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.


Here at Datlabs our technicians are often asked “what is Firewire and how is it used to connect devices and facilitate the interchange of data with my computer?”  The following basic description will hopefully clarify what is meant by Firewire and provide a basic understanding of the associated signalling principles involved.

Serial Data Bus.

The term serial data communication or signalling is the process of sending and receiving data one bit at a time, sequentially over a cable and/or connection between two or more computer devices. There are a number of standards that describe the signalling protocols and physical interconnects that can be implemented to ensure a reliable exchange of data takes place between communicating devices. Firewire developed by Apple is one such signalling interconnect implementation. Firewire is high performance serial data bus application for transferring information between digital devices, especially audio and video equipment. Firewire is also known as IEEE 1394.

The Firewire basic design implementation imperatives are as follows:

  • Lots of interconnected devices.
  • Ease of use
  • Hot-pluggable ability
  • Provision of power through the cable
  • Plug-and-play performance
  • Low cabling cost
  • Low implementation cost

The FireWire specification includes data transfer interchange at speeds of up to 3.2 Gbps over specifically manufactured FireWire cables. The Firewire bus supports addressing structures for 63 interconnected devices. Firewire is available for Windows or Mac operating systems but is mainly and exclusively used for Mac.

FireWire uses Data Strobe encoding,  in which two non-return zero signals are sent with a clock reference to create a strobe. This means the clock signal can be reconstructed from its phase relationship with the data signal and a phase locked loop created to synchronize signals at either end of the data bus.

Firewire Connection.

When a Firewire enabled computer boots up it will interrogate all of the devices connected to the serial Firewire bus and then assign each responsive device a unique address. This initialisation process is called enumeration.

If you connect a new FireWire device to your computer, the operating system auto-detects the device and asks for its driver to be installed. If you’ve already installed the device, the computer activates it and starts talking to it. FireWire devices are hot pluggable, which means they can be connