By Lora / Last update May 9, 2022

How to restore hard drive? It is certainly a question commonly posed by users. The hard disk, as a delicate device, can easily get damaged under a variety of conditions.

My hard drive crashed after removing a virus. Also encountered slow pc performance. How can I recover all my data, I tried to slave my hard drive but has a local disk error when I click to open it, and a message "do you want to format it now?" appears. Please advise, I really need to recover my data. Thanks in advance.

- Question from CCM


To tell the truth, though it cost much if a hard drive went corrupted and users need to buy a new one, the data on it is heavenly the most important one.  If your hard drive gets corrupted, you must be in urgent need of an effective guide to recover corrupted hard drive.

But do not panic! To fix it is not impossible. Here let’s get started with the factors or triggers of a hard drive corruption first.

Common reasons for hard drive corruption

A hard drive won’t die for no reason. Check for the triggers as follows to see if you have run into the same or similar situation.

Improper shutdown. If the power was abruptly shut off when booting up or the computer is forcibly shut down, it is very likely to do damage to the hard drive, like causing partition table corruption, partition loss, or even data loss.

Dusty running environment. Dust causes considerable harm to the hard disk. Hard disks can absorb dust particles easily in the air, thus hindering the heat dissipation of electronic components. Then the hard disk may get burned because of the electric leakage.

Wear and tear. After a long period of use, the platter and the head assembly are prone to wear out, especially the head assembly with a very precise structure.

◆ Virus and malware. For instance, CIH is a malicious virus that can harm the hardware of the computer system. It destroys the data on the computer system's hard drive completely, and rewrites certain computer motherboard's BIOS, on the other hand.

How to restore hard drive?

After getting some basic impression on hard drive corruption problem, we can smoothly come to the second part, cases of a dead hard drive. Here it is divided into two kinds according to the status of the data - data accessible or data not accessible.

How to restore a crashed hard drive? Now the methods are introduced correspondingly. Check if it is suitable for your specific problem.

Case 1. Data accessible – Restore hard drive after backing up

If your hard drive went wrong somehow, but the data on it is still available, the very first step for you is to recover data from dead hard drive immediately. Here users can achieve this by creating a backup.

Phase 1. Back up the data via AOMEI Backupper

Professional backup software can save users from labor-costing operations and wisely manage the backed-up data. AOMEI Backupper can help users quickly back up each item they desire with its simple operation and versatile functions.

Block-Level Backup, also known as image-level backup, improves the backing up efficiency.
Incremental and Differential Backup. A wise scheme saves your time and space.
Scheduled Backup, automatically create backups daily, weekly, monthly, saving time and labor.
File Sync. File sync or backup to cloud, NAS, local disk, or external hard disk.

Steps to operate are offered here.

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Step 1. Download and run AOMEI Backupper. Go to Backup in the toolbar, and select File Backup.


Step 2. Click Add Folder/Add File or drag the files you need to back up to the panel. Several files or folders can be added, also, you could select the path to save according to your needs.


Step 3. Click Start Backup. It may take a period of time, please wait patiently.


After that, you could check the backed-up files in the target location.

Phase 2. Restore the hard drive

And then, it is time to fix the hard drive.

Method 1. Format the hard drive with Disk Management

One of the simple and most commonly used methods of hard disk damage is to format the hard disk and then re-partition it. This method can fix some logical errors on the hard disk.

Now follow the steps here to perform hard drive recovery.

Tips: Make sure you have selected the correct disk before deleting it.

Step 1. Right-click on the Start menu, and go to Disk Management. Locate the disk you need to format, right-click on the partitions, and choose Delete Volume to delete them one by one.


Step 2. Then right-click on the unallocated space, and select New Simple Volume.


Step 3. Then come to the New Simple Volume, and click Next.


Step 4. Specify the size of the new volume, and click Next.


Step 5. Assign a drive letter to it, and click Next.


Step 6. Here you need to format it before use, name it according to your preference, and tick Perform a quick format.


After that, reboot your PC, check if the hard drive is in good condition then.

