Hard Drive Data Recovery depends on the cost factor

Hard Drive Data Recovery

A hard drive stores information such as programs, documents, and music. Inside a hard drive is a platter which spins at 5,400 RPM (revolutions per minute) and a magnetic head which closely hovers above the platter to access information. If the computer is bumped or dropped the head can come in contact with the platter damaging the drive. If you think you have a bad hard drive, turn off the computer and call us. In most cases we can recover data if it’s brought in soon enough. Prolonged use causes further damage making it difficult for us to retrieve data.

Bad Hard Drive Symptoms

Symptoms of a bad hard drive include:

  • Clicking, Cycling or grinding noises coming from the drive.
  • Blue Screen crashes
  • “Operating System Not Found”, “Error writing to page file” or “Registry Corrupt” Error Messages.
  • Not booting to windows
  • The computer is slow or unresponsive for long periods of time

Early Detection

Modern hard drives have sensors to detect component failure. Collectively the sensors are called S.M.A.R.T. (“Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology”), for more information on reading the S.M.A.R.T. sensors.

Data Retrieval

Hard Drives fail for different reasons such as servo or platter damage. Depending on the cause we can image the drive skipping over the few damaged sectors and recover the bulk of your data. Continuing to use your hard drive after it begins to fail will cause further damage. It’s important that your data is transferred before complete failure. Give us a call, we can evaluate the damage and transfer your data before the drive completely fails.

Detecting a Failing Hard Drive with S.M.A.R.T.

Your hard drive holds data such as documents, pictures and music. Replacing your hard drive before it completely fails can save you thousands of pounds in data recovery costs. One method to detect hard drive failure is to read the S.M.A.R.T. (“Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology”) values.

Step 1:  Download gsmartcontrol-0.8.7-nogtk.exe (1.5 MB)
Step 2: Install the downloaded program
Step 3: Now run the program


Step 4: Now select the hard drive that needs testing


Step 4: Now select the perform test tab


Step 4: Now click on the execute button


Step 4: The test should take a couple of minuets. If the test resulted in errors give us a call to see what can be done.

Interpreting the Data:
SMART uses thresholds to determine whether a drive is failing. Each manufacture defines what they consider failing which is why SMART is very subjective to interpretation and often misunderstood. SMART registers the current value, worst value, warning threshold, and event count. Once an attributes value drops below the warning threshold the drive is considered bad by the manufacture and should be replaced however many manufactures use unrealistic values making it almost impossible for the drive to fail a SMART test. By interpreting the values yourself you can gauge the likelihood of failure.

Attribute values usually start at 100 or 200 and decrease as the drive ages. Event counts are useful for spotting bad sectors while reading the current value then comparing it to the warning threshold is good for Read Error Rates.

Raw Read Error Rate:
If your hard drive is slow check the Raw Read Error Rate value, it is possible that the hard drive is having trouble accessing sectors. Compare the current value to the warning value, if it is close (within 20 or 30) consider replacing the drive. For example, let’s assume the drive had a starting current value of 100, now it reads 50, and warning is 30. You can interpret that as the drive having 50% more read errors and your drive is near the failing threshold.

Reallocation Events:
If Windows is blue screening, stalling/freezing, or displaying page file errors check the Reallocation Sector Count, Reallocation Event Count, and Current Pending Sector Event Counts. If they are NON-Zero it means the hard drive encountered a bad sector and remapped it with a sector from the spare area. Hard drives have a spare area of sectors, when a bad sector is encountered a sector in the spare area is used as a replacement. I often find that even if a sector is remapped there is further damage to the platter and replacing the drive is a good idea.

Using SMART values is an excellent way to evaluate the stability of a Hard Drive. You can debate at what point a hard drive is considered bad however if your data is important why risk loosing it especially when new hard drives are inexpensive.