Guard your data.
The best way to recover data is to open a previous version of the item. If you remember to save often while you’re working, you won’t have to use any of the steps outlined below to recover it.
But if that was the answer to everything, you wouldn’t be here looking for tips on how to recover data from your hard drive.
If you forgot to save your work, there may still be options for a full or partial recovery.
Try these savvy tips below to restore the work you lost and get back on track.
Table of Contents
Don’t Empty the Recycle Bin
If you can help it, don’t empty the recycle bin or trash on your computer before you’re sure you don’t need those files anymore.
Check first in the Trash folder for your file or an old copy of the file. If it’s there, you can right click on the file. Click “Restore” and you’re all set.
It may seem simple, but sometimes we freak out a little and forget to check the trash before we assume the data is lost forever. This is definitely the first thing everyone, tech-savvy or not, should try before getting into more advanced recovery options.
Make Sure It’s Your Hard Drive
If the file you need isn’t in the recycle bin, you need to check the hard drive to see if it’s the actual problem.
Boot your drive with another computer.
You can do this by holding down the T key to open Target Mode on a Mac, or with a USB cable if you’re on a PC. As long as you can access the files without a problem, the hard drive is functioning as normal.
You should be able to reinstall the operating system and keep using the hard drive (remember to back up all the data first).
Try Disk Drill
Plug your failed hard drive into a working computer and download Disk Drill for your operating system. Install and open the program, and then choose your drive. Click scan, and look at the list of files it found.
If you’ve found your file, all you have to do is click “Recovery” and you’ll have your data back. Whether you’re using the computer for business or personal work, this method should get the job done.
Best Tip for How To Recover Data from Your Hard Drive
Sometimes the best thing to do is hire a specialist. If the disks inside the hard drive (called platters) are spinning, but you hear a clicking noise, you need someone who can work on your drive in a lab.
The problem could be you have failed heads or a damaged platter. Data recovery specialists will be able to take a look and diagnose the problem, and they can let you know if they are hopeful that it’s fixable.
When Your Hard Drive Croaks
There is nothing like the sinking feeling in your chest when your system crashes or you lose all the work you’ve spent hours on. Recover data from your hard drive.
You can try checking the recycle bin, verifying the problem is the hard drive, using Disk Drill, and hiring an expert. There’s a good chance one of these options will get you back to work as soon as possible.
For more helpful tech articles, read more of our blog at Florida Independent.