Hard Drives for Returning your data to you.

Datlabs Data Recovery team having successfully recovered data from a clients faulty hard drive are often asked what hard drive we supply or recommend to return their data onto. Our teams answer is always contingent on budget, performance and specific preferences of physical size, security etc., As a catchall  our own notes on available Return Media portable hard drive options for Mac is as follows .

G-Technology G-Drive USB 3.0 4TB

Slim and stylish

Capacity: 4TB Interface: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, eSATA, FireWire

Slim design
Fast transfer speeds
Sturdy build
Relatively  noisy

Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

Wireless security

NFC security
Rugged design
Not the fastest

Western Digital My Passport 4TB

Top class hard drive for Mac or PC

Capacity: 4TB Interface: USB 3.0

Large capacity
Good data transfer speeds
WD backup software

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

A brilliant Thunderbolt external hard drive

Capacity: 1TB, 2TB Interface: Thunderbolt, USB 3.0

Low price compared to other Thunderbolt drives

OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini

Super-fast storage

Capacity: 1TB/2TB/4TB/8TB or empty enclosure | Interface: Thunderbolt 2 x 2

Great build quality

Very good speeds
No use to non-Thunderbolt devices
Software  is Mac-only

Transcend StoreJet 25M3

Big space, tough body

Capacity: 2TB Interface: USB 3.1

Triple layer protective case
Large capacity
Not the slimmest external hard drive

iStorage diskAshur 2TB

Great  external hard drive with extra security

Physical security
Rugged design

Troubleshooting noisy hard drives.

Today’s hard disk drives are very quiet in their normal operation and any unusual noises you may hear are generally a symptom of a catastrophic failure or an imminent failure.

Normal sounds include:

  • Low level whirring noise during drive spin-up.
  • Clicks as the HDD heads park during standby.

Suspect noises include:

  • High-pitched whining sounds.
  • Repeated, tapping, grinding or beeping.
  • Clicking or beeping on connection and not detected.
  • Two or three sharp clicks at start up and then a boot error message and system shutdown.

For more information concerning clicking hard drives visit Datlabs Data Recovery clicking hard drives.

For more information concerning beeping hard disk drives visit Datlabs Data Recovery beeping hard drives.

Recovering Data From An Old Hard Drive

If you have an old hard drive that has personal or business data on it and you would like to examine it then hooking it up to your desktop or laptop computer is an easy exercise.

First determine the cable type needed to make the connexion from the computer to the old hard drive. Check the model number of the drive and go to the manufacturer’s website. You should be able to determine what type of cable it uses – SATA, SCSI, etc. Then go online and search for an adapter or docking station that will allow you to connect the drive to a USB port on your current computer. Hard Drive docking stations are relatively inexpensive and require minimal technical knowledge to set up and use. Check out the manual, mount your hard drive, boot up your computer and switch on the dock. The hard drive ought to be recognised by your operating system and your data files and folders be ready for viewing, sorting and transfer.
If you are your hard drive does not become ready and is not recognised by your computer operating system then contact Datlabs Data Recovery for assistance.

Acoustic Damage to Hard Disk Drives

The use of sonic and ultrasonic sound waves as a strategic weapon is nothing new however recent applications have shown that they can be used to disrupt the operation hard disk drives (HDD) used in Computers, Computer Networks , Laptops, CCTV ,  ATM and the like. Researchers said the attack can be performed by integral or proximity sound emitters such as a laptops installed speakers.

Adversaries without special-purpose equipment can cause errors in the hard disk drive using either audible or ultrasonic acoustic waves. Audible waves vibrate the read/write head and platters; ultrasonic waves alter the output of the HDD’s shock sensor, intentionally causing the head to park,  Both of these types of errors can lead to operating system-level or application-level problems, including persistent corruption and system reboots.

The experiments show that audible sound causes the head stack assembly to vibrate outside of operational design limits ; ultrasonic sound causes false positives in the shock sensor, which is designed to prevent a head crash.

In one attack scenario against a PC with a Western Digital Blue WD5000LPVX drive, researchers exposed the drive to vibrations induced by a 5 kHz tone at 115.3 dB SPL and a 5 kHz tone at 117.2 dB SPL. Those noise levels are roughly equivalent to sound of a car horn, live rock music or chainsaw, according to a comparison.

Prolonged exposure to those levels can cause “permanent data loss, program crashes and unrecoverable physical loss in HDDs.”

Tests were conducted on three different HDD manufacturers: Western Digital, Toshiba and Seagate. Attack scenarios also involved vibrations created by ultrasonic tones, which is sound that is created at a frequency higher than can be heard by humans (20 kHz and up).

“Ultrasonic attacks are less likely to cause a head crash, but could be damaging the drive in other ways such as causing the head to become unstable over time because of excessive parking,” researchers said.

In tests using a Toshiba HDD exposed to ultrasonic signals, researchers said they were able to make the HDD’s read/write head park in rapid succession on the hard disk platter, “possibly causing damage to the head controller.”

They added, “This instability could make the drive less reliable in its reads and writes, leading to sectors being marked as bad.”

