I Can’t Access My Data, Now What???

The First Simple Steps

For those that are not the most tech savvy, losing your precious files can be really scary, even downright soul-crushing as you can see your career or degree go down the drain. This article will give you a sense of the process of recovering that data from the last minute fix to the nightmare cases. For most, it might be as simple as connection issues, but recovering data may not be as simple as you think. Now, there’s the simplest of steps like changing the connecting cables to the computer if you are using an external drive, or power cables and data cable inside a desktop to check if it’s just a connection issue. If it becomes an operating system issue I suggest the steps below for a basic Windows operating system. With a Unix operating system such as Apple products and a Linux OS, the connections are pretty straightforward, so you can skip these steps.

  1. First, try restarting your computer. This often solves the problem and allows you to access your data again.
  2. If restarting your computer doesn’t work, try restoring your computer to an earlier point in time. This can be done by following these steps: a) Click on Start Menu > b) Type “restore” into the search bar > c) Select “System Restore” from the results > d) Follow the prompts to restore your system.
  3. If neither of those steps worked, then it’s likely that your hard drive has crashed and needs to be replaced. In this case, I recommend taking it to a professional for repair or replacement.

Well, that didn’t work..

If you’ve tried the steps above or it’s become too technical to a point where the frustration starts settling in and can’t figure it out yourself, you can take your computer into a repair center. A neighborhood computer repair shop or a big-box store would normally be able to help with the most basic of recoveries, but to be honest, in most cases, if you’ve tried the steps above, your drive is most likely in need of professional help. A lot issues can cause a drive to malfunction, from age to physical damage, even just carrying a drive in a backpack everyday for a year can cause damage to a drive that you would never think to happen. These days, drives are designed with those cases in mind but older drives with moving parts can be a nightmare to recover.

The Recovery Process

Generally, the first step in the process is to run the drive through software that will detect all the bad sectors on a drive and recover what it can, but that doesn’t mean that it will recover everything, especially the files that you need in a certain folder. There is third-party software available that you can download online for free or for a small fee that can do this for you, but it’s not always the best option. Especially for those that need all the files on a device for school or work, it’s not really worth researching and you’re better off taking it to a professional recovery center that can actually do this for you methodically.

I still can’t see my drive!

In most cases, advanced recovery software will be able to cover the sector-side of the drive but if that fails, in most cases there is a physical issue with the drive. Usually, it is due to age or overuse of the drive, but it can be other physical issues such as drop or liquid damage, as well just having it bang around in a bag for a long time. Yeah.. I know it sounds implausible that it can be as simple as having a drive tossed around for a couple months, but unfortunately it’s an issue that does happen, especially to the older drives with moving parts. Remember the hard drives that were as big as bricks? I’m talking about the 3.5 size hard drives that would sometimes sound like a helicopter launching off when it comes to age. Those drives have actual moving parts like a record player with a needle and spinning disk.

I was quoted a thousand dollars for my recovery!

Sadly, ths is the truth of recovering drives. Depending on the age of the drive, the price of recovery can really get into your pockets but the work involved in recovering the data is really that extensive. For those that are desperate, you must understand that the price of recovering these drives are actually pretty cheap considering what the engineers need to do to recover the data. In most cases with the older drives and technology, the actual platters that hold the data need to be repaired in order to even read and image onto another device like a modern day external drive. Luckily, there are more professional centers that are available in the bigger cities of the U.S. that can service you locally.


So if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t access your data, remember these simple steps and don’t get too frustrated that nothing is possible! At New York Computer Help, we should help get you back up and running in no time!

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Got any further questions? Walk in for a free diagnostic in NYC:

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