Data loss due to broken drives or hardware failure is not uncommon. Despite the increasing reliability of today’s drives and flash storage, there will still be times when we sit in front of the computer and experience the horror of losing years’ worth of photos, memories, documents and other files. It can happen to all types of storage too.

The first thing you need to do if you happen to come across this situation is remaining calm. I know; it’s not always easy to think clearly, especially if you have important files now completely inaccessible. Remaining calm is actually important since it will help you avoid mistakes that may damage your files further. These recovery steps and options will help you get started with the process of getting your files back.

Recovering the Files Yourself

It is important to keep in mind that the lost files – just like deleted files – are often still in the drive. You just can’t access them, either because of a hardware failure or due to a software error. The latter is much easier to handle and you have a high probability of getting your files back if it’s only a software issue.

Never try to write into or format the drive. Instead, try to get the drive recognized by your computer. If it’s your main hard drive that’s broken, install a fresh drive, get the operating system back up and try to see if the broken drive is recognized.

Next, use a reliable data recovery software to scan the broken drive. If you’re lucky, you will see old files appearing on the recoverable list. All you have to do next is restore them to a fresh drive and you’ll be able to breathe again soon afterward.

But what if the drive is unrecognizable?

Deep Recovery Solutions

If the drive is still completely unrecognizable even after you try plugging it into a different machine, it is time to bring the big guns and explore the issue further. For hard drives, you may be able to hear clicking noises or other unusual sounds coming from inside. Hardware failure on flash drives is trickier to detect since they don’t have moving parts.

Most of the time, it’s the system files of the drive – the partition or other elements – that are broken. You can restore the partition using suitable software or the operating system’s built-in partition management tool (i.e. Disk Management on Windows). If you’re not sure what to do, however, it’s time to move on to the third solution.

Let Professionals Do the Hard Work

As mentioned earlier, making changes to the broken drive can lead to losing your files completely. If you have no idea what to do or you don’t know how to complete the previous steps we’ve discussed in this article, it’s best to leave the recovery to professionals.

Work with local data recovery specialists in getting your files back. If you live in New York, for example, search for the best data recovery services in Manhattan and have specialists look at the broken drive for you.

Try not to panic. It is often possible to recover files from a broken hard-drive, so all is not lost.