Data Recovery 101: Logical Data Loss or Physical Data Loss?

14 October 2021 by Ontrack Team

Hard drive opened up

Now that you’ve thoroughly explored the details of your data loss scenario, it’s time to diagnose which type of data loss has occurred.

Logical Data Loss

Logical Data Loss

If your device seems to be undamaged at first glance and is still recognized as a storage device when connected to a system, there’s a good chance that logical damage is the culprit. Even then, various sources of logical damage should be considered, including:

In the event of logical data recovery incidents, safely powering down the system and disconnecting the storage device is key. If the device remains powered on, the risk of permanent data loss remains due to the constant reading and writing of data and the potential overwriting of lost data.

Bottom line? Making sure the damaged storage device is completely disconnected from its power source increases the chances for successful data recovery.

Physical Data Loss

Damaged Samsung S8

This Samsung Galaxy S8 was run over by a truck! Unfortunately, the phone didn't survive the damage, but Ontrack’s engineers were still able to recover 100% of the data for the owner.

Unlike logical data loss, physical data loss tends to be more straightforward to identify (especially if the device is physically damaged). Typical physical data loss incidents include:

  • Drops and Knocks
  • Smashed or Crushed Screens
  • Water Damage
  • Fire Damage
  • Mechanical Failure
  • Clicking or Grinding Noises

It’s important to keep in mind that in physical data loss cases, any further attempts to use the device could actually make the situation worse and DIY recovery efforts using software tools are likely to be unsuccessful.

Bottom line? Physical data loss will require the attention of an expert data recovery engineer.

The Next Step in Data Recovery

Now that you’re acquainted with the two loss categories you’ll encounter on your journey to data recovery, it’s time to take a look at the different type of device failures that can affect hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs).

Have all the information you need to know that you’re in need of a data recovery expert? Request a free estimate from the global leader in data recovery today.


Call for Immediate Assistance!