[Free] How to Recover Data from Corrupted Hard Drive with Ease

Hard drive corruption is always frustrating, especially when valuable data is lost. Fortunately, you can learn some useful ways here to easily recover corrupted hard drive data from internal and external hard drives.


By Lora / Updated on June 20, 2024

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When using the hard disk, no matter how careful you are, it is relatively inevitable that some failures will occur, resulting in data loss, or worse. At this point, you have 2 things to do.

● Recover data from damaged hard drive

● Fix a corrupted hard drive

If you don’t know how to make it, continue to read this article, get the symptoms and possible reasons for the corrupted hard drive as well as the corresponding methods below.

Recover Corrupted Hard Drive and Data

The reasons for hard drive corrupted

Sometimes, your internal hard drive or external hard drive may get corrupted and not recognized or accessible in Windows 11/10/8/7. Usually, hard disk corruption is caused by these reasons:

  • File system corruption
  • Power and connection failures
  • Virus attacks
  • Bad sector
  •  Improper operation
  • Physical damage

How to fix a corrupted internal or external hard drive? The most direct way is to format the hard drive, but this will erase all data on it. If you want to recover a corrupted hard drive without formatting it, you can try several useful methods mentioned below.

How to recover files from a corrupted/damaged hard drive

To prevent irreversible data loss, it is recommended that you recover data from damaged hard drive before recovering them. The most direct way is to try MyRecover, a top data recovery tool with a higher recovery success rate.

MyRecover MyRecover
Corrupted Hard Drive Recovery Tool
  • Deal with data loss caused by deleted, corrupted, formatting, or system crashes.
  • Recover 200+ file formats: images (JPG, PNG, DNG, TIFF, etc.), videos (MP4, MOV, AVI, etc.), MS Office and WPS files, folders, compressed files, websites, etc.
  • Advanced scanning methods: Automatically run Quick Scan and Deep Scan to search all the recoverable files.
  • Easy-to-find: During scanning, you can filter and preview your needed files according to filename, file format, saved path, storage size, deleted date, etc.

Support NTFS/exFAT/FAT32/ReFS file systems and Windows 11/10/8/7/Server. 

Step 1. Connect the corrupted hard drive to the working PC. Then, click the partition and click Scan.​


Step 2. Next, Quick Scan & Deep Scan will automatically scan all the lost or deleted files on the selected hard drive.


〓 To find specific files, you have 2 faster ways in the following:

#1: Type the file name in the Search for files or folders box.

#2: Use the Filter feature if you don’t remember the full name of the file. It has 3 options below. - Type, Data Modified, Size.

● Type: It will contain all the file types in the local drive, such as images, videos, documents, mails, webpage, compressed files, etc.
● Data Modified: It supports today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and custom.
● Size: It allows you to filter file size from less than 128KB to 128KB ~1MB to 1MB ~ 512MB and above, or custom.

To recover deleted Word documents with the Filter feature: Click Filter > Type and select Documents. Then, input DOCX in the Search for files or folders box. It will list all of the detected Word documents on the drive. 

Search for Word Files

Step 3. Select all the files you want to recover and click Recover x files. Then, select a location to store these files and it will retrieve files to the selected folder automatically.


 MyRecover will display the number of files to be recovered and their entire size.
 It still allows you to recover files from formatted hard drive, external hard drives, USB drives, etc.
 Select a new location to store the deleted files. Retrieving files to their original location may overwrite the space occupied by lost or deleted data, resulting in data recovery failure.
 MyRecover still supports to recover deleted files from Windows Server 2016, 2019, 2022, etc.

How to fix a corrupted hard drive without formatting

In case of a physical failure of the hard disk (which is usually irreversible), contact a professional hard disk recovery service.

On the contrary, if you are experiencing logical failure, then you can try the following ways to recover the damaged hard disk, some of these tools are included in your OS without downloading.

▶ Solution 1. Fix disk errors on a corrupted hard drive

Windows offers you the disk check feature to find any disk error and fix what they found on the corrupted disk. If your disk has problems, try it.

Step 1. Start This PC or My Computer. Right-click the corrupted hard drive and select Properties

Step 2. Then go to Tools on the upper-left side and click Check


Step 3.  Click Scan Drive to find any error on the disk and fix it.


▶ Solution 2. Repair corrupted hard disk using CHKDSK

The chkdsk command is the command-line version of disk check and it is more flexible to repair corrupted hard disk. Not only repair disk errors, it also helps to find out bad sectors on it and mark the space unusable.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box, select it and Run as administrator.​

Step 2. Type chkdsk d: /f /r. Replace d: with the drive letter of your corrupted disk.

Chkdsk f r


  • The /f parameter is to fix any found errors.
  • The /r parameter is able to fix any errors on the disk, search for bad sectors and mark the space as usuable.
  • To forcibly dismount the corrupted disk, you need to add the /x parameter.
  • If you don’t add any parameter, this command only displays the disk status and does not fix any errors.

Step 3. If the corrupted disk is a system disk, it will ask you to run this command at the next system startup. Type yes and press Enter to restart the system now.

▶ Solution 3. Maintenance of the corrupted hard disk 

You can also start system maintenance to scan and fix disk errors on this corrupted hard drive.

