Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive and Repair the Corrupted Disk

Simple steps to recover data from dead or damaged hard drive disk with reliable dead hard drive recovery software. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro with Bootable Media is mainly designed for data recovery cases of any system crash or starting problems. Try it to rescue your files when the hard disk is dead, damaged or failed. Also, if you want to repair your corrupted HDD, we still have solutions.

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Table of Contents

recover data from dead hard drive

To Recover Deleted Data from a Damaged Hard Drive: 

  1. 1. Download & Install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard WinPE Edition on your computer.
  2. 2. Select your hard drive & click the Scan button.
  3. 3. Preview files and click Recover.

How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive

  1. Part 1. Chances of a Dead Hard Drive Data Recovery
  2. Part 2. How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive
  3. Part 3. What to Do If the HDD Is Not Online
  4. Part 4. How to Repair Corrupted/Damaged/Dead Hard Drive

When you find your hard disk does not respond anymore and hear a few "biz biz" when you're trying to boot from it, and then it stops, and you can't access it. In such a condition, your hard disk drive might become dead. How to tell if your hard drive is dead? Here are some tips:

  • Strange noises
  • Computer crashes
  • Disk errors and data loss
  • Computer stops recognizing the drive

If you are faced with one of these symptoms, your hard drive is dead. You don't have to be panic, follow the tips below to recover data from dead hard drive.

Part 1. Chances of a Dead Hard Drive Data Recovery

The dead hard drive eventually affects all computer users. Frustration soon kicks in due to the loss of pictures, music, documents, and other files - files that you can't always replace.

Do not worry, unless corruption has occurred within the files, the files can be saved. And most of the time, the data is intact. It is good if you have a backup of your important data. However, if you do not make a backup in advance, and find the components in your drive are still functioning, you can recover data from the dead hard drive with bootable CD/DVD of data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard WinPE Edition.

Tip: Make sure that the Disk is recognized as Online Disk and the partition or disk space is displayed properly. Then you can use this software. If the disk is not recognized as Online Disk, you can refer to Part 3.

disk must show as online

Part 2. How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard WinPE Edition is a bootable disk of data recovery software which can help you recover data after the system crash and boot problem. Before you start, create a bootable USB first. Then, boot from Data Recovery Wizard WinPE bootable disk. Then, follow the steps below to recover data from a dead HDD.

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Step 1. Choose a location to scan

Make sure that all hard drives and other devices were correctly connected and recognized by the software. Refresh an external device if necessary.

Choose the relevant hard drive partition by left-clicking on it. Click the "Scan" button.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Wait for the scanning results

It takes a while for EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to complete the scan, all depending on how much disk space is used on the selected hard drive.

The "Deleted files" result would come our first, later it's all lost data result. You can try to recover lost data as soon as it shows up even though the scanning process has not finished yet.

scan the disk

Step 3. Preview the result and recover data

Preview and choose the files you want, click "Recover" button to save them to a safe place. You'd better choose a different drive to avoid data overwriting.

recover data from the disk

Apart from recovering lost files from a dead hard drive, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard WinPE Edition also supports recovering data from RAID, external hard drive, dynamic disk and Memory Cards, etc. Also, it can recover lost photos, documents and media files, etc., unformat files, recover data from lost partition, etc.

Part 3. What to Do If the HDD Is Not Online

If your dead HDD is not showing as "Online", follow the steps to fix it.

Case 1: The HDD Shows "ONLINE (ERRORS)"

When a dynamic disk detects an I/O error, an "online (error)" status occurs. And usually, all volumes on the disk will show as "At Risk" status.

online error - at risk state

Step 1. If the I/O error is a temporary error (like cable slack), reactivate the disk.

Step 2. If the "Healthy (At Risk)" status is still displayed, there may be a disk failure. Back up data and replace disk as soon as possible.

Case 2: The HDD Shows "Not initialized"

The "uninitialized" state occurs when the disk does not have a valid signature or virus corruption.

Step 1. Connect the hard disk to other computers to see if it is normal. If it is still uninitialized, you can initialize it first.

Step 2. Right-click the disk and click "Initialize Disk". The disk status is temporarily changed to "initializing" and then to "Online" status.

initialize the dead disk

Case 3: The HDD Shows "Missing"

A "Missing" state occurs when a disk is destroyed, closed, or disconnected.

the dead hdd shows as missing

Open "Disk Management", right-click the missing disk, and then click "Reactivate Disk". If there are multiple missing disks, Disk Management will attempt to reactivate all of them.

reactivate the disk

Case 4: The Disk Is Showing as "Foreign"

When the dynamic disk is transferred from another computer to the local computer, the "Foreign" status is displayed. The "Foreign" status is also displayed when a computer running Windows XP Home Edition is configured to pass dual boot mode of another operating system (using dynamic disks). Importing a Foreign disk would solve it.

hdd is showing as foreign

  • Right-click the disk.
  • Click "Import Foreign Disks". The data will not get lost.

import foreign disks

Case 5: The Device is Unreadable or No Media

An "unreadable" state occurs when a basic or dynamic disk is inaccessible. The disk may have a hardware failure, a corrupted, or an I/O error. You can solve this error by following the steps below:

1. Rescan the disk 

Click "Action" > "Rescan Disks") or restart your computer to see if the disk status has changed.

rescan the disk

2. Update driver in Device Manager

Step 1. In the Device Manager, double-click the device (where there is usually a yellow triangle exclamation icon beside it) and open the driver Properties window.

