Stellar Data Recovery Standard is a powerful DIY data recovery software that can recover data from all kinds of Windows devices and storage media—including drive that hasn’t been used for 3 years or more.

How to recover Data from a 3-year or older Unused Hard drive by using Stellar Data Recovery Standard

Usually drives unused for long time are backup drives containing critical files. To recover data from such drives, follow these steps:

  • First, check and ensure that the drive isn’t damaged physically
  • Then connect the hard drive to a Windows PC via SATA or SATA to USB converter cable
  • Open the Disk Management tool and check if the system recognizes the drive
  • If the drive is detected and visible under Disk Management, then use Stellar Data Recovery Standard software to scan the drive and get back every bit of recoverable data

Watch the following video to know how to use Stellar Data Recovery software for data recovery.

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Factors that May Affect Data Recovery from Such Hard Drives

Ideally, a drive can keep data for as long as five years without any issue. However, the longevity of data stored on a hard disk and the possibility of data recovery from such an unused hard drive depends on the conditions under which the drive was stored for 3 years or more.

The following are a few factors that affect a drives’ ability to retain data and the possibility of data recovery from such drives when they remain unused for prolonged durations:

     1. Environmental condition

Hot and humid environment can degrade a hard drive, and the drive may not be able to survive through its natural life. Heat also affects the drives’ magnetic properties and mechanical parts. Further, moisture can corrode the internals of the hard drive and damage the electrical components of the disk permanently.

     2. Mechanical failure or physical damage

A 3-year old unused hard drive might get physically damaged or suffer mechanical failure if it hadn’t been stored securely. In such a case, the drive may not be recognized, and hence, you would not be able to get back data from such hard drive by yourself and need the help of a data recovery expert.

     3. Magnetic field breakdown

It is known that a permanent magnet loses its magnetic strength by 1% per year. The same applies to hard drives, as they use magnetic field to store and read data from the platter.

If your drive isn’t recognized or suffers from physical, mechanical, or electrical damage, immediately reach out to a data recovery expert for help.

Tips Avoid Data Loss from an Unused Hard Drive

  • Securely store your hard drive at a cool and dry place
  • Periodically refresh the data on the drive by transferring data from and back to the hard drive. Rewriting data strengthens the magnetic field and data remains accessible
  • If data is important, refresh more frequently. This also helps keep a check on drives’ physical condition and avoid mechanical failure
  • Also check disk health and SMART info of the disk once in a while