My hard drive failed! How do I know whether it’s a logical or physical problem?

Hard drive failure: logical or physicalWhen a hard drive stops working or data loss occurs, the cause is either logical or physical. The type of recovery methods used to get your data back will vary depending on how the drive failed, so it’s important to understand what the differences are between logical and physical recoveries. Below are a few examples of some potential causes for both logically and physically failed hard drives:


  • Accidentally deleted files
  • Unintentional formatting of hard drive partition/volume
  • System errors as a result of a virus attack
  • Operating system corruption
  • Corrupt files, folders, directories
  • Invalid entries on file allocation tables
  • Loss of a file system structure
  • Malware, viruses, Trojans, etc.
  • Software bugs


  • Firmware corruption
  • Electrical problems (power spike or electrical surge) that can directly affect the printed circuit board (PCB).
  • The BIOS cannot detect the drive
  • Damage to the preamplifier circuit of the read/write heads
  • Platter damage (scratched surface)
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Tracking errors
  • Inaccessible data blocks or sectors
  • Constant Cyclic Redundancy (CRC) errors
  • Damage to the head disk assembly
  • Seized spindle motor / bearing failure
  • Corrupt service area
  • Head crash – occurs when the read/write heads come in contact with the platters, physically erasing the data.

These are just some of the problems we see on a regular basis, and there is often more than one problem with a failed drive. For example, a drive with a fried PCB may also have firmware damage and logical errors, making recovery much more complicated than it might initially appear.

If your drive has stopped working normally or you are unable to access your data, it is essential to contact a professional data recovery company before attempting any work yourself. The first attempt at recovery always has the highest chance for success, so don’t take a chance and jeopardize your data!

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Choosing a Data Recovery Company

Choosing data recovery companyThe unthinkable has happened and your computer won’t turn on. You have important files and photos on your hard drive that you need to access ASAP! It’s time to contact a professional data recovery company.

There are countless data recovery companies advertising their services online these days, and it can be overwhelming trying to decide which one to trust with your invaluable data and memories. To help make your decision process somewhat easier, here are 10 “must-haves” when choosing the proper data recovery company:

1 – A no-obligation, free evaluation to determine the exact cause of your unique problem.

2 – A firm price quote based on your unique problem and the work necessary to recover the data (no ‘one-size-fits-all’ pricing!).

3 – Pricing that remains the same (firm quote) regardless of any unexpected complications or additional parts/services necessary for a full recovery.

4 – A ‘No Data, No Charge policy’ that ensures you only pay for your recovery when the majority of the files you are looking have been recovered.

5 – Friendly, dedicated case managers to provide you with the status of your recovery, answer any questions you may have during this stressful experience, and be your connection to the lab.

6 – 100% confidentiality regarding your data.

7 – A fully equipped lab that can recover data from virtually any failure, interface, OS, and media type.

8 – Physical recoveries conducted only within a class-100 clean room environment.

9 – A Research and Development (R&D) department dedicated to making innovative advances in the data recovery industry.

10 – Positively accredited by an organization that you trust.

It may be difficult to find a company that meets each of these criteria, but the success of your recovery depends on the overall quality of the company you choose. The first attempt at data recovery always has the highest chance for success (when done properly), so it’s essential to wisely choose the appropriate company for yourself.

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