How To Recover Data from an External Hard Drive

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Data integrity is key in any organization. Whether you’re a small business with a few employees or a multinational company with thousands of employees, being able to recover data when it’s lost is important.

Hard drive failure isn’t out of the question either.  While you can’t always predict when your hard drive will fail, you can prepare for it by keeping regular backups. In this article, we’ll explain how to recover data from an external hard drive in case it malfunctions.

What to Look for When Test-Driving an External Hard Drive

The first step in the process is to test-drive your external hard drive. You should do this before you make the decision to purchase it and use it for storing important data. You need to see how long the device will last, and how fast it will read, write, and save your data.

When testing an external hard drive, you should also look at the read/write speed, storage capacity, and warranty. If you’re someone who uses their external hard drive heavily, a higher storage capacity is desirable. You might want a warranty that covers more than just the manufacturer’s defects as well.

Get a Test Test again and again.

You won’t know if your hard drive is damaged until you test it, but don’t let the testing process discourage you. The first step in testing the damaged external hard drive is to test it again and again.

This will let you know what’s going on with your hard drive and if it can be repaired without corrupting the data or not. If you have a desktop or laptop that has a CD/DVD slot, then you can use a disc as a bootable device for this process. You can also download software like Ontrack EasyRecovery Lite to scan your external hard drive for any possible errors and make fixes accordingly.

Remove Destructive Features

If your external hard drive malfunctions, you may have to recover whatever data you can. The first step is to remove any destructive features from the drive. The first thing to do if your external hard drive malfunctions are to stop using it. Do not use it in any way shape or form – even as a second storage device for backup purposes – until you’ve recovered the data from it. If the drive is still in working order, power down your computer and disconnect the drive.

If there are harmful programs on the external hard drive, this will remove them.  This ensures that no more files can be overwritten until they’ve been backed up onto another device. The next step is to erase all of the files on the external hard with software like DBAN.

This will ensure that there are no residual files left on the external hard drive, which could overwrite other important data and make data recovery impossible. Once erased, you should be able to recover some of your lost data, though not all of it as some may have been overwritten by new data or corrupted by viruses or malware before being deleted.

Create an Image of the Drive

The first step to recovering data from an external hard drive is creating an image of the drive. There are many different ways to create an image of your hard drive, but we recommend using software like Macrium Reflect or Windows Backup and Recovery. Simply connect your external hard drive to your computer and open the appropriate software.

Then, select the external hard drive that you would like to create an image of and click “Next”. Now, select what you would like to do with this image as well as where it will be saved. Once you have done this, follow the instructions on the screen and wait for the process of creating the backup to complete.

Recover Data with RAID

If the external hard drive has a RAID, you can use it to recover lost data. It’s important to know that not all hard drives have this feature. To use RAID to recover data, you need two or more hard drives of the same type and size. You also need a controller card with its own power supply.


When it comes to recovering data from an external hard drive, it is a long and tedious process. However, it is not impossible to do. With the right knowledge, you can learn how to recover data from an external hard drive. Get started today.