Step 2. Go to the Driver tab and click "Update Driver".

Step 3. Click "Search automatically for updated driver software".

update driver to fix the no media error

3. Rebuild MBR

If your MBR disk is damaged, you certainly cannot boot into Windows. How to repair the damaged MBR? Here we'll provide a safe and reliable procedure to help you. EaseUS Partition Master has already offered the function to rebuild MBR in the case of boot failure due to MBR problems. Follow the step-by-step instructions to rebuild MBR.

Step 1. Create a WinPE bootable disk

  • Launch EaseUS Partition Master, click "WinPE Creator" on the toolbar. Select to create the bootable disk on a USB drive. If your computer has a CD/DVD drive, you can also create the bootable disk to CD/DVD.
  • Click "Proceed" to finish the process.
create a bootable disk

Step 2. Boot EaseUS Partition Master Bootable USB

  • Connect the bootable USB or CD/DVD to your PC. 
  • Press F2 or Del when you restart the computer to enter the BIOS screen. Set and boot your computer from "Removable Devices" or "CD-ROM Drive". And then EaseUS Partition Master will run automatically.
rebuild MBR

Step 3. Rebuild MBR

  • Right-click the disk whose MBR is damaged. Choose "Rebuild MBR" to continue.
  • Select the type of MBR with the current operating system. Then, click "OK".
rebuild MBR
  • Click the "Execute Operation" button at the top-left corner and click "Apply" to build the MBR. After that, your computer can boot normally again.
rebuild MBR

Part 4. How to Repair Corrupted/Damaged/Dead Hard Drive

When your external hard drive fails, you can try the solutions below to fix it. If you can see obvious damage, such as strange sounds, obvious cracks, or a broken printed circuit board, send the HDD to a specialist in time. The following methods are more suitable for repairing non-physical damage 

Solution 1. Fix the File System Error

If the disk has bad sectors or internal errors, the hard disk can corrupt very easily. And if you know how to run the CHKDSK command on your PC, it will be effortless for you to fix the hard disk corrupted issue. 

  • Press Win + X, select "Command Prompt (Admin)".
  • Click "Yes" to launch Command Prompt as Administrator.
  • Type: chkdsk and hit "Enter" to check errors in the corrupted hard drive.
  • Type:  chkdsk c: /f /r/x to let CHKDSK fix the drive. (C is the drive letter of your corrupted hard drive)

fix the file system error

If you are a beginner and don't know how to use CHKDSK, you can use the CHKDSK alternative tool.

If command line is not your ideal choice, you can apply this command-line alternative tool - EaseUS CleanGenius. Use this one-click tool to fix the file system error on your hard drive.

Step 1.  DOWNLOAD EaseUS CleanGenius on your computer for free. 

Step 2. Run the software. Click "Optimization" on the left panel, and then choose "File Showing" . 

select the file showing option

Step 3. Go to "Choose drive" and select the drive with a file system error. Check the "Check and fix file system error" option and click "Execute".

fix file system

Step 4. Wait the EaseUS CleanGenius completes the repairing process. After that, click the "here" to view the result.

fix file system

Solution 2. Use File Manager to Fix Corrupted Non-System Drive

  • Press "Win + E" to open File Manager, right-click the appropriate drive from the left pane.
  • Select "Properties" and click "Tools" > "Check under Error Checking".
  • Click "Repair This Drive" when the scan completes fixing the drive errors.

Solution 3. Run a Thorough Disk Check 

  • Open "This PC", right-click the hard drive, and select "Properties".
  • Click "Tools > Error checking > Check".
  • Select "Check local disk" and click "Start". Close all running and open programs, select the option to let the system check upon the next boot. After this, restart the PC.

check the disk

If it reports that your drive has 'bad sectors or clusters', don't worry. CHKDSK command in Solution 1 will fix this issue.


Diagnosing and fixing a broken hard drive is difficult. Do take it seriously, but also try to exclude some of the more simple-to-fix culprits before you spend hundreds of dollars to a specialist. Even if you managed to repair your drive and get back all your data, replace the HDD with a new drive as soon as possible. If I were you, I would not trust this hard drive anymore.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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