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How to Recover Data from Bad Sectors

A lot of hard drive failures come about as the result of bad sectors. Although it may look bad, there is still a chance that you will be able to access the data on the drive. It is hard to get data back from a drive that it has been damaged, but it is possible if you have the right kit.

Firstly, it is good to know what a bad sector is. Hard disk drives use circular platters on which all of your data is stored. A read and write head then floats just above it in order to carry out actions on the platter. These platters are separated into tracks that run circularly around the platter. Each track is then divided into smaller segments called sectors. These sectors are then grouped together in clusters in order to improve read and write times.

A bad sector comes about when there is physical damage to some of the hard drive. Nowadays, hard drives come with empty sectors as spare. This is so that when a bad sector is detected in a hard drive it is then remaps the sector to another space on the hard drive. However, the hard drive can eventually run out of these spare sectors. This means that if one turns bad then it cannot be remapped and the operating system will blacklist the sector so that it isn’t used again.

The problem is that as your hard drive gets increasing amounts of bad sectors then you may find that your computer is often crashing, becoming extremely slow or that data is disappearing. At this point it is vital that you ensure everything on the drive is backed up and you transfer your data to a brand new drive. There is no point using a failing drive, especially when it is the component in your computer most likely to fail. Why tempt fate further?

If it is too late and you have already lost data then you will need to begin a recovery procedure. Windows has a built in tool to try and do this, so it is worth trying it out first. It is called ‘chkdsk’, which you can access by searching for it in the Start bar. Run this program and it will scan the bad sectors and attempt to recover data from it.

However, this might not always work, so you will have to turn to third party programs. A good bet is something like R-Studio. This has the ability to scan the bad sectors and try and recover your lost files. The sooner you discover the problem then the sooner you should act. This will ensure that you have a better chance of getting all of your data back intact.

Bad sectors can be a real pain, but recovering data from them doesn’t have to be. Although it is not guaranteed that you are going to get every single piece of data back, using tools like chkdsk and R-Studio ensures that you have the best possible chance.


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