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Can a Hard Drive Be Repaired?

January 23, 2024

One of the most common questions that we receive goes something like this:

“Can you repair my hard drive — and if so, can I keep using it?”

There are two answers here. First: Yes, hard drives can be repaired to an extent. However, a “repaired” hard drive should never be trusted, and we certainly can’t use the original media to return your data. Below, we’ll explain why. 

If you’ve lost data due to a hard drive failure, accidental deletion, or for any other reason, we’re here to help. provides risk-free media evaluations, and we support all of our services with a no data, no charge guarantee. To get started, call 1-800-237-4200 or schedule a data recovery evaluation online.

Hard drive “repairs” are temporary and limited.

In order to recover data from a hard drive (or any other storage device), the drive needs to be in a functional condition. 

If a hard drive has experienced a read/write head crash, a spindle failure, or any other physical issue, that issue needs to be addressed. The damaged components are replaced or repaired, and the hard drive’s firmware is adjusted if necessary. Firmware is the device’s operating instructions, which varies from revision to revision — even if two drives have identical model numbers, they may have different firmware.

Additionally, hard drives utilize SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) tables to keep track of bad sectors. Those tables are stored in the firmware zone of the hard drive’s platters. When a drive fails, a large number of sectors may get mistakenly marked as “bad,” and the firmware areas will need adjustment to allow the data to become readable. 

All of that means that when a hard drive is “repaired,” it’s not really ready to return to service. The drive will need to be cloned to another medium, at which point engineers must complete other logical (non-physical) processes to restore the files to a usable condition. 

If you reuse a hard drive after data recovery, it’s likely to fail again.

For that reason, reputable data recovery companies will not return data on the original device. They’ll return the data via a cloud service or on another device (such as a flash drive or external hard drive). 

So, what should you do with your original hard drive following a data recovery attempt? The best practice is to leave it with the data recovery provider, who will recycle the drive for parts (usually, for free). You can also return the hard drive to its manufacturer if it’s under warranty — data recovery services do not void manufacturer warranties.

To schedule a risk-free data recovery evaluation, fill out our brief online form or call 1-800-237-4200 to speak with an expert.