It happens to anyone who works in a field where computers are used on a regular basis … eventually, a computer will break. Most repairs are not too hard to deal with, but hard drive crashes are especially devastating. What does it mean when a hard drive crashes? Well, it can be either a software or a hardware issue, but one thing is certain … when a hard drive goes down, a person's data is in jeopardy, and for all intents and purposes, their data is now on life support.
Hard drives can be damaged physically or logically, and both have dire consequences. For physically damaged drives, care has to be taken that the data can be recovered without further damaging the drive and losing data. This is often done by trying physical repairs on the drive, or using a variety of proprietary techniques. Physical damage is usually the more serious of the two types of hard drive damage, and it is much harder to deal with than logical damage.
Logical damage to a hard drive can be a bit easier to fix, but the repairs still need to be done by a professional. It does not take much to hit a wrong couple of keystrokes and wipe out a disk. Typically, when there is logical damage, files will either show as being corrupted when one tries to open them, or when a person turns on his or her PC, they will get a message similar to “No OS Found” on the main bootup screen on their PC. When logical damage occurs, the data is still physically there, but it is inaccessible, most likely due to corruption of the file system or partition table.
Logical damage can often be fixed by data recovery companies using special software tools specifically designed for this purpose. Sometimes the file system itself can be fixed, but sometimes all that is recoverable is the raw data. If the raw data is all that is recoverable, the restoration of the data can take quite a while, and be a bit expensive, but if the data is important, people often do not have a choice.
Regardless of the type of damage to a hard drive, it is important to realize that all hard drives fail over time. The best way to counter data loss is to have a good backup, but if a person is caught without a good backup, they can often use a company that specializes in data recovery to get their much needed data back.