Does your hard drive have corrupted or inaccessible folders or files? Does your computer keep freezing or loading programs slowly? Does it refuse to boot or display error messages when trying to read the HDD? Your hard drive might have the so-called bad sectors.
Fortunately, you can recover data from a hard drive with bad sectors. Before exploring the best bad sector data recovery methods, let's see what bad HDD sectors exist.
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Types of Bad Sectors on a Hard Drive
Bad sectors on a hard drive can be:
- Soft or logical – Software issues cause these incorrectly-working storage clusters. Some causes include unexpected or forced computer shutdowns, power outages, forcible HDD disconnection, and malware.
- Hard or physical – Besides manufacturing errors and normal wear and tear, you might cause physical damage by dropping your HDD or exposing it to extreme temperatures and dust (e.g., due to faulty CPU fans).
You might have heard that you can't recover files from bad sectors. That's only partially true because it depends on the damage. Let's dive deeper into the matter.
Is It Possible to Recover Data From a Hard Drive With Bad Sectors?
If the damage is logical, you can recover data from an HDD with bad sectors. All software malfunctions are fixable, from file system errors to malware infection.
However, physical damage makes data recovery tricky, if not impossible. Only data recovery professionals might help, but even they can't repair severely damaged hard drives. Hopefully, yours isn't the case.
Let's see how to recover files from a hard drive with bad sectors, whether logical or physical damage has caused the problem.
How To Recover Data From a Hard Drive With Bad Sectors
The first three methods below will show you how to recover data from a bad-sector hard disk with logical damage, while the fourth solution is for its physical counterpart.
Option 1: Recover Data From a Hard Drive With Bad Sectors Using Wondershare Recoverit
Wondershare Recoverit is a trustful hard drive data recovery software for you to recover data from a hard drive with bad sectors. It can recover all partitions from your hard drive. The power recovery feature of the hard drive data recovery software enables you to restore a huge amount of files in different formats, including images, videos, document files, audio files, etc. Besides, it is fully compatible with computer internal hard drives and removable hard drives.
- Recovers data from 2000+ storage media, including HDDs, SSDs, USB drives, SD cards, etc.
- Enables recovery of data lost due to formatting, disk corruption, virus attack, and more.
- It works with all popular file systems, such as NTFS, FAT, HFS+, and APFS, among others.
Here's how to recover data from an HDD with bad sectors using Wondershare Recoverit:
- Once you download, install, and launch the program, click Hard Drives and Locations, find and click your hard drive with bad sectors.
- The software will perform quick and deep scans. You can pause or stop the process anytime and leverage the search bar and filters (type, size, time, tag, and status) to retrieve specific files.
- Once the scanning completes, preview the retrieved data in full screen or the right-hand sidebar, click Select All or choose specific files, and hit Recover.
- Select the destination (preferably another disk) and click Recover.
Wondershare has been around for 20+ years. This bad-sector hard disk data recovery software is only one of its dozens of expert tools with millions of trusted users. You can rely on it to recover data in 500+ scenarios.
Option 2: Contact a Professional Data Recovery Service
You know now how to recover data from a hard drive with bad sectors. However, what if a data recovery software don't work? Physical damage might be at play.
Therefore, contact a professional data recovery service to see if experts can resolve the issue. They know how to recover a bad sector on a hard disk and will thoroughly examine it before attempting the repair.
What if they can't fix the problem? Then your HDD probably needs a replacement.
How To Fix a Hard Drive With Bad Sectors
Option 1: Repair the Hard Drive With Bad Sectors Using CHKDSK
Once you retrieve data, you can try repairing your hard drive with the CHKDSK (Check Disk) command in the Command Prompt (CMD).
However, you can first run a similar check in File Explorer to detect potential errors. That way, you don't need to use the CMD if your computer reports no disk errors. If you're sure bad sectors exist, skip to the CMD part below.
Here's how to run CHKDSK in File Explorer:
- Go to File Explorer > This PC, right-click your problematic HDD, and select Properties.
- Switch to the Tools tab and click Check.
- You'll see the "You don't need to scan this drive" message if the utility finds no errors. However, you can scan the drive to double-check.
- Once the error-checking utility scans and fixes potential issues, you'll see the following success message. Click Close.
You don't need to run the Check Disk utility in the Command Prompt if it doesn't report errors in File Explorer. However, even if it fixes an issue, the CMD performs more actions to recover HDD bad sectors. Here's what to do:
- Find CMD in the Search bar and click Run as administrator.
- Run this command:
chkdsk g: /f /r /x. However, replace g with your hard drive's letter. The f parameter rewrites the file system directory, the r initiates the repair, and the x dismounts the HDD to run the scan and fix potential errors.
If this method doesn't work, try formatting the hard drive.
Option 2: Format the Drive
Formatting your hard drive will rewrite the file system directory and eliminate software issues. The Check Disk utility does the same, but the following steps are more straightforward.
Here's how to format your drive in Disk Management:
- Launch the Run Command dialog box using the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut.
- Type diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter or click OK.
- Right-click the HDD with bad sectors and click Format.
- Untick the Perform a quick format checkbox and click OK. Otherwise, Disk Management will ignore bad sectors.
An HDD developing bad sectors isn't the end of the world. You can fix bad sectors on hard drive caused by logical issues like file system errors and malware and get your hard drive up and running. You can also seek help from experts if your HDD has suffered physical damage and rendered the methods above useless.
However, remember to perform data recovery from a hard drive with bad sectors first. Tools like Wondershare Recoverit are your best allies for avoiding data loss.
What causes hard drive bad sectors?The most prevalent causes of HDD bad sectors include software malfunctions due to sudden computer shutdowns, power outages, malware, and forcible HDD disconnection. However, physical damage due to accidental drops, exposure to dust or extreme temperatures, or manufacturing error can also be the culprit.
How do you avoid bad sectors on your hard drive?Regularly clean your computer, gently handle the HDD, safely eject external disks before disconnecting them, and install and frequently update antivirus software. Always purchase HDDs from trusted manufacturers, and don't expose them to moisture, dust, and extreme heat or cold.
Does formatting a hard drive fix bad sectors?You can fix bad sectors on a hard drive (if there's logical damage) by performing a Full Format. A Quick Format only rewrites the file system directory. However, both erase data, but you can restore it with data recovery software like Wondershare Recoverit if you don't overwrite it with new data.