There are very rare instances when your computer HDD suddenly becomes very corrupted and unusable that you are left with no other option but to reformat the entire disk and do a fresh OS installation. This may be caused by a severe virus infection or you might have accidentally deleted critical system files which caused your computer to malfunction and eventually crash beyond use.
This shouldn’t be a problem at all if you don’t have any important files to salvage from your computer, but this isn’t the case for most users. If you use your computer all the time, it is very likely that you have also used your computer as storage of your photos, music collection, office documents and so many other important files which you can’t live without.
This is the very reason why it is so important that these files be backed-up regularly. The backup copies should be saved in an external drive so that it will be kept safe whenever the entire computer malfunctions. It is even more advisable for users to save back-up copies in DVDs because these disks are not re-writable and thus, there is no chance for a virus infection to damage the files saved in it.
But what happens if you save your backup files in a different drive of the same computer? What if, the entire hard disk gets corrupted and becomes unusable unless you reformat it? Is there a way to save your files? Can you still retrieve your precious photographs and documents? Well, there can be no 100% assurance that you can, but it is good to know that you can try to do so using file recovery software.
A file recovery software is a utility that helps user locate files which have already been deleted. Take note that after deleting a file, it is not really removed from your hard disk. What your computer does is that it wipes away the ‘address’ of the file; without an address, there is no way for the computer to ‘know’ that the file still exists in the drive. Thus, it labels the space occupied by the file as ‘empty’. This is why you will find a corrupted drive to be empty. But the truth is, your files are still in your computer.
The files only get overwritten when you use the same drive to store new documents. The computer writes the new documents in the ‘empty’ space at random. So, it doesn’t matter when the file was deleted – there is equal possibility that the file you have deleted last week and the file that you have deleted seconds ago will be overwritten by the same file that you have created just now. For this reason, it is critical that you do not do anything on the disk from which you want to retrieve your deleted files or else, your precious files might get overwritten.
Installing a New OS on another Drive
Assuming that your backup files are saved in Drive D of your HDD and both drives C and D become corrupted, the best solution to your problem is to reformat Drive C and reinstall a new OS in it. After a successful OS installation, you can now use your computer and download a file recovery software which you can use to retrieve files from your Drive D.
Take note that if you click on Drive D, your computer will prompt you that the drive is corrupted and it has to be reformatted before you can use it. Just ignore this warning and opt to do nothing with your drive D until you have not installed a file recovery software yet. There are tons of free file recovery software in the internet, but you can also choose the paid ones if you have enough budget – there is a good chance that the paid ones will give you better results too.
Run the file recovery software and search your drive D for the files that you needed to retrieve. The process should be automated. The search time will depend on the size of your drive. The software will then provide you with the list of files that it has recovered. You will have to choose the files by yourself. Save these files in an external drive before you proceed.
Once you are done, reformat your drive D before you copy your files back into it. After that, make another backup copy of the files and continue to do so as often as you can.