How to Fix a Crashed Hard Drive

By Nichole Liandi

A crashed hard drive can be very frustrating. Not only may you have current work and information stored on your hard drive, but you may also have large amounts of music, photos and other personal items stored on the drive. The possibility of losing this information can give pause to the stoutest of hearts.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Recordable CD
  • Hard-drive recovery program

Step 1

Identify that the problem is actually with the hard drive. Your computer may not be working properly, but that may not be the fault of the hard drive. Eliminate the obvious first -- is the computer getting power? Is the monitor working? Are all the peripherals connected properly? If these all check out, try rebooting the computer and see if that solves the problem. Take advantage of any technical information or manuals you may have to diagnose the problem. If you can isolate the problem to your hard drive, then proceed.

Step 2

Power down your computer. Remove the outer panel and locate the hard drive. It will be in a thin sealed case with several power and other cables connected to it. Disconnect the cables -- they'll unsnap easily in most cases. Locate the screws holding the hard disk drive, or HDD, in the case and unscrew them. Remove the HDD and sit it to the side.

Step 3

Using a search engine, look for "hard drive recovery services." You'll get a list of companies that specialize in recovering the data from broken or corrupted hard drives. Call or contact several of them, describe your problem, and get a quote for recovery of the data on your drive. There are several commercially available programs that promise that they can recover data from a crashed HDD, but their use is limited to some very specific situations, and attempting to use them with a truly crashed HDD can conceivably make the problem worse. If you want recommendations on good companies to go with, check out the forums at

Step 4

Follow the company's instructions on how to send the HDD to them. You may have to wait a while, but the money spent recovering your data by professionals is well-spent.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't continue trying to use the drive once it has crashed -- you may cause even more damage.