Hard drives are much bigger today, and everyone wants to use as much space as they can afford. The problem is that few people will take the time to back up the data that they store.
Some people actually take precautions to back up their files. They buy external hard drives, and they take the time to run daily backups. This is a small percentage of the PC user population. The other 98% put all of their hope in chance. They fail to even get virus software to protect their systems. They surf dangerous sites. They essentially do all the things that could possibly lead to a hard drive crash.
The irony is that many still expect to save their data even after they have thrown all of their preventive maintenance measures out of the window. It is by some fortunate circumstance that software developers were fully aware that most of society would fall into this category. It is also fortunate that the software developers created products that would even help those with the worst case scenarios.
There seems to be some form of data recovery on the market for almost every situation that can occur. The most common hard drive crash is usually a system with corrupt files. This is usually the easiest repair in concerns to hard drives crashes. This hard drive error can occur even when you do all the right things. You can get virus software, and only go on sites that are safe. The next morning you can still wake up with a “windows did not shut down normally” screen. Lucky PC users can restart, hit the F8 key, and get the benefits of the “last known good configurations” settings. Most consumers, however, are not that lucky. The files are usually corrupt, and you probably have to start the system in safe mode. At this point you may be able to run a system restore. This is one method of obtaining your files when your drive crashes.
There are hard drive crashes that are much more severe than this. These are the severe bad hard drive sector errors that make you wish for a time machine and an external backup hard drive. You can beat yourself up for not backing up the data, but this seldom helps with the recovery. Take it as a lesson learned.
You may have to remove the hard drive if you can’t access it during the boot process. At this point you may be able to connect to another computer by way of an eSata port and view the hard drive. If you do not have an eSata port you will have to purchase a USB adapter.
Once you have made it this far you can go to the area on the drive where your files are stored. Save what you can. You will instantly know what your limits are because you will get bad sector errors if your data is on the part of the drive that is bad.