Is Free Data Recovery at Home Possible?

While many problems with storage media require professional expertise to fix, free data recovery at home is certainly possible – but there are some caveats.

It’s important first to ascertain what the cause of your data loss issue is, before determining whether free data recovery is possible. If your machine won’t power up, or your hard drive is making an unusual noise such as a grinding, beeping, ticking or clicking, then it is best to leave data recovery to the professionals. Computers and laptops that utilise hard disk drives are expected to make some noise, after all, hard drives are mechanical devices.

Being mechanical devices containing a number of moving parts such as the read/write heads, magnetic platters, and spindle motor, hard drives are particularly susceptible to physical damage. Knocks or bumps, or just general wear and tear, can cause a hard drive’s internal components to fail. As mentioned above, hard drives do make noise, but noises that are out of the ordinary should be a cause for concern. There are lots of DIY free data recovery myths out there that should be avoided at all costs. If you suspect your hard drive has suffered from physical damage, take it to a data recovery specialist. Do not use data recovery software, as this can make the problem worse.

However, data recovery software can be a valuable lifeline. If your hard drive or other storage device such as a solid-state drive (SSD), USB flash drive or SD card has had a file or folder accidentally deleted, then data recovery software may be able to help. Many tools out there, such as Stellar and EaseUS, offer a free data recovery option, although these are limited in terms of how much data can be recovered. Microsoft also offers a free data recovery tool called Windows File Recovery, which can undelete files and repair files that have become corrupted.

Free data recovery tools such as Windows File Recovery work on the principle that when a file is deleted, and sent to the Recycle Bin, the binary data still exists, and therefore the data is recoverable. What deleting a file does is make the space on the drive as free, ready for new, fresh data to be written. This is why it is especially important to act fast in the event of a file or folder being accidentally deleted. Additionally, make sure you have data recovery software installed, ready for a potential data loss incident. If you install data recovery software after you have lost your data, you run the ironic risk or writing over the portion of the drive where your data was stored, which will render it unrecoverable.

Data Recovery