There are plenty of reasons as to why you might not be able to access data from your laptop’s hard drive and plenty of options that might let you examine the drive and recover some or all of your data.
Remove The Drive And Examine Its Condition
Turn off your laptop, remove the battery and flip it over. Locate the hard drive cover by looking for the symbol showing three disks and remove the screws. Most if not all laptops have hard drive ‘cradles’ that you’ll need to unscrew before removing your hard drive. Very carefully examine the hard drive to see whether it is bent or damaged in any way. Data is stored on a fragile disk within the hard drive enclosure so the worst case scenario would be hear sounds that indicate a broken disk.
Connect The Drive To Another Computer
You’ll need a USB drive enclosure or SATA to USB cable to connect your hard drive to another PC or laptop. If you can access the drive from another computer then you have to option to use free data recovery software like ‘Recuva’. This will let you browse and restore files that may have been deleted. You should bear in mind that trying to do this could exacerbate any damage caused. It may be time to consult a data recovery expert.
Splash The Cash
If you fail to either access the drive or recover files from it using free software, one way or another you’ll be parting with some serious cash. You’ll be lucky to find serious data recovery software for less than $100 but if you want to recover data from a connected drive in OS X, this is your next step. If you find a data recovery firm than charges under $100 per hour, consider yourself lucky. You need to make a decision early on as data recovery firms advise you to stop using the drive as soon as you lose data. Although they can recover data from drives that have been reformatted or even physically damaged in some cases, any efforts that you make before deciding to go to a specialist may inadvertently be causing further damage.
Bringing Out The Big Guns
Data recovery is serious business but it’s become more affordable in recent years. If you can find a firm that offers a ‘no-recovery-no-charge’ policy, your bank manager will thank you! Expect to pay a non-refundable fee for the experts to examine your drive; any sum under $100 will be a steal.
Will I Need To Extend My Overdraft?
Every hard drive will fail eventually and data recovery can run to several thousand dollars or more. It depends on the amount of data to be recovered and the length of time it takes. It’s important to find a company that clearly explains the implications of their pricing structure before you decide whether to go ahead. The most costly recoveries are when the drive has a physical problem and needs to be sent to a dust-free facility to be examined and repaired.