SSDs and HDDs store data differently, so recovering data from them isn’t exactly the same. Whether you accidentally deleted some files or your drive crashed and burned, data recovery is possible in many cases. But you need to understand how these storage drives work to have the best chance of getting your data back.
Understanding the Key Differences Between SSDs and HDDs
If you’ve lost data from an SSD or HDD, the recovery process can be quite different. Understanding how these storage drives work can help you choose the best method for getting your files back.
- SSDs, or solid state drives, store data on flash memory chips. They have no moving parts, so they’re more durable and shock-resistant than HDDs. However, when SSD data is deleted or lost, it can be harder to recover since the drive will actively reuse those memory cells to store new data. For the best chance of recovery, stop using the SSD immediately and use data recovery software.
- HDDs, or hard disk drives, store data on spinning magnetic platters. They have moving read/write heads that can physically damage the drive, but HDD data is often easier to recover since the platters don’t get reused as quickly. If data is lost from an HDD, also stop using it right away. Then you can try using DIY software to recover files from an image of the drive or have a pro use special tools to repair damage and extract data.
Challenges and Best Practices for Recovering Data From SSDs
Recovering data from an SSD requires some different approaches than an HDD. Here are a few challenges you’ll face and best practices to keep in mind.
SSDs organize data differently than HDDs, so your files can end up fragmented across the drive. This makes data recovery more difficult. The best you can do is avoid extremely full SSDs which increase fragmentation.
TRIM and Garbage Collection
SSDs actively work to clear unused space for better performance. The TRIM command and garbage collection can permanently delete files you may need to recover later. Disable these features before data recovery and avoid using the SSD as much as possible after data loss.
SSDs have a limited number of write cycles before cells start to fail, shortening the drive’s lifespan. This can damage files over time and reduce the chance of successful recovery. Back up important data regularly to avoid needing recovery from an aging SSD.
Challenges and Best Practices for Recovering Data From HDDs
Recovering data from traditional HDDs comes with some challenges. Unlike SSDs, HDDs have moving parts that can fail over time and with use.
If an HDD suffers physical damage from drops, impacts or environmental issues, the disk platters and read/write heads can become damaged, preventing access to your data. In these cases, data recovery requires a clean room environment and specialized tools to repair or replace damaged components.
As HDDs age, bad sectors can develop that become unreadable. Your operating system marks these areas as “bad” to avoid using them. However, if too many bad sectors develop, the HDD will start to fail. Data recovery software can extract data from HDDs with some bad sectors, but a large number of bad sectors often requires professional data recovery to salvage your information.
The firmware on HDDs controls the functionality and interfaces with your computer. If this firmware becomes corrupted, the HDD will not be recognized or boot up. Professional data recovery is typically required to repair or replace the firmware and recover the data.
To improve your chances of successful HDD data recovery, be proactive:
- Back up your important files regularly in multiple locations. This gives you multiple copies if your HDD fails.
- Handle HDDs carefully and avoid physical impacts or drops.
- Maintain a stable operating environment. Excessive heat or humidity can damage HDDs over time.
- Run periodic diagnostics to check for bad sectors or other issues. Replacing an aging HDD before failure gives the best chance of data recovery.
- If your HDD does fail, shut it down immediately and avoid further use. This prevents further damage so a data recovery pro has the best chance of recovering your data.
Professional data recovery services like SalvageData have the environment, experience, tools, and parts to recover data when all else has failed. While expensive, data recovery gives you the best odds of getting your files back from a failed HDD.
Professional Data Recovery
DIY software may recover some lost files from an SSD or HDD, but for the best chance at success, contact a pro. Go for professional HDD or SSD data recovery in Canada, these experts have specialized tools to recover data even from severely damaged or inaccessible drives. They can also safely clone your drive to avoid further damage during the recovery process.
The bottom line is that no storage medium is infallible, so you should always have reliable backups of your most important data. But now that you understand how data recovery works for SSDs and HDDs, you can take the necessary precautions to give yourself the best chance of recovery if anything goes wrong. Knowledge is power, so use this information to keep your data as safe as possible!