recover data from dead hard drive

How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive: 

  1. 1. Download and install the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your computer.
  2. 2. Select your hard drive & click the Scan button.
  3. 3. Preview files and click RecoverMore Items...

When you find your hard disk does not respond anymore, you 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.

When you find that the hard drive is dead, you don't have to panic. Follow the tips below to learn how to recover data from the dead hard drive.

1. How to Recover Data from a Dead Hard Drive with Recovery Software

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can create a bootable disk of data recovery software that can help you recover data after a system crash and boot problem. Follow the steps below to recover data from a dead HDD.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7


You Can Trust EaseUS Data Recovery Software

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard has acquired an extensive technical base in broken HDD data recovery and trusted by billions of users since 2005. Check out reviews on Trustpilot.

Apart from recovering lost files from a dead hard drive, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard also supports recovering data from RAID, external hard drives, dynamic disks, memory cards, etc. Also, it can recover deleted photos/documents/media files, unformat files, recover data from lost partitions, etc.

We'll provide a detailed guide to help you recover files from a dead laptop or PC hard drive:

Step 1. Create a bootable disk

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, choose "Crashed PC" and click "Go to Recover".

choose crashed pc recovery

Select an empty USB to create the bootable drive and click "Create".

⚠️Warning: When you create a bootable disk, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will erase all data saved in the USB drive. Back up important data beforehand. 

create bootable USB

Step 2. Boot your computer from the bootable USB

Connect the bootable disk to the PC that won't boot and change your computer boot sequence in BIOS. For most users, it works well when they restart their computer and press F2 simultaneously to enter BIOS.

Set to boot the PC from "Removable Devices" (bootable USB disk) beyond Hard Drive. Press "F10" to save and exit.

restart from bootable USB

Step 3. Recover data from a crashed system/PC

After booting from EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard bootable disk, select the drive you want to scan to find all your lost files. Preview and recover the files you need to a safe location.

💡Tip: You can restore data on the local disks, external hard drives, and also the cloud storage.

recover lost files

✨Tip: Dead Hard Disk Data Recovery Chance

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

Do not worry; they can be saved unless corruption has occurred within the files. 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 a bootable CD/DVD of dead hard drive recovery software.

Tip: Ensure that the Disk is recognized as an Online Disk and that the partition or disk space is displayed properly. Then you can use this software. If the disk is not recognized as an Online Disk, you can refer to fix the HDD not online and other issues.

disk must show as online

Don't hesitate to share this function hard drive recovery tool and recovery tip with more friends on social media!


2. Recover Data from Damaged Hard Drive with Data Recovery Services

If the software cannot recover data from a hard disk that is dead or damaged, you'll need professional help. To repair a corrupted disk and restore data efficiently, restore to EaseUS data recovery services.

Consult with EaseUS data recovery experts for one-on-one manual recovery service. We could offer the following services after a FREE diagnosis.

  • Fix HDD, SSD, external hard drive, USB flash drive errors, and restore data from all RAID levels
  • Recover lost partitions that cannot be restored by data recovery software
  • Fix disks that cannot be read or accessed because of bad sectors
  • Recover data from corrupted hard disks
  • Wipe data, unformat hard drive, Install/uninstall software or driver, etc.

3. Dead Hard Disk Data Recovery with HDD Backups

This method may not be very helpful for some users who don't back up hard disks. If you are sure there are no local backups, you should go to the Windows Recycle Bin to check if there are some files that are needed. It's easy to click "Restore" to recover deleted files from the Recycle Bin.

Follow the steps below to recover data from a dead hard drive via File History backups:

Step 1. Quickly locate File History with the Windows search box. Just type in restore your files with file history and launch it.

restore your files with File History

Step 2. Now, you can view File History backups. Select the files you want to recover and click the Restore button.

recover deleted files from File History

💡When you don't have any backup, it is better to apply EaseUS dead hard drive recovery software to restore lost data.

Bonus Tip: How to Fix Broken HDD Issues

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

💡1. How to Fix HDD Shows "ONLINE (ERRORS)"

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

online error - at risk state

Step 1. Reactivate the disk if the I/O error is temporary (like cable slack).

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

💡2. How to Fix HDD Shows "Not initialized"

The disk not initialized state occurs when the disk does not have a valid signature or when there is 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.

choose- nitialize disk.png

💡3. How to Fix Hard Drive 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

💡4. How to Fix 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 Windows XP Home Edition computer 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

💡5. How to Fix 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:

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

rescan the disk

B. Update the 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

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.

Before that, you can share these functional tips on social media to help other readers!


💡6. Fix the File System Error to Solve Disk Errors

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 issue. 

  • Press Win + X, and 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

💡7. Use File Manager to Fix Corrupted Non-System Drive

  • Press "Win + E" to open File Manager, and 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 is complete to fix the drive errors.

💡8. 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, and 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 can 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 on a specialist. Even if you managed to repair your drive and get all your data back, replace the HDD with a new drive as soon as possible.

Don't forget to try the following software to perform data recovery from the damaged hard drive.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

Recover Data from Dead Hard Drive FAQs

You have learned how to recover data from a dead/damaged/crashed hard drive. It's time to get additional help.

1. How do I revive a dying hard drive?

You can try these steps to revive a dying HDD:

  • Put the drive in a waterproof sealed bag
  • Put the bag in the fridge for an hour or so
  • If this drive isn't spinning up, put it in the freezer for about an hour

2. Can a failing hard drive be repaired?

If the hard drive is inaccessible, you can try to fix it using Disk Management. Or, try to contact data recovery services to fix a failing hard drive.

3. What can I do to deal with a dying hard drive?

HDD dying? A dying hard drive is not dead yet. It's facing imminent failure. So, take care of the data. This should be the first thing to do:

  • Recover hard drive data
  • back up hard drive data
  • Revive a hard drive

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Updated by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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Approved by Evan Galasso

Evan Galasso is a digital forensics and data recovery engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. He presents opinions on the current state of storage media, reverse engineering of storage systems and firmware, and electro-mechanical systems of SSDs and HDDs.

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