Physical vs Logical Data Recovery

Hard disk drive faults can, broadly, be put into two groups – logical and physical. If there’s physical damage to the drive, you need to consult a professional data recovery specialist. But if it’s a logical fault, there are other options.

Often, when confronted with a laptop or computer that isn’t booting up, people assume their hard drive has failed. But if you’ve turned your machine on and it isn’t booting up, it might not be the hard drive that’s at fault, and data recovery might not even be needed. If it’s a laptop, it could simply be that your power supply has failed, or a fuse has blown in the plug. With PCs, it could also be a power supply issue – a common problem is a PC turning itself off and then not being able to boot up. It could also be a graphics card problem. If you laptop sounds like it’s booting up, but there’s nothing on the screen, the LCD panel could be at fault. Again, there’s nothing actually wrong with the hard drive in this scenario, and you won’t have to undertake data recovery. However, if you’ve determined that the hard drive is at fault, you’ll need to figure out whether it’s a logical problem that can be solved at home, or a physical problem that needs a trained expert in data recovery to repair.

If your computer does boot up, but your files aren’t accessible, you need to think about data recovery – this situation suggests a logical failure. Logical hard drive faults are incredibly common, and in these scenarios, data recovery is normally very successful, and can even be done at home with the right tools. Logical damage can be caused by power outages, driver problems, system crashes, or controller failures. Most data in these scenarios isn’t actually lost, merely inaccessible to the user. There are a number of free data recovery programs out there, including Recuva and EaseUS – give these a go. Almost all logical faults can be solved without needing to open the hard drive.

If the drive isn’t recognised by the BIOS, this typically suggests a physical problem, and data recovery becomes more tricky. Physical damage can occur due to a variety of reasons, including a head crash, failed motor or faulty motherboards. Due to the complexity of the work involved in repairing physical hard drive faults, it’s not advisable to undertake data recovery at home. Hard disk drives are manufactured in controlled environments, and are not designed to be opened. A professional data recovery specialist will open your hard drive in a clean room, free of moisture and contaminants in the air. Attempting to undertake DIY data recovery yourself is only likely to make the problem worse.

Data Recovery