When a hard drive crashes, the bottom line is that it becomes inaccessible to the computer. To keep it simple, it would take advanced equipment or a “clean room” (a special lab for data recovery) to repair it and recover data from it. It is very important to distinguish between a real hard drive crash and a system crash which is caused by viruses and corrupt software.
A hard drive can have damaged sectors on it. If the boot files are located in the damaged sector, that could cause some start up problems. But that does not mean that the hard drive is inaccessible. Something like that could be easily fixed with a disk check to fix disk errors and recover data files before replacing the hard drive. It would be a huge mistake to reformat the hard drive.
The simplest way to look at it is this, if the hard drive is registering on your computer it is safe to say that it is not crashed. Crashed hard drives are inaccessible. If you can get to the option of reformatting the hard drive it means the hard drive is accessible. If you have valuable information you need to recover I recommend not reformatting the hard drive. Take it to a computer repair specialist that is experienced with virus removal or file recovery.
File Recovery Positive Signs
False signals from serious computer virus infections can give off the impression that your hard drive is toast. Bad boot sectors can give the false signal that the hard drive crashed. The distinguishing factor is whether or not the hard drive can still be accessed while hooked up to the computer. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse here, but if it can be accessed, it’s not crashed. It is however on its way out, but if you can access it, that’s a positive sign for inexpensive file recovery. So backups are crucial once it is revived enough to start up the computer or see the file structure using another computer.
It’s not fair to tell a customer that their hard drive crashed without digging deeper to see if there are some false signals. If your tech support guy says your hard drive “crashed,” yet they could reformat it and put an operating system on it, find out how. How could they access a crashed hard drive to format it and reuse it?
If you are having issues with your computer’s hard drive have it checked by a knowledgeable, caring technician. You may find that the situation is not as bad as it seems. It’s possible something could still be done to save your data.