Full Tutorial: How to Recover Files from Broken Hard Drive

Do you know how to recover files from broken hard drive? In this article, we’ll look at ways to recover data from corrupted, damaged or dead hard drives, as well as various methods for fixing them.


By Ellie / Updated on April 2, 2024

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How do I recover files from a broken hard drive Windows?


I have a broken hard drive taken from a Windows computer. But there are important files in it. How do I recover files from a broken hard drive?”

-Question from Quora

Broken Hard Drive

Is your hard drive physically damaged or logically damaged?

There is a lot that can go wrong with a hard drive. It’s important to differentiate the states of a broken hard drive because the data recovery plan will differ in each scenario. Normally, a broken hard drive can have 2 different states: physically damaged or logically damaged. Let’s see what they refer to and what causes the damages respectively.

Physically-damaged hard drive

Physical damage to a hard drive can be caused by the following reasons:

  • Shake or bump. When using an external hard disk, the platter and internal head assembly both rotate quickly, and the disk is easily scratched if hit by an outside force.
  • Extreme temperature (overheating or too cold). While monitoring computer hardware, many applications will monitor the hard disk temperature and provide a high-temperature alert to help users understand the state of the hardware.
  • Humidity or liquid. Humidity can cause the hard disk power supply plug to oxidize and corrode, which can lead to poor contact, the insufficient voltage being supplied to the hard disk, and the hard disk failing to be detected.
  • Wear and tear. A mechanical hard disk typically has a lifespan of no more than ten years. Hard disks have a lifespan and will deteriorate over time.

Data recovery from physically damaged hard drives is particularly challenging. You should send your important data to a professional recovery agency for processing if losing it could result in a sizable loss. A small tip: you are recommended to back up the important files on your hard drive using AOMEI Backupper to avoid the unexpected happens and causes data loss.

Fix Broken Hard Drive

Logically-damaged hard drive

Logical damage to a hard drive can be caused by the following reasons:

  • 🔋 Abrupt power outage. The abrupt shutdown of operations caused by a power outage can damage the files and the drive if you're using the computer and hard drive at the time.
  • 🔄 Faulty Windows update. Your hard drive could become corrupt as a result of updating Windows if the file system is corrupted.
  • 💾 Bad sectors. Bad sectors, which indicate hard drive damage, are regions of the hard drive where data cannot be written. This is typically caused by incorrect read and write operations, such as forcibly turning on and off the computer, software that is operating incorrectly, etc.
  • 🦠 Virus attacks. Despite antivirus software, malware and viruses frequently infect computers. There is a good chance that the hard drive will get infected as a result of losing data.

Luckily, logical damages are not fatal to hard drives. Normally, you’re able to recover data from logically-damaged hard drives to some degree with the help of a professional data recovery tool.

How to fix logically-damaged hard drive

Before recovering files from broken hard drive, we’ll introduce 3 methods that may help you fix the logically-damaged hard drives first.

Method 1. Fix broken hard drive through Disk Check

First of all, you have to check the status of your hard drive.

Step 1. Start This PC or My Computer on your PC, and right-click your hard drive.


Step 2. Click Properties.  Then go to Tools on the upper-left side of this panel. Click Check.


Step 3.  Click Scan Drive.


Then the scanning process will start. Possible errors in the hard disk will be detected. If there are any bad sectors or clusters in your hard drive, they will be reported to you. And then, to recover those errors, follow Method 2 right below.

Method 2. Repair broken hard drive using the CHKDSK command

Using an in-built recovery tool is an advisable way to perform corrupted hard drive recovery. This method can help you fix some bad sectors and some errors.

Step 1. Start Administrator Command Prompt, click Run as administrator.


Step 2. Input chkdsk and press Enter.


Step 3. Then input chkdsk d: /f or chkdsk d: /r.


The Recover command in CMD could also help you recover readable info from a corrupted hard disk. When the scanning and fixing process is finished, restart the computer and now you have successfully performed the damaged hard drive recovery.

Method 3. Recover broken hard drive through Control Panel

Running a scan through the Control Panel is also practicable.

Step 1. Start Control Panel on your PC.


Step 2. Click System and Security > Security and Maintenance.


Step 3. Go to Maintenance and click Start maintenance.


How to recover files from broken hard drive [logically damaged]

In this section, we offer 2 options on how to recover files from broken hard drives, especially logically-damaged hard drives.

Option 1. Recover files from broken hard drive with MyRecover

The first tool you can try is MyRecover. It is the software that is highly suggested for recovering data from broken hard drives. It is available in various file loss situations, for example, disk formatting, virus attacks, accidental deletions, system crashes, and so on. Let’s see how to recover data from damaged hard disk free with MyRecover. 

Before starting, download, install and launch MyRecover on your computer.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Hover the mouse over the damaged hard drive > Click Scan.

Select Partition to Scan

Step 2. The tool will automatically search your hard drive to find lost data. You can type some keywords of the files in the search box to quickly find them.

Scan Lost Data

Step 3. Choose the files you want to recover > Select a place to save them. (You can recover any files during the scanning process)

Recover Lost Data

Option 2. Retrieve lost files from broken hard drive with CMD

The second option is to retrieve lost files from broken hard drives with CMD. Specifically, we’ll use a tool called Windows File Recovery. Let’s see how to recover files from broken HDD with it.

This tool only supports Windows 10 2004 and above.
If Windows File Recovery failed to create destination folder, please get help.

Step 1. Go to This PC > right-click on the formatted hard drive > click Properties. Check the File System.


Step 2. Choose a recovery mode. Extensive is recommended.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

Step 3. Select switches to narrow the scanning range and target your files faster.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment

Step 4. Go to Microsoft Store > click Get to install Windows File Recovery.


Step 5. Run the program > input the command:

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

For example, if you need to recover deleted photos from C: drive to D: drive, then the command will be like:

winfr C: D: /n *.png


Closing words

This post primarily introduced how to recover files from broken hard drives. We suggest you fix the broken hard drive first and then recover you files. 3 solutions to fix a broken hard drive are mentioned. Ater that, we recommended 2 tools to recover files, MyRecover and Windows File Recovery. As you may see from the steps, MyRecover is much easier to operate. Recovering files from broken hard drives, time is the money. So, try MyRecover to quickly get back your files.

Ellie · Editor
Ellie, a professional and experienced writer who is good at solving iOS-related problems and writing iOS backup/transfer tips.