for yourself.

  • Use a data recovery software

To recover files from a crashed hard drive, it's not wise to install any data recovery software on the hard drive you want to recover files. This might actually overwrite your data. Thus, you need to use the existing hard drive as an external hard drive and install the data recovery software on a different disk or computer.

Step 1. Copy data from the existing hard drive if you still can access the content on another computer. If not, you can use data recovery software.

Step 2. Download the free data recovery software TextDisk, and open it.

Step 3. Under this window, you need to click Create to create a new log.


Step 4. click Proceed after you select the drive which was holding your files.

Step 5. Select the partition table type: Intel

Step 6. Choose the Advanced option, and then select a partition. You can choose partition with NTFS, FAT32, FAT16, FAT12 as well as ext2 file system.

Step 7. Use the left or right arrow to select the Undeleted option at the bottom.

Step 8. Select the lost files via : or a

Step 9. Copy the files via c or C.

Step 10. Select a destination path for the lost files.

Step 11. Press q to quit the existing window after your files are recovered.

Today, you can recover files via various data recovery software. But most recovery software cannot restore all kinds of files. For instance: Some data recovery software is able to retrieve emails. Some data recovery software can recover the passwords related to financial and bank transactions.

If you want to recover all your files as musch as possible, you need a comprehensive software. However, the cost is high. And you'd better ask a professional for help. You may cause further media damage or permanent data loss if you improperly use data recovery software.

Want an easier way, you can restore files with a backup and restore software. I recommend you free AOMEI Backupper Standard.

  • Use a backup image

backup image can restore all of your files as long as you create a file backup ahead of time. If you have, see the detailed steps in the following. If not, you still can create a file backup with free AOMEI Backupper and save it to an external storage device like USB flash drive after your problem is solved. After all, no one can promise that your hard drive will not crash in the future. And backup image is the sure-fire way to protect your data.

Detailed steps:

Step 1. Plug the USB flash drive you store backup image into a working computer and make sure it can be detected.

Step 2. Download AOMEI Backupper on a working computer, open it.

Step 3. Click Restore to summon the next window.

Step 4. Select file backup image from the list. If you do not find your backup image, you can click Path and select it from your USB flash drive.

Backup Image

Step 5. Select a backup point.

Backup Point

Step 6. Select the files you want to restore.

Step 7. Select a path to save your files. You can restore files to USB flash drive, external hard drive, cloud drive like Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.

Step 8. Click Start Restore.

Signs before hard drive crash

No matter what happens, there are signs. Hard drive crash is not an exception. Here are some signs related to disk crash:

1. A weird sound comes from computer when it's started normally.

2. You receive Boot failure like sector not found occurs.

3. CHKDSK runs at startup automatically.

4. When you format partition, the operation gets stuck in a stage.

5. When a file is reading or a program is running, hard drive read error like file corruption or blue screen occurs or the process takes too long.

6. When your data disappear or you cannot save documents, your hard drive may have viruses.

Once one of the signs appears, you must take some measures to protect your personal data or computer. Backup can be one of the best ways. You can backup files to external hard drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, NAS, etc.


How to recover files from a crashed hard drive is still a problem for many users. Because they depend too much on data recovery software. But most data recovery software cannot recover all of the files.

One of the best way to protect your data is to backup your files in advance and save it to a safe place. Then, you can recover files from corrupted hard drive at any time.