It’s important to regularly invest time and attention in backing up any essential data stored on your computer. Because all hard drives end up failing at one point or another, creating a backup of your information as often as possible is crucial.
If, however, you are like the rest of us and completely forgot about backing up your data until a dead hard drive was staring you right in the face, here is something you can try before throwing your hands up in despair. It takes a bit of work to extract data off a dead hard drive, but it can often be done with the help of a handy little device called a USB universal drive adapter.
Instructions for recovering a dead hard drive
First, make sure that there are no internal broken parts and that the hard drive failure is not due to actual physical damage.
- Unscrew the hard drive from its mounting in your computer
- Perform a visual examination to check for burn marks or other damage
- Gently shake the hard drive from side to side and listen for rattling
- Shake it up and down as gently as possible to check if the heads are loose
If there any signs of external damage or internal broken parts, you may have to pay for an expensive data recovery operation. If your data is so important to you that the cost doesn’t matter, talk to a specialist in data recovery to find out your options.
If no damage was apparent and there were no rattling noises coming from inside the drive, you may be able to recover your information using a USB universal drive adapter.
Universal Drive Adapter
To perform this simple recovery operation you will need a USB universal drive adapter, available from any electronics outlet for about $30, and another computer or laptop. Boot up the other computer and connect your failed hard drive to the USB port of the computer using the USB universal drive adapter.
You may have to wait anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes for the new computer to install the software used by the universal drive adapter and then recognize your hard drive. Depending on how damaged your hard drive is, the computer may not even recognize it at all.
If your hard drive is recognized by the computer, you are safe. Open the My Computer window and wait for a new icon to appear with the letter of the alphabet that will represent your hard drive. You can now browse around inside your drive and check what data is recoverable and what might have been lost.
Unfortunately, if your hard drive has suffered a great amount of damage, you may not be able to use a USB universal drive adapter to recover its data. If your computer does not recognize the hard drive, the extent of the damage done to it was too large and you will have to take it to a data recovery specialist. For most mild failures, however, a universal drive adapter can work wonders.