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security and select Security and Maintenance.​


Step 3. Scroll down to Maintenance and click Start maintenance.​


▶ Solution 4. Scan for Viruses

If you still cannot access your disk, it is feasible to run antivirus software like Windows Defender or third-party software - Norton Power Eraser to scan for viruses and remove them.

If you want to use Norton Power Eraser, please download Norton Power Eraser on another working PC. Because installing software on the corrupted disk may overwrite the data loss space, making data recovery more difficult.

Step 1. Connect the corrupted hard disk to a working PC and launch Norton Power Eraser.

Step 2. On the main page, click Scan for Risks. It will fix any potential risk to your system.

Scan for Risks

▶ Solution 5. Fix a corrupted hard disk with SFC & DISM

If your disk damage is caused by a file system error, you could try SFC and DISM commands to check the corrupted system files and replace it with a working version. In addition, the DISM command also be able to verify to file system integrity and ensure there is no corruption remains.

Step 1. Press the Windows + X keys and go for the Windows PowerShell(Admin) option.

Step 2. In the command prompt window, type sfc /scannow and press Enter.

SFC Scannow

Step 3. Then, type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth and press Enter.



  • If you modify any system files, like DLL files, this method will revert them back to their original state.
  • If your system fails to boot, you can access to Windows recovery environment and launch Command Prompt here.

▶ Solution 6. Update or reinstall the disk drivers

The disk drivers are responsible for communication between the operating system and hardware. If it’s outdated or corrupted, your system may not recognize your disk well. So you could try to fix a damaged hard drive by updating or reinstalling the drivers.

Step 1. Press the Win+R keys, input devmgmt.msc and press OK to start Device Manager.

Step 2. Expand Disk drives and find the corrupted hard disk. Right-click it and click Update drivers.


Note: To reinstall the disk drivers, click Uninstall Device and complete the rest of the steps. Then restart your system to get new available drivers.

Step 3. Click Search automatically for drivers.


Step 4. Click Update drivers, it will automatically download and install SSD drivers. Then, restart your computer to make the change take effect.

▶ Solution 7. Directly format the corrupted hard disk

Formatting is the last resort to repair a corrupted hard drive since it will delete data on the disk or erase the disk completely, depending on the selected disk formatting option.

Step 1. Right-click the Start menu and select Disk Management.

Step 2. Right-click the damaged hard drive and select Format.


Step 3. Check the Perform a quick format option if you don’t want to erase this disk and click OK. Conversely, uncheck this option.


How to prevent disk corruption and data loss

While it is difficult to avoid wear and tear on the hard drive day by day, you still could take good precautions to prevent damaged disks due to viruses, disk format, file system errors, overheating, etc. Below are some feasible suggestions to help you.

  • Be careful with any operation (eg: format) on your drive. Any bumps may cause damage to the head or platters. 
  • keep your drive away from extreme heat or humidity.
  • Regularly update the drives and software on your PC.
  • Back up your disk or important data regularly to minimize data loss due to hard drive corruption. 
  • Do not visit dangerous websites containing viruses.
  • Keep antivirus software like Windows Defender on. You still could use third-party software like Norton Power Eraser.
  • Stop using this drive after data loss. This may greatly increase data loss risk.

Among them, the best way is to create a disk backup including the operating system, installed programs, personal data, drivers, etc. It gives you a chance to recover data from a corrupted hard drive and get your entire disk back quickly. I strongly recommend you free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard to create a scheduled backup.

Step 1. Download and run disk backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. Select Backup > Disk Backup.

Disk Backup

Step 2. Click + Add Disk button to select the disk you want to backup. Then select the new disk to store the backup image.

Add Disk

Step 3. Click Schedule Backup and enable Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event trigger or USB plug in option. Then click Start Backup to backup the entire disk automatically.

Schedule Backup

FAQs for recovering corrupted hard drive

✍  What happens if a hard drive is corrupted?

If your hard drive is damaged, you may find your computer performance greatly slow down, even worse, you cannot access the drive and data on it. You may also receive error messages like “The file system is displayed as "RAW" or others.

✍ Can formatting HDD fix a corrupted hard drive?

This is one of the ways to repair a damaged hard drive, but it is not recommended if you don’t try other methods. The full format option will completely erase the drive, rebuild all its file structure and scan the disk to make sure everything is in working order.

✍ How to recover corrupted hard drive without formating?

Before repairing corrupted disk, you need to find out the cause of your problem. Then you could run disk check feature, sfc & DISM, virus scan, etc to fix it.

✍ How do I get files off a hard drive that won't boot?

You can choose to access the Windows recovery environment or another working PC and then move your data to a new location. Please connect your disk if it’s an external hard drive.

✍ Can HDD last forever if not used?

Even if you don’t use the disk, it will go bad one day in the future. It has lube or grease in the bearings of the main spindle or shaft. But over time, these lubricants will dry out.


This article introduced you to the symptoms and possible reasons for corrupted hard drives and how to recover corrupted hard drives as well as data on them. It’s worth mentioning you need to recover data first. Otherwise, the lost or deleted data may be overwritten, making data recovery more difficult. The most effective method is using data recovery software like MyRecover.

There are many things you can do to avoid corrupted hard drives and data loss. The best way is to create a disk backup at a regular time. Even if your disk is physically damaged, you still can restore the disk including everything to a new one. Try free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.