A third type of attack targeted a HP Elite Minitower desktop PC equipped with an internal HP DC7600U speaker. Using the system’s own speaker, the proof of concept was able to cause intermittent freezing of the system running a Western Digital Blue WD5000LPVX HHD.

“For self-stimulation attacks, the victim accesses the adversary’s website — perhaps through a phishing attack or a link within a malicious email,” researchers wrote. “The site then plays malicious audio without permission over the system’s built-in speaker to attack the HDD. The frequency response of a built-in speaker may limit the ability for an adversary to deliver ultrasonic attacks, but some speakers may be able to deliver ultrasonic or near ultrasonic tones.”

The answer to why sound vibrations cause system interruptions and crashes varies. In one case, researchers analyzed the Windows 10 system crash dump files of a targeted computer. They were able to establish that the hardware driver called “miniport” was returning a device error that the OS could not handle properly.

“The operating system does not seem to handle this error correctly, leading to UNEXPECTED_STORE_EXCEPTION. This indicates that the memory manager required data from the disk, but was unable to write into memory because of an in-page I/O error,” researchers said.

Disproportionately vulnerable to these type attacks, say researchers, are older systems that still rely on legacy magnetic HHD technology. This is typically found in medical devices and other systems that are difficult to retire, such as CCTV surveillance camera storage, according to the paper.


One ingenious attack scenario demonstrated by the researchers saw them target a digital video security camera.

The surveillance camera contained a DVR that stored footage on a hard disk drive. However, when hit by an acoustic attack the system could no longer write any data to its hard disk drive. The camera continued to try to save video data in its RAM, but within about 12 seconds it ran out of available space, and lost all data until the acoustic attack was stopped.

It’s easy to picture how a criminal could use such a technique to avoid being recorded on security cameras.

The researchers from the University of Michigan and Zhejian University in China. presented their research last week in San Francisco at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.

Find out more:-  about Datlabs Data Recovery from Damaged Hard Disk Drives.

Mobile Phone Artificial Intelligence Analysis Technology.

Cellebrite the supplier of the mobile phone analysis technology used by Datlabs Data Recovery has recently announced the launch of  Artificial intelligence based analysis software.

The AI software  is capable of interpreting images, matching faces and analysing patterns of communication thereby introducing the potential to speed up investigations into  alleged crime.

Currently the software is being piloted by UK police forces to speed up examination of mobile phones seized as a part of criminal investigations.

Cellebrite, the now Japanese-owned company behind some of the software, claims a wider rollout would solve problems over failures to disclose crucial digital evidence that have led to the collapse of a series of rape trials and other prosecutions in the past year. However, the move by police has prompted concerns over privacy and the potential for software to introduce bias into processing of criminal evidence.

As police and lawyers struggle to cope with the exponential rise in data volumes generated by phones and laptops in even routine crime cases, the hunt is on for a technological solution to handle increasingly unmanageable workloads. Some forces are understood to have backlogs of up to six months .

Earlier this year the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Sara Thornton commented that her organisation was working with the Crown Prosecution Service on disclosure problems and could explore AI solutions.

Contact Datlabs Data Recovery for the Forensic analysis of mobile phones 

Data Recovery after mobile phone Factory Reset.

What is a Mobile Phone Factory Reset?

Factory Reset is a built-in feature of mobile phones that will return all device settings, app data, user information and data to its original state. Most software and application issues can be fixed by performing a factory reset and this can help pin point rogue apps and updates that compromise the integrity and performance of your phone.

It is wise to give your phone a factory reset when you want to :-

• Protect your personal data before selling or re-cycling the phone.
• Improve the phone’s performance.
• Reset the pattern lock code and password.
• Fix the phone as it keeps freezing after system update.

What happens to my personal data and pictures after a factory reset?

Performing a factory reset on your phone will overwrite and/or prevent you from accessing the data stored in the phones internal flash memory and your phone will be returned to its initial default factory settings.

Is it possible to recover my data following a factory reset?

Users can be easily confused by the “return to factory settings” facility and its careless use can be catastrophic for those users who have not backed up or archived their data. With most new to market mobile phones a factory reset will initiate a new encryption algorithm for the data stored in the flash memory and the storage areas previously used will now be marked as available for use by the OS and hence any pre-loaded or newly loaded apps. This means that all your contacts, messages, call logs, images, videos, audios, documents, and other files stored in the phone will no longer be available.

Will a factory reset wipe my SD Card?

The Factory Reset function will only wipe the data from Android internal storage, and it won’t erase the files or app data saved in your SD card. If you back-up an Android mobile to your SD card you don’t have to worry about losing your pics.

Following a factory reset can my data be recovered by freely available means?

Where data is not over-written by the factory reset, the  answer is remarkably yes,  however the data recovered will be in an encrypted format and you will need a facility that can re-instate your unique encryption key or can initiate a brute force crack to unscramble the encrypted data. The bad news is that this sort of thing is not commercially available.

Datlabs Data Recovery Repair and Recovery Services from Faulty Mobile Phones.

Helium Hard Disk Drive Manufacture.

