How to Recover Photos from Corrupted Hard Drives? (2024)

This article guides you on how to recover photos from corrupted hard drives and recommends a data recovery tool for easy retrieval.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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What happens when the hard drive goes corrupted?

Today, it is normal to use storage devices like hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, etc., to store important files like family photos and work documents for easy access.

But, sometimes, things are not going very well. Once the hard drives get damaged or corrupted, accessing the stored data, including your photos, can become a challenge.


Hard Drive corrupt. Stuck with damaged filesystem PLEASE help


I lost 2.5 years’ worth of photos with my girlfriend on this hard drive and trying so hard to recover these files as they hold sentimental value. When I plug in the hard drive, it shows up as local disk: f and has no data; when I click on it, it asks me to format it. I should also note that there is no physical damage to the drive; it appears to be something wrong with the software component.


- Question from CGSecurity



You may be in a similar plight since you notice some symptoms:

✍ Clicking noise. If weird noises coming from the hard drive, it indicates physical damage to the head/platter or other delicate structures.

✍ BSOD. Some software and hardware level problems or errors might arouse a blue screen or a white screen of death, stopping you from accessing your data.

✍ Restarting loop. Sometimes, you may find your computer runs into a problem loop after corruption.

What’s more, you may receive these warnings:

  • “Disk not formatted. Do you want to format now?”
  • "Sector not found."
  • “Location is not available.”
  • The file system is displayed as "RAW".

Then why would a hard drive go corrupted? Let’s take a look.

Why does the hard drive get corrupted?

Hard drive corruption can happen due to various reasons.

  • Physical damage. An untidy environment, sudden jolting & dropping, static, etc., can damage the hard drives and cause bad sectors.
  • Electrical surges or outages. Sudden shutdowns can interrupt the data writing and reading, causing file system errors, etc.
  • Human errors. Improper operations like force/unexpected ejections can harm the file system or cause some logical/physical errors.
  • Virus and malware infections. Viruses maliciously harm the file system, Master Boot Record, etc., causing severe data loss sometimes.

Data loss can be frustrating and stressful, especially for important files like photos or work documents.

The good news is that it's possible to recover data from a corrupted hard drive with the right tools and techniques.

This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on corrupted hard drive recovery.

How to recover photos from corrupted hard drives?

Data recovery software is a reliable and efficient way to recover data from a corrupted hard drive since it does no further harm to your affected hard drives and scans the hard drive quickly to locate your photos.

There are many popular photo recovery software; among them, we sincerely recommend the top-rated photo recovery app – MyRecover.

Step 1. Download & install MyRecover for free

>> First, download and install MyRecover on your computer. This program will perform a quick & deep scan of your hard drive to locate lost photos. You will get helped by its impressive features.

MyRecover - Recover data in a breeze
  • Support 200+ recoverable data formats, including 42 kinds of images: JPG/PNG/GIF.
  • Data recovery from internal and external hard disks, including SD cards, USB devices, HDDs, and SSDs.
  • Reduce waiting time by allowing users to preview/sort/filter/choose, and recover data while scanning.
  • Compatible with NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, ReFS, Windows 11/10/8/7/Server, etc.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Using the free version, you can choose 30 MB of files to recover each time. Upgrade MyRecover to the Pro & Tech editions for limitless data recovery on many devices.

It now offers Monthly, Yearly, and Lifetime subscription options. Select the version that best fits your needs and preferences.

Step 2. Start scan

You can check your drives' status, size, and used space on this window.

>> Launch MyRecover > let the program recognize the devices on your computer > hover mouse on the affected device > click Scan.


If the software fails to locate your drive, please click the Reload button or check the data recovery FAQ to fix it.

Step 3. Filter/sort/preview photos

The software will automatically search for lost data using Quick Scan & Deep Scan at this stage. The Quick Scan is currently for NTFS drives, while the Deep Scan can find your data on non-NTFS drives.

>> Previewing, sorting, and filtering are accessible when scanning; for example, you might restrict the scanned result by sorting the discovered files by Type, Size, Date updated, Path, etc.


Additionally, you may change the size of the displayed icons (big or small) as you like.

Step 4. Choose photos to restore

The scanned files will be categorized into their file type, such as Images, Documents, Webpages, Compressed files, etc.

>> Go to Deleted files/Other missing files/Recycle Bin; thus, you can recover deleted photos from computers. Click Recover x files after choosing the wanted data > select a preferred place to store the recovered files.


Remember, it is better to save them to another drive than the original drive.

How to fix corrupted hard drives?

Besides learning how to recover photos from corrupted hard drives, it is necessary to fix the corrupted hard drive after data get recovered. Now, you could follow the methods here to bring it back to like.

Method 1. Run SFC scannow

If the hard drive gets corrupted due to corrupted system files, try fixing them. System File Checker (SFC) is a built-in tool in Windows that can scan for and repair corrupted system files.

If SFC scannow found files but was unable to fix them, check the tutorial to solve it.

Step 1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.

Step 2. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter. This can scan the system files and replace the corrupted files with a cached copy.


Method 2. Use the CHKDSK command

CHKDSK is a command that can scan and fix physical or logical errors on a hard drive file system. As file system corruption is one of the big reasons for hard drive corruption, we could try fixing the damaged file system using CHKDSK.

If CHKDSK is not working, refer to the guide here.

Step 1. Start CMD as administrator.


Step 2.  Input chkdsk F:/f to fix the corrupted file system.


There are also some other available parameters: /r, /x, etc. The /r parameter can also recover data from damaged hard drives, but it is obviously inconvenient, and the data recovery rate is relatively low.

When you see the notice: “Windows has made corrections to the file system.”, the problem has been settled.

Method 3. Use Error checking tool to fix corrupted drives

This tool is also built into the Windows operating system and is used to check the disk’s health. It can scan the disk for bad sectors and fix any errors.

If you find the corrupted hard drive invisible in File Explorer, it indicates that the file system is lost/damaged; you may need to format it to generate a file system. Please move on to the following method.

Step 1. Open File Explorer and right-click on the corrupted hard drive.

Step 2. Select Properties > click on the Tools tab > click Check under Error checking.


Step 3. Click Scan Drive to start the corrupted hard drive recovery.


Method 4. Format the corrupted hard drive

This tool is used as a last resort if all other methods fail. Formatting the hard drive will erase all data, so it's essential to back up any critical data before doing so. Formatting will also fix any bad sectors and errors on the disk.

Disk formatting wipes all files on the hard drive. To format hard drive without losing data, please make sure to back up the drive.

Step 1. Right-click on the start menu > click Disk Management.

Step 2. Right-click the corrupted drive > select Format. Choose the file system and allocation unit size.


Prevent future data loss

Data loss due to a corrupted hard drive can be a frustrating and stressful experience, but there are ways to recover your lost files.

Using a reliable data recovery software tool like MyRecover, you can easily recover photos from corrupted hard drives and other types of lost data.

However, prevention is always the best strategy.

  1. Regular Backups:

Backing up your data is one of the best ways to prevent data loss. You can use cloud storage/external hard drive/professional data backup tool for Windows to create regular backups of your important files, including photos.

  1. Power Surge Protection:

Power surges can damage your computer hardware, leading to data loss. Using surge protectors or uninterruptible power supplies protects your computer from power surges.

  1. Virus Protection:

Viruses can corrupt your hard drive, wipe/move/modify/delete/corrupt your files. Install reliable antivirus software and keep it updated to protect your computer from virus attacks.

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.