The process for doing external hard drive data recovery is really no different from the process used for internal hard disks.
However, there are some factors which can affect the chances of you recovering files and/or causing further damage to the disk if it is experiencing a mechanical fault. This article walks through some of these factors.
The first problem is if you keep on using the hard drive after deleting files.
While data recovery software will be capable of recovering files that have been deleted, lost or corrupted, it will not be able to recover files if they have been overwritten by any new files.
The second problem to consider are mechanical faults.
If you hear odd sounds such as a buzzing noise or a ticking noise from the hard drive that can indicate the spindle has seized up or that there are problems with the read write heads or motor. If you ignore these noises, then the fault can get worse. To resolve the issue seek professional help or a PC repair shop to make the repairs.
The third problem relates to running Window's own disk repair tools prior to running your data recovery software.
While tools such as ScanDisk and Check Disk are capable of running is some regular computer repair and maintenance tasks, such as fixing bad sector issues on the disk, they also can potentially reorganize data on your disk. If this occurs your data recovery application will find more difficult to retrieve file fragments from around the disk.
The fourth problem relates to the applications or software that you use for recovering your files.
All data recovery tools need to know which file system format is being used on the device to be scanned. The majority of hard drives will use the fat 32 file system, and consequently most data recovery tools also support this format. However, if your external hard drive data recovery software needs to support some other form of file system structure then you will need a specialist tool.
The fifth problem relates to the nature of software scans.
Each recovery application analyses your external hard drive memory for signs of lost files in a different way. Consequently, each tool can potentially find a different list of files. If you give up your data recovery analysis after one tool, simply because you do not find your file, then you are missing out on retrieving your data.
Most tools provided a free trial scan so you can at least test whether the application is capable of finding your file in the first place without any cost outlay.