The ambient air in standard hard disk drive enclosures adversely affects read/write performance and produces vibrations in operation that hinder efficiency.  Filling a hard drive enclosure with lower density helium reduces vibrations, decreases read write head drag and facilitates precision tracking.  Helium however has a tendency to leak through adhesive substances  and any cavities normally found in aluminium die cast base plates. Ensuring that the helium gas stays sealed inside the hard disk drive assembly  for the shelve life of the product presents a difficult challenge in manufacture.

Mass production of Hard Disk Drives  with zero defects, that can be sealed for 5 years without leaking any helium is essential. In order to ensure that the helium does not leak through the 1-2 mm thin base plate, every parameter of the casting process—the shape of each part of the metal moulding is optimized based on Computer Aided analysis of the flow of molten aluminium during casting.

The adhesive used to seal the Hard Disk Drives is another important factor in preventing helium leakage. After making sure that the adhesive is applied thickly, the individual components are joined together under very high pressure in order to maximize resistance to leakage.

Adhesive with a low out-gassing rate is chosen to avoid contamination caused by gases other than helium. The HDD components go through repeated baking procedures—removing gas in advance—during every step of the manufacturing process in order to minimize out-gassing from the adhesive and resin etc. The spindle motor fluid dynamic bearing uses a specialized oil with a low rate of evaporation and high resistance to external moisture.

The availability of helium-filled hard disk drive products is a result of numerous developments enabling thinner disks, greater number of disks and greater storage capacity. Advancements that result in much lower electricity power consumption.

Datlabs Data Recovery Services from faulty hard drives. 

Helium Hard Disk Drives at Altitude

Following  on from recent system problems, scientists  involved in the Event Horizon Telescope project have announced that they will be using helium-filled hard drives from Western Digital’s HGST division to store their deep space observation data.  The research project combines radio telescope data from 10 different high altitude mountain geographic locations into a single functional observatory.  These locations have however presented fairly unique data storage problems.

When the Large Millimeter Telescope began recording data on an array of 32 traditional hard drives,  28 of them failed due to the read write heads crashing on the surface of the disk platters.  In standard technology a hard disk drives’  read write  heads are designed to float on a cushion of air, but when the air density begins to drop due to the thinning atmosphere at altitude, the pressure within the drive isn’t sufficient to maintain this air bearing. The scientists involved consulted HGST who advised that  sealed helium hard disk drives  would  constitute  a viable solution to their requirements .

The amount of  data the telescopes collect precludes the use of SSD’s. Each participating telescope collects over 900 T Bytes of  project data. Whilst the price of consumer SSD’s has dropped precipitously in recent years, enterprise SSD’s are still quite relatively expensive.

Once the data  has been gathered at each individual location, the entire set of drives is physically shipped to the MIT Haystack Observatory, where a network of  over 800  processors  crunches the data through what  is referred to as a “silicon lens.”

By using advanced algorithms and specialized processing techniques, scientists are able to analyze the event horizon of the super-massive black hole at the heart of our own galaxy — Sagittarius A*.


Datlabs wont let your data disappear into a black hole as a result of head failure 


The future of Toshiba hard drive manufacture

iPhone assembler  Foxconn Technology Group representatives are to meet President Donald Trump in Washington. Foxconn is considering building a highly automated manufacturing plant facility in America and is also an  interested party to Toshiba’s plans to sell its semiconductor unit and other assets that have implications for U.S. national security.

Foxconn’s current Chinese investment partnerships employing circa 1 million people are considered by Toshiba and The Japanese government as detrimental to any prospective bid for Toshiba’s “memory” business however closer links to revitalizing US manufacturing interests may serve to mitigate this position.

President Trump has repeatedly criticized Apple,  whom Foxconn  relies on for more than 50% of its revenue, for outsourcing manufacturing to Asia and elsewhere and threatened to impose stiff tariffs on Chinese imports.

You couldn’t write the script !


Datlabs Data Recovery from faulty Toshiba hard drives.

Find out more about Datlabs and our professional data recovery services from

a faulty iPhone and  faulty Toshiba laptops.

Latest On Toshiba Hard Drive Manufacture.

Toshiba + Western Digital are jointly the second largest NAND flash memory producer, however Toshiba by happenstance now appears destined to dispose of its interests. Parties indicating that they may get involved in an acquisition include Broadcom, Foxcom, Google and Apple; the Japanese government has also indicated that it may get involved in such matters in order  to prevent Toshiba’s NAND flash expertise and fab capacity falling into foreign hands.

Recent reports indicate that both Apple and Google are both showing serious interest in having a stake in Toshiba’s NAND flash business. With branded memory hungry smart phones, tablets and other mobile consumer products these companies see having a stake in NAND fabrication a strategic market advantage that will obviate dependence on third party suppliers such as Samsung.

The pending sale of its flash memory division begs the question “will Toshiba also want to sell it’s HDD business?” as selling its HDD unit along with the flash unit would appear to be a logical outcome, in which case Western Digital would be the obvious favored suitor.

The outcome of the Toshiba flash memory sale will be extremely important for the future of the electronics industry, particularly in respect of who retains the manufacturing and development rights to such a strategically placed asset .

Datlabs Data Recovery Services from faulty Toshiba Hard Drives.