As everything in life, data storage hardware is not perfect; it does fail. Hard drives crash and take valuable data with them. Without a backup, it can be difficult to recover important information. There are services that specialize in emergency data recovery, which will gain access to otherwise irrecoverable and irreplaceable information after a hard drive crash.
Hard Drive crash recovery can be impossible for those who do not have knowledge of the internal workings of a hard drive or do not have the specialized equipment to retrieve data from an inoperative hard drive. It takes a data recovery expert to be able to implement emergency data recovery safely and affectively. Data recovery experts know why hard drives crash and have knowledge of multiple techniques that can make a stubborn hard drive yield its information.
Hard Drive crash recovery need not be deferred to a data recovery expert immediately. There are techniques that you can use to determine whether your apparently crashed drive is truly dead or whether the malfunction is simply the fault of software or faulty cables. Booting your computer to the bios and looking for your drive there can help determine whether it is dead. If you change the boot sequence and try to set your bios to detect hard drive damage, you might learn even more about the problem. Also try replacing the cables. If your hard drive still does not seem to work, you have at least ruled out that faulty cables are the issue.
You may still be able to recover your data by moving your hard drive to another computer, installing it externally or as a slave drive, and attempting to move or copy your files to another storage device. Booting from a CD designed to provide a live instance of an operating system such as a Linux live CD allows you to bypass the nonfunctional operating system in the crashed drive so that you have an operating system with which to perform useful tasks such as moving or copying data.
It may be necessary to hire a data recovery expert if other procedures do not work, such as booting from other drives. Data recovery experts actually take the hard drive apart to retrieve the data directly from the platters inside the drive. Unfortunately, hard drive data storage stability requires a sterile environment. Therefore, the specialist must perform this delicate surgery under sterile conditions. This type of emergency data recovery is an expensive process, so the recovery may not be worth the expense unless the data is extremely precious.