If you have not backed up your data, a hard drive failure can be a scary and frustrating experience. In this article, we will cover possible ways how you can potentially fix a hard drive corruption. A corrupted hard drive will cause reliability, precision, speed and overall degraded performance to the user. By performing regular system maintenance you can prevent these kinds of symptoms and serious issues from occurring and ultimately avoid the disaster of losing critical data from a Hard drive failure. Just like your automobile, if you keep up with servicing of your computer and deal with errors and issues there will be a decreased likelihood of hard drive or hardware failure resulting in loss of important or sensitive information.
Although slow system performance or sluggish computer operations are the primary signs for you hard drive becoming corrupt, you may also face some different symptoms such as frequent computer stalling, blank or blue screens, random reboots and a shortage of memory space in your hard drive, all of which are issues that require immediate attention.
If your corruption is preventing your PC fro m booting contains important data, then you should use a data recovery software to extract the photos, music, videos and other files before they’re gone forever. Here are some great data recovery tools you can use.
What causes Hard Drive Corruption?
File System Corruption
When a drive is formatted with a file system such as NTFS, FAT16/32, exFAT, etc., it creates a table containing important information where file records are stored. NTFS creates Master File Table (MFT) while FAT file systems stores these records in File Allocation Table (FAT). Every time you cut/copy/paste or just edit a file you will enter a record of this action into the table. These file records contain the physical address of the file on the hard drive along with other file details such as file format, creation date, modification date, size, etc. When this table is damaged, the OS can’t recognise the file system and thus, shows drive as RAW and unreadable.
Heat, water and shock are dangerous for external hard drives and can cause external or internal hard drive corruption. The electronic parts are very sensitive to these external factors. They can corrupt electronic parts or the read-write head of a drive. All this will lead to many errors, data loss, etc. So be really careful with your laptop or computer, despite the fact that the operating manuals may call it waterproof or bulletproof.
Lack of Ventilation
All electronic components generate heat but too much heat is bad news. If your computer is starting to get hot then this can lead to hard drive corruption. Some people don’t pay any attention to extremely high temperatures on their computer and do nothing about this. Hard drive parts are not heat-resistant, so make sure your ventilation is never blocked by anything.
Other External Factors
Even static electricity can lead to mechanical failure. If you keep the computer in extremely dry conditions, it can lead to a static electric discharge and crash as a result. Also, environmental impacts can lead to fatal consequences for your computer. If you drop your laptop frequently, don’t be amazed when it suddenly crashes. Even if you are very careful with your laptop, but you took it camping, it can get broken. Better to store the laptop at home or in the office.
This kind of damage involves software, not hardware. It can happen because of malware errors, human factors or corrupted files. You can do a quick hard drive fix with third-party recovery software if everything is OK with the hardware. To avoid sudden data loss, if you experience a lot of computer crashes, back up your data. Logical failures can be treated much more easily and cheaply than other failures.
Older style hard drives are built with mechanical components and are still available in some computers on the market today. There are a lot of sensitive moving parts that turn very quickly for a long time. If one of these parts become faulty and cause mechanical failure, this could lead to loss of data.
How to fix a corrupt hard drive
Try the hard drive on another PC, if your PC can’t detect it
It might be possible that only your PC can’t read the hard drive and you need to repair hard drive accordingly. Connect the storage media to another PC, maybe you get a sense of relief by seeing it work on another PC.
If it works, then there might be some issue with the device drivers installed on your computer that needs to be fixed. You can reinstall your hard drive’s drivers by visiting This PC (right-click) > Manage > Device Manager. Right-click on the name of your hard drive and click Uninstall. Now, restart the computer and connect the hard drive. The drivers will start installing automatically in most cases.
Run Checkdisk to check for errors
Windows has an inbuilt tool for hard disk recovery using which you can check storage media, internal or external HDD, for errors. In various cases, Windows will automatically ask you for drive scanning when you connect the drive to the machine. If it doesn’t happen, you can visit This PC > Drive (right-click) > Properties > Tools tab. Click Check.
However, if you are not sure which drive name shows the hard drive then you can go to Programs from Control Panel to look for Documents and Settings. Simply right-click on the directory name this folder is situated under.
- Click on the Properties option and then choose Tools
- You will find the option for Error-checking where you have to click on Check Now While continuing with this process, you will have to ensure confirmation for all kinds of message alerts and password for the administrator so that it is successfully completed.
- Now, you should click on the option of ‘Automatically fix file system errors’.
- After this, the user is required to click on Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors so that it could easily find and repair various hard disc errors. At the last, you will need to click on Start and wait for the repairing process to fetch some fruitful results.
Using built-in Windows CMD tools
The Check Disk utility is used to fix a corrupt hard drive with the windows cmd tool. We use Check Disk for repairing corrupt flash drives and SD card also works for rotating hard drives and SSDs. It can be accessed in the Properties of a connected hard drive. For hard drive recovery, you also use Check Disk or chkdsk using the command line.
- To start the corrupted hard disk repair process, open Command Prompt in Admin mode (Right-click Start button and click Command Prompt (Admin)).
- Type the following command to start the error checking and fixing process for your internal or external drive:
chkdsk C: /F
where C is the drive letter.
You can add more options to the command to make the scan process more rigorous.
chkdsk C: /F /X /R
/X If required, it forces the volume to dismount before the scan.
/R Locates bad sectors and recovers readable data.
- Press Enter. Press Y if the system asks you for a restart (in the case of internal drive).
- Wait till the Check Disk utility repairs your hard drive for errors.
Chkdsk might not be a fool-proof solution but it works in many cases and might help you repair your external or internal HDD without formatting. If it fails, then you can consider the option of formatting your drive by visiting Windows Explorer.
A quick format would work but if you want you can go for the full format option. Just untick the Quick Format check box. Please note that this will take more time than normal, even hours in case of a hard drive that’s 1TB in size.
Run SFC Scan
SFC scan helps fix the damaged or missing Windows system files that may cause drive corruption. The scan checks system file integrity and replaces a corrupt or damaged system file with a cached copy stored within the system.
- To run the SFC scan, open an elevated Command Prompt window and type sfc/scannow
- If the drive is external, type sfc /SCANNOW /OFFBOOTDIR=c:\ /OFFWINDIR=c:\windows
- Replace letter c: with your hard drive letter.
That’s it. Wait for the scan to finish and then restart the system. Check if you can access the drive now.
Run Antivirus Scan
Connect the hard drive to a Windows PC and use a reliable antivirus/malware tool to scan the drive or the system. Sometimes, viruses and malware can cause such errors. Thus, an antivirus scan may repair the corrupt hard drive and make the drive accessible.
- It is recommended by computer experts that you should create a backup of all computer data and information.
- Also, you should note here that repairing the corrupted hard drive will take some time which may range from 30 minutes to few hours. You should have patience and wait for the process to get completed.
- If the problem does not get solved or tackled by this process, you may want to look at reinstalling your Operating System or seeing a technician for advice.
If you have not backed up your data, a hard drive failure can be a scary and even frustrating experience for anyone who is facing potential data loss. Hard drive recovery can actually be a simple thing that can be done in a couple of steps. Even if you are not a computer specialist, there may be some quick and easy steps you can try to recover the data back or even just get the hard drive functioning again so you can perform the backup. I hope these easy tips outlined here can help you in the event of a hard drive corruption or failure.