Dead Hard Drive Recovery: Recover Data from Dead Hard Drives

Learn to perform dead hard drive recovery using three methods after figuring out possible reasons and symptoms of dead hard drives in this article. Besides, you can get hard disk data recovery tips.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

Can a dead hard drive be recovered?


Recently, my Seagate 1TB desktop HDD completely stopped working. It cannot show in BIOS and no question of appearing on my desktop. I had a lot of important files, pic, and projects stored in it. So how do I recover data from a dead hard drive? Thanks.

In computing, dead hard drive recovery is the process of salvaging, recovering, and copying data from unusable, inaccessible, or technically damaged hard drives.


So are you wondering if it is possible to recover data from dead hard drives? It turns out it's possible.

Logical damage VS Physical damage

Please have a closer look at logical damage & physical damage because all of these hard disk failures can be classified as logical damage and physical (mechanical) damage.  

Logical damage

A software-related failure in hard drives is referred to as logical damage.

The hard drive itself is not physically damaged, but its data becomes inaccessible because of corrupted or outdated device drivers, damaged file systems (bad sectors), power outages, etc.

Physical damage

As the name suggests, physical damage refers to hard drives’ moving parts (disk heads, spindles, or platters) become fail. Physical shock, overuse, and power surges are blamed for mechanical failures.

Main symptoms of dead hard drives

◢ Showing as RAW: When trying to access the drive, it may warn that "You need to format the disk before you can use it." In addition, it will show as RAW in Disk Management.


◢ File corruption & bad sectors: Your drive will fail as the number of bad sectors grows. Not to mention reading or writing data.

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD): Blue Screen of Death is an error message demonstrated by the Microsoft Windows or ReactOS operating systems. This screen indicates system crashes, system terminations, or system failures.


◢ Strange sounds: Most mechanically dead hard drives make grinding or clicking noises, while some may never spin up.

How to recover data from a dead hard drive?

Suppose your Windows operating system has detected your dead hard drive, and you’ve executed deleted performances. In this case, seek help from professional Windows data recovery software to recover deleted files from hard drives.

Please avoid newly written performances on your dead hard drive for a higher hard disk data recovery rate. 
Press Win + R to open the Run box and enter diskmgmt.msc in the search bar to open Disk Management. Please wait to see all the detected partitions on your Windows PC.

Without data loss, you could refer to another three solutions to access dead hard drives.

Fix 1. Recover data from dead hard drives with data recovery software

When it comes to problems regarding how to recover data from a dead hard drive, using one of the best Windows data recovery tools - MyRecover could be your second-to-none choice because most users haven’t cultivated an awareness of making regular backups.

Even if the drive is showing as RAW in Disk Management and preventing you from accessing the drive and data, this app can help you achieve dead hard drive data recovery with its excellent features.

Highlights of MyRecover: 
Powerful features: Recover deleted & lost Word, Excel, PPT, folders, compressed files, photos, songs, videos, audio, websites, and other 200+ file types from HDD, USB, SSD, etc. 
Easy-to-find: Quick Scan and Deep Scan can find your deleted & missing files as many as possible. You can also quickly locate your desired files by Filename, Path, Date, Size, etc. 
Convenient: Get deleted files’ original Paths, Filenames, and Format after recovery. 
Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems and be compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Windows Server PC.
  • After recovery, please remember to save these retrieved files in a new saved path.
  • To recover more and more deleted & missing files from your dead hard drive, please consider upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition.   

The sooner you start dead hard drive data recovery via powerful MyRecover, the better chances you’ll have.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. After launching MyRecover on your Windows PC, hover the mouse over your dead hard drive and click Scan.


The RAW hard drive detected in MyRecover will show its capacity; make sure you choose the right partition by checking the size.

Step 2. Filter your needed data according to Name, Date, Document Type, or Path.

  • Name: Type the filenames of your desired files to narrow the search area.
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, and so on) according to your situation.
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, etc) based on your needs.


Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Recycle Bin/Other Missing Files folder and select the data you want. Then click “Recover x files” to begin the hard disk data recovery process.


Fix 2. Update/reinstall your device driver via Device Manager

As a matter of fact, an outdated or corrupted device driver can prevent you from viewing hard drives. Not to mention accessing any files. So you can update/reinstall your device driver to fix it. This way also can help you recover data from inaccessible hard drives.

Step 1. Press “Win + X” and select “Device Manager” to open it.


Step 2. Go to Disk drives and right-click on your dead hard drive. Then select “Update driver” or “Uninstall driver” based on your needs.



Step 3. Click the “Search automatically for drivers” button.


Fix 3. Update BIOS/UEFI to make Windows detect your hard drive

How do I get my BIOS to recognize a new hard drive? BIOS/UEFI is the software that is built into the computer’s motherboard. Please keep your BIOS/UEFI settings be the latest version. Otherwise, your hard drives cannot be recognized anytime.

Thus, please go to the official website of your motherboard manufacturer to download the newest update file before referring to the following steps. Besides, this solution also applies to fixing the Red Screen of Death.

Step 1. Press “Win + I” to open Windows Settings and click the “Update & Security” button.


Step 2. Click “Recovery” on the left. Under the “Advanced startup” tab, click the “Restart now” button.


Step 3. Your PC will reboot into the winRE. Then click Troubleshoot > Advanced options.


Step 4. Select “UEFI Firmware Settings” and hit “Restart” to boot into BIOS.


Step 5. After entering BIOS, choose the BIOS update file from your USB drive. Please wait patiently during the BIOS updates process. Then open the Disk Management utility to reconfirm whether your dead hard drive has been recognized or not.

Bonus tips: How can I protect my computer hard drive? 

Undeniably, prevention will always remain a better course of action than cure. Although Windows features can assist users in creating file backups or system backups, there are several limitations to backup and restoration.

Moreover, only one Windows feature cannot help you back up all your files, folders, partitions, disks, or systems at the same time.

To address your concerns, please consider using this free backup software for Windows-AOMEI Backupper to prevent data loss.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Part 1. Make a File Backup

Step 1. After launching AOMEI Backupper on your Windows PC, select “File Backup” under the Backup tab.


Step 2. Click “Add Folder/Add File” to add the files/folders you need to back up.


Step 3. Designate a saved path to save your copied files/folders. Then Start Backup.


Step 4. After the backup process, click “Finish” to exit the window.


Part 2. Restore files from backups

Step 1. Under the Restore tab, click the “Select Task” button.


Step 2. Select your File Backup and click the “Next” button.


Step 3. Select the specific files/folders you want to restore. Then click the “Next” button.


Step 4. Choose “Restore to original location” or “Restore to a new location” as you prefer. Then click “Start Restore” to begin the restoration process.


Relevant Q&A about hard disk data recovery

How to perform dead hard drive recovery? After figuring out possible reasons and main symptoms of dead hard drives, you can refer to a more targeted fix to recover data from dead hard drives. In addition, there’re some relevant tips about hard disk data recovery.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.