Resolving issues relating to a broken hard drive is usually best left to the professionals to solve but there are some checks you can make to see if the issue is software or hardware related first prior to putting in the experts. This article looks at some of the checks you can make.
If you’re already aware of the damage that has occurred, then you should contact the PC repair shop straightaway. For example if you’ve got a broken external hard drive because it was dropped on the floor then it is obvious that there is component damage. Likewise, any water or flood damage to an internal/external drive should be left to experts to repair.
If you are less sure of the root cause of the broken hard drive then your starting point for checking it out is to listen for unusual sounds coming from the enclosure when it is running. If components are starting to seize up (e.g. the heads, bearings or spindle) then you hear the noise of metallic components being ground together. Ticking noises from the disk would usually indicate that the motor is starting to fail. Both of these issues should be analyzed by a professional.
If the PC is able to start up correctly then you could try running the Windows Disk Checking utility to analyze disk partitions for bad sectors. If the PC is not able to start correctly due to the broken hard drive then you could resort to using an emergency boot disk to start the PC, running the computer in safe-mode or resorting to the last known good configuration in the advanced options menu.
Finally, with a broken external hard drive you should also check all cabling is in good condition, test out different USB cables/ports and use the device manager to see if the peripheral components are being identified correctly.