The process of recovering a hard drive typically involves the diagnostic process to determine whether a logical or a mechanical failure caused the loss of data, downloading a free demo version of software intended to check which files can be salvaged, and transferring these files from the defective drive to the recovery hard drive. Depending on the severity of the failure and the size of the hard drive, this process can last up to several days.
A logical failure is normally the result of a file system getting corrupted or accidentally formatting the hard drive. This means that the physical components of the hard drive remain undamaged, making it easier and less expensive to recover the data. In this case, it’s possible to perform a recovery as long as the files haven’t been overwritten earlier. In case of a mechanical failure, certain broken parts prevent the hard drive from functioning normally. A clicking sound while the hard drive is trying to process data typically indicates a mechanical failure.
As of 2015, recovering hard drives from severe mechanical failures costs between $500 and $2,500, whereas the cost of recovering from a logical failure depends on the software, the prices of which normally range from $60 to $199. Hard drive recovery software attempts to recover files by performing a data dump onto a new drive and organizing these files by type. However, some recovered files can get corrupted during the process, resulting in content from multiple files being mixed.