How to Repair a Damaged Hard Drive

By Michael Arcand

Computer hard drives can become damaged in a variety of ways. When a hard drive becomes damaged, you may lose valuable data or experience a program that no longer will function correctly. Many times such damage can be corrected and the drive restored to functional use. However, there are times when physical damage occurs and it is no longer possible to safely use the hard drive. In this article I will present the standard method that is freely available to anyone for the testing and repair of their computer's hard drive, using Microsoft Check Disk.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Windows Operating System (Vista shown)
  • Microsoft Check Disk program

Step 1

Find the "Check Disk" program by first clicking on the start menu in the lower left corner of the computer screen. Locate the "Computer" or "My Computer" selection and click on that tab.

Step 2

Right click on the hard disk drive that you wish to repair. This will open up another options menu. Here you will select the properties option.

Step 3

Click on the "Tools" tab from within the "Properties" dialog box. Here you will see three options: error checking, defragmentation and backup.

Step 4

Click on "Check now" to select the error checking option. At this point Windows Vista will ask your permission to continue. Select continue to approve the process and run the Check Disk program.

Step 5

Check both boxes on the Check Disk options dialog box. These will allow the program to not only check for problems with files but also check the physical features of the hard drive for any corrupt or bad sectors. Once it identifies bad sectors, they can be mapped out to avoid any future data loss. Once you start the scanning and repair process it can take anywhere from several hours to a day or more depending on the size of your hard drive and how much data is located there.

Tips & Warnings

  • Disable screen savers in order to prevent them from interfering with the scan.Reboot in safe mode and use last known good configuration if scanning creates any problems or causes the computer to hang.
  • Never stop a scan by turning off the computer. File damage and data losses can result.Never attempt to open a hard drive for physical repair. Damage to the platens will result from any dust particles present in the air.If a hard drive is making abnormally loud noises, backup your data immediately and plan on replacing the hard drive as soon as possible.