Method 2. Restore the hard drive with inbuilt tools (for Windows and Mac users)

How to restore a crashed hard drive? The methods about how to restore a crashed hard drive are provided for Windows OS users and macOS users.

For Windows OS users - Restore the hard drive with Disk Management

How to restore hard drive Windows 10? There is another feature users could utilize except for Disk Management.

Tips: If you are using an external hard drive, please make sure it is connected properly to the computer via USB.

Step 1. Exit all the running programs, restart your PC. Then go to This PC, right-click on the dead hard drive, and choose Properties.


Step 2. Go to Tools > Check.


Step 3. When it detected errors on the drive, click Repair this drive.


Then it will begin to repair the hard drive. The duration depends on the size of your data on it, please wait in patience. After that, you could check if the hard disk runs normally or not.

For macOS users - Perform hard drive recovery with Disk Utility

How to restore hard drive Mac? For macOS users, there is also an embedded tool that users can take advantage of.

Disk Utility may fix issues including several apps exiting abruptly, file corruption, external devices not operating properly, and a computer that won't boot.

Tips: Here, you need to run First Aid on each volume on the disk one by one, and finally run First Aid on the disk itself.

Step 1. Select Disk Utility in the utilities window in macOS, then click Continue. Click View > Show All Devices in the toolbar.


Step 2. Locate the disk that needs recovery, start with the last volume of it, and click the stethoscope icon named First Aid in the toolbar. Then click Run.


Step 3. Then run First Aid to each volume from the last one to the first one, then each container, and lastly, the disk itself. When finished, click Done.


Then you could check if the hard drive recovery is successfully performed. If this did not help or failed, try again, or try to back up your data, and then format it.

Or else, you could format it first, and recover data from Time Machine.

For macOS users – Recover data with Time Machine

Time Machine is a built-in and free backup software for Mac. It will save your personal data automatically, such as programs, music, images, etc., including permanently removed stuff from the trash.

Step 1. Locate the folder which contains the lost files, find the Launchpad icon in the Dock, and go to Time Machine > Enter Time Machine.


Step 2. Find the files you need to recover and click Restore.


Then your files and data will be back.

This part is for the situation that data on the hard drive is still accessible. Then how about when data is not accessible? Check it in the next part.

Case 2. Data inaccessible – Restore hard drive after recovering the data

If you cannot get access to the data on the corrupted hard drive, the first action would be to recover the data first, and next, fix or replace the hard drive.

Phase 1. Recover data/files via Windows File Recovery

How to restore a crashed hard drive, especially the data? Users might as well utilize powerful data recovery software. Windows File Recovery, a free command-line utility released by Microsoft can facilitate Windows users to restore a crashed hard drive.

Windows File Recovery utilizes recovery modes and switches to scan your drive and retrieve the files you need. To make a better use of this app, you could refer to "How to use Windows File Recovery" and learn more info about the recovery modes and switches.

Step 1. Here, to get deleted files back, you need to check your file system first. Go to This PC > right-click on the corrupted hard drive > Properties.


Step 2. Choose a recovery mode according to the File System and the data loss scenario/condition of your hard drive.

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. Choose switches according to your needs. Switches can help target the file type/path/name.

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. Get Windows File Recovery in Microsoft Store.


Step 5. Input the command:

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

Here the source drive and destination drive cannot be the same, or you may run into the error "failed to create destination folder".

For example:

winfr C: D: /regular /n *.jpg


Using this command, this app can recover your lost pictures from C: drive to D: drive.

Please mind the command syntax, or you may meet the error "there was an error parsing your command".

If you find it too difficult to recover deleted files using commands, you could also utilize a free tool - WinfrGUI.

WinfrGUI - Free & Easy  Windows File Recovery alternative

Help users recover deleted/lost files from HDD/SSD/USB/memory cards under Windows 11/10.

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WinfrGUI fully invokes the function of Windows File Recovery and offers users an intuitive graphical user interface, which is user-friendly.

What's more, it can help users restore permanently deleted files from hard drive.

WinfrGUI fully invokes the function of Windows File Recovery, which will not guarantee 100% success in data recovery.
Quick Scan supports all File Systems; Deep Scan applies to non-NTFS drives.
Source drive and target drive should be different.

