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How to Recover Your Data if the Hard Drive is Not Accessible

Updated on by in Tutorials

The hard drives are capable of storing massive amounts of data. Based on your requirements, you can have an external hard drive, aimed at storing your files in a secure and portable way.


While all your files stored on the external drive, you can carry it along with you and access it whenever required. All you have to do is, hook up the hard drive to a Windows-based computer, and then open it. However, you need to be very careful as far as the maintenance of the hard drive is concerned. Otherwise, you may get your drive corrupt or your computer most likely fails to detect it.

In spite of the hard drive got corrupt or the computer failed to detect it, another deadly scenario that may cause massive data loss is, the computer reports that the external drive needs to be initialized or formatted before using it. You might get shocked when you see the error message, as the hard drive was already formatted and contained data. In this situation, you failed to access your data, as you cannot open the hard drive. Well, I suggest going to Disk Management, and then opening it. In case you are able to get into the hard drive, go for data back up immediately. However, getting into the hard drive in this manner is not certain. See the following scenario for more details:

“I plugged-in my external drive to my Windows 7 PC, but it did not show up in My Computer. I opened Disk Management and luckily found my hard drive listed there. When I tried to open it, I saw the error message saying, “Hard drive needs to be initialized”.

As per the aforementioned scenario, something is wrong with the hard drive. Either the drive has got it file system corrupted or the MBR has some issues that caused the drive detection failure. Well, the following are the issues responsible for such an unusual state of the hard drive:

  • The file system corruption or a like issue is reference to the hard drive makes it completely inaccessible. In fact, the corruption in the file system of a hard drive leads to the hard drive failing to read/write access the hard drive. In such a situation, the data stored on the hard drive goes beyond the limits of accessibility.
  • MBR (i.e. Master Boot Record) is a special boot sector of the hard drive that lies at very beginning sector of partitioned mass storage drives. All the abnormal activities like power surges, abrupt system shutdown, and like incidents result in MBR corruption. In case the MBR gets corrupt or fail, it becomes almost impossible for OS to boot from its boot drive.
  • Virus/malware infections may also be responsible for hard drive becoming inaccessible. In case the hard drive becomes does not show up in the Windows Explorer, it has most likely been corrupt. Consequently, the stored on the drive is no longer accessible.

When the computer fails to detect the hard drive, it is most likely corrupt. In contrast, if the hard drive is detected but not accessible, the most likely chances are for the file system to be corrupted. Although the data stored on the hard drive is not accessible, you can bring it back to life by using hard drive data recovery software. In the below section, see how the data recovery software can help you to get your inaccessible data recovered.

The hard drive is detected, but you cannot open it to access your files. Scan this drive with data recovery software, and then recover all your files intact. Once you recover these files successfully, I suggest formatting this hard drive, and then moving all the files back to the drive. Furthermore, keep your crucial files backed up so that there should not be a like situation coming again. Mentioned below are the key steps you will follow for data recovery using a commercial data recovery software:

Note: Open the outer case of the external drive, and then install it on your PC like an internal drive using SATA cable.

1. Run the data recovery software on your PC.
2. Highlight the corrupt hard drive amongst the drives connected to or installed on your PC.
3. Select the recovery option and scan the hard drive for data recovery.
4. Select all or only the required folders in the scan result, and then proceed to data recovery.
5. Select the destination* drive and proceed to save the recovered files.

*The destination drive should not be the same as the one from which the data is recovered.

In case you format or initialize the hard drive when it prompts, it results in formatting the hard drive clean. Consequently, you lose all the data that cannot be recovered because the file system is refreshed.

Once you get your files recovered successfully, make sure you save them at a secure location. For this, you can use a network drive or save them individually on your email server. To back up your files, use a reliable data backup tool that is compatible with your PC. Make sure the backup tool or if the recovery tool is required, choose it carefully. In fact, the recovery would be reliable if the hard drive data recovery tool used was authorized.

Author: Oliver Powell

Oliver is an enthusiastic writer and tech explorer. Currently working Stellar Data Recovery Software, leaders in providing world class data recovery software and services.

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