Can you repair a broken hard drive?

You only realize how much you depend on your computer when something goes wrong. Or how much data you store that you never want to lose until your hard drive stops working. The data recovery experts here at Dave’s Computers in New Jersey contend with these issues every day. Perhaps the most common question we hear is ‘can you repair a broken hard drive?’

The answer is, sometimes. Most often it’s a case of trying to recover data from the drive and copying it to another before a drive fails for good. That’s why we always recommend backups for just this situation.

Repairing a broken hard drive depends entirely on the type of drive it is and the manufacturer. Newer SSDs cannot usually be repaired as they have no moving parts and are essentially flash memory soldered onto a chassis. Older hard disk drives can occasionally be repaired, but again, it depends on the manufacturer and what happened.

Checking for a broken hard drive

Issues with your computer OS reading your drive may not be a physical problem but a software one. If you see messages like ‘Cannot read drive D:’ or ‘Unable to access drive D:’ this could be either a physical or software problem. Rather than trying to fix it yourself, I suggest bringing the computer or just the drive to our data recovery team for us to check it out.

Before you do that though, take a look inside your computer to make sure all the connections are secure between your motherboard and the hard drive. This is especially important if you have been inside your computer case for any reason.

If Windows doesn’t recognize your drive or cannot read it but your system BIOS/UEFI does, it could be a system error rather than hardware. If you use Windows, open a CMD window, navigate to the drive having issues and run the check disk utility. For example, if your D: drive is playing up, do this:

  1. Open a CMD window as an administrator.
  2. Type ‘CD D:’ and hit Enter.
  3. Type ‘chkdsk /f /r’ and hit Enter.
  4. Allow the process to complete.

This utility is built into Windows and is pretty good. It can detect and automatically repair many kinds of software issues with your drive and could have you back up and running again.

If you use MacOS, you can use Disk Utility to check the SMART Status of your drive. This checks everything to much the same level.

If Windows really cannot access the drive, chkdsk won’t work so you had better bring your drive to Dave’s Computers in New Jersey. Our data recovery guys should be able to work their magic and recover your data even if we cannot repair the drive.

Those old tricks of putting your hard drive int he freezer or using impact mechanics don’t really work so you are much better off trying to save what you can and replacing the drive. If you have any questions at all about hard drives or data recovery, contact us and we will help.