Safely Perform DIY Data Recovery

Listening and Observing the Drive

First, we want to find out if it is safe to work on the drive outside of a data recovery lab.

Do not turn on a drive when:

  • It makes unusual noises like clicking, scratching, or beeping.
  • A short circuit occured which created smoke or burn marks.
  • The cause of data loss was liquid damage.

If any of the conditions listed above is true, performing DIY data recvovery may lead to further data loss.

Check if the Drive Initializes

Using a Windows PC, we want to find out if the drive is initialized. Open Disk Management and plug in the drive to a USB port. Use a USB adapter if the drive is an internal SATA or IDE connection. 3.5″ drives require a 12v power source. Some motherboards require a restart when connecting directly to a SATA port.

If your computer becomes unresponsive for a while, you can unplug the drive to get the computer going again. In this case, the drive is not healthy enough to work on at home.

The drive should appear within 10 to 20 seconds. If it does, continue to check its health.

Check Drive Health with HDSentinel

We use a popular tool called HDSentinel. You can download a trial which will display the drive health for us. Download and install HDSentinel from:

When the program opens, you will see your hard drive in the list along with the health percentage. Having tested many drives with issues, the consensus is that a drive with 100% health will continue to run for years while a drive with 99% or lower health should not be worked on outside of a lab since it will completely fail rather soon.

This rule works for regular hard drives but not SSDs. Drive health for SSDs are usually less than 100% because it is based on the Media Wear Indicator. Do not continue to logical recovery if you suspect a problem with the SSD rather than the filesystem. Reading from a failing SSD can erode the data stored in the flash.

DIY Guides

There are some problems that you can solve on your own without the need to send in your drive. The instructions assume you have experience solving computer problems. Be sure to read the first guide to avoid risk of further data loss. Using this guide is optional. If you prefer, just send us the drive and we will recover your data in our lab for a flat rate of $250.

Safely Perform DIY Data Recovery
Save on data recovery. Find out if you can recover data on your own without risk of futher data loss.
File Recovery with R-Studio
Use R-Studio to recover files from a PC or Mac formatted disk.

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