A broken hard drive can be repaired.

When your hard drive heads south, it's a disaster if you're not able to use it.If that is the case, your data is destroyed and your bits are blasted.Is your drive dead, or mostly dead?If the data on your drive is not worth the money to invest in a repair professional, we'll show you how to recover something, but be warned: this information is provided for use at your own risk and should only be used if you need to.Don't use this method if the data means something to you.Continue at your own risk if you throw away or recycle a dead hard drive.

Step 1: The failure needs to be verified.

Make sure your drive is broken by checking things that could cause it to not be recognized.Stop and skip part two if your drive is making a loud clicking noise.Your drive isn't working.

Step 2: Make sure hardware connections are looked at.

If the problem is found to be the best place to start, it is the most inexpensive fix you can make.Make sure the power is on.Nothing will work if the plug or cable is knocked out by the cat.The computer case should be opened.Is the data and power cables in place?No pins are bent, broken, or otherwise damaged if they are seated well.

Step 3: Take a look.

Sometimes the drive isn't dead but the PC board that controls it.If there's a power surge or component failure on that board, your drive will stop working if it doesn't know what to do next.Burn marks or scorch marks are signs of damage.If you see this, it's likely that you're the culprit, and often, this is a problem that can be fixed with relative ease.You can find replacement parts for your drive's make and model on the internet.Don't lose the five tiny screws if you remove the old board when it arrives.The old drive should be removed and replaced with a new one.Do not touch the metal leads on the new board because static discharge could blow it before it ever has a chance to breathe new life into your drive.You can ground yourself by either wearing an anti-static wrist band or touching something grounded and metal.The inside of your computer will usually work.Attach the screws after you slide the new board into the drive.Attach the drive to the computer.If it works, well done!It's a good idea to back up your data, but you're ready to go.Keep reading if it doesn't work.

Step 4: Check to see if the drive is recognized.

If everything is plugged in, and nothing appears to have blown up on the controller PCB, you can check out Windows Disk Management or the Mac OS X Disk Utility to see if your drive is being recognized at all.

Step 5: It's up to you: make a choice.

Finding a professional hard-drive recovery company and paying what it takes to get your data back is important if this data is worth saving.Chances of recovering data professionally will be nil if you attempt anything at all.

Step 6: A quick search on the internet for "hard drive replacement parts" will lead to different directions.

Replacing parts is not usually a good idea for newer hard drives.

Step 7: It's up to you to do it.

The do-it-yourself method, promoted by companies that specialize in providing parts, is a favorite method of brave souls.If you replace the burned out controller board, your drive will come back to life.Maybe it will.There's no guarantee that a replacement will work because the chips on the controller are more and more calibrate for that drive.This is the least expensive option.

Step 8: Hire a person.

This is the only option to get your drive back up and running, or at least have the files on the drive recovered.Turnaround times can be quicker than the do it yourself method, and success is somewhat more assured, but it comes at a cost, which may be worth it if your data is important.If you pay two or three times more than the original cost, you will have to consider the value of the data on the drive.

Step 9: First, read this!

If your drive makes a clicking sound the first time you plug it in, it will cause a loss of data by damaging the magnetic layer on the drive.."Hail Mary" attempts are some of the techniques.This will kill any data that isn't already damaged.

Step 10: Put the drive through a physical test.

Hold the drive in one hand and listen for any noises as you spin it back and forth.If anything is loose, you may cause it to break.If you have an older drive or one that ran very hot to the touch, a seized head bearing is a likely cause.If you open up the drive, you are likely to kill whatever was still able to be saved.

Step 11: It's time to warm it up.

Pre-warm a domestic oven at its lowest setting for a few minutes, then turn it off.Place the drive in the oven for a while.Warming it up will make it die if it has already crashed.The first step is to remove the drive.Continue to the next step if you can't hear anything.Attach the drive to your computer and listen for the spin-up of it and normal clicking that indicates head activity if there is a difference.If you can access the drive, then move your data onto a good drive.If the device needs to be reheated, hold the drive in one hand, spin it and hit it on the hard surface.This may help free the heads from binding.Your hard drive would be dead if anything was still alive on it.The first step should be repeated.Can you hear the movement of the head?Attach the drive to your computer and see if you can access it.If you can hear a click in time with the movement, the chances are that the drive heads are free on their mounts.When you rotation the drive gently through 90 degrees, you won't hear any rattling noises.The loose and disconnected components inside the drive are beyond the scope of this article.

Step 12: It's time to chill it.

A controversial option is freezing the drive.This is a last-ditch effort, and you may only get the drive back long enough to copy off important files, but if all else fails, it's worth a try.Remove as much air as you can from the drive by putting it in a zip-lock bag.For a few hours, put the drive in the freezer.Give the drive a try.If it doesn't work immediately, power down, remove the drive, and then smack it on a hard surface.Attach the drive again.Save your files and toss the drive if it works.If it doesn't, you will no longer be assisted by professional help.!

Step 13: Get some recommendations.

Many companies will offer to repair your drive for a fee.Check their credentials before you pay with cash.Look at online user forums, talk to them, and find out how long they've been in business.Check their guarantee and how much they charge for failure or success.Is it worth it for them to fail?You may not want to pay for a recovery that didn't happen, but if they attempted to repair and failed, they should be compensated.

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