Step 1. Run WinfrGUI > select the corrupted hard drive > choose another healthy drive as a destination.


Step 2. Choose a scanning method. Deep Scan is recommended. If needed, target file types/path/name in Advanced Settings.


Step 3. Click Start Recovery and get precious data back easily.


Recover hard drive data at a high recovery rate via professional Windows data recovery software

Since Windows File Recovery is difficult due to demands and syntax, also, WinfrGUI cannot ensure a high recovery rate, why not choose a much more efficient Windows data recovery tool?

AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows 

Restore deleted or lost data from HDD/SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7 SP1 & Server at a very high speed.

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AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows, a professional data rescue app designed by the leading benchmark in the data security industry, is equipped with advanced scanning algorithms and methods.

Now let's take a look at its highlights compared to Windows File Recovery and WinfrGUI.

Enable users to restore deleted files with their filenames, directories, and formats intact.
Recover 200+ types of data.
Scan the hard disks at a relatively high speed and success rate.
Apply to all data loss situations.
Support Windows OS 11/10/8/7 SP1 and Server.

When a system crash occurs, relying on this tool will be your second to none choice.  

Step 1. Launch the program > select a location to start > Start Scan.


Step 2.  During the process, you could directly recover the files it detected, or also, you could wait for the complete scanning result.


Step 3. Select the data you need > Recover x files.


Thus you could have all the data recovered and restore hard drive without worries. In addition, this utility can also help users perform SD card data recovery very easily.

Phase 2. Restore hard drive

After extracting the data, now users could perform the repair. To realize it, Command Prompt can be utilized.

Method 1. Restore hard drive with Command Prompt

The in-built tool Command Prompt is also useful, but quite dangerous for green hand users. It requires cautiousness.


· Please make sure you have made backups or extracted data from the hard drive before clean it!

· Please make sure you select the right hard drive to format before doing any operation!

· Press “Enter” to commit your operation in every step.

Step 1. Input cmd or Command Prompt in the search bar of Windows. Choose “Run as administrator”.

Step 2. Input diskpart in the panel.

Step 3. Input list disk to list all the disks.

Step 4. Input select disk 2. Here users need to input the number of the corrupted disk on your device.

Step 5. Input clean to clean all the data on it. Make sure you have chosen the correct hard drive!

Step 6. Input clean partition primary size=247460 to create a new volume on the hard drive. The size of it depends on your own disk.

Step 7. Input activate to activate the new partition.

Step 8. Input quick format to fix it by formatting.

Step 9. Finally, input assign letter=D to give a name to it.


Method 2. Restore hard drive with AOMEI Partition Assistant

Though Command Prompt can be a good helper, it is quite dangerous for users who are not equipped with any troubleshooting experience. It is likely for them to input wrong commands and cause severe problems.

So rather than operating formatting by yourself, it would be much safer if you try professional software AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Here are some of the shining points of AOMEI Partition Assistant.

★Shining points:
Well-designed. Concise and clear interface.
Easy-to-operate. Provide users with easy steps, and help users even without troubleshooting experience and computer know-how.
Highly-compatible. Support Operating Systems like Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP.
Powerful. Supported by a team with 10+ years of experience. A standard for partition management software.

Now follow the steps to fix the hard drive in a breeze.

Tips: This feature is free in this program, you could enjoy freeware.
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Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard version. Right-click on the partition of your corrupted hard drive, then choose Format Partition.


Step 2. Give a name to the newly created partition, then choose a type of file system. It is recommended to select the original file system but not to change it. Then click OK.


Step 3. Finally, check whether you have selected the correct type and click Apply to confirm.


Step 4. If there is more than one partition on your corrupted hard drive, please repeat the operation to the others.

Thus you have successfully conducted hard drive recovery safely and easily.


In this article, users could be helped to perform hard drive recovery, with some embedded tools in Windows and Mac, and some professional software, the problem “How to restore hard drive?” could be properly settled.

When the data on your hard drive is still available, you could back them up first, and then fix the hard drive; if the data is inaccessible, users could extract data from it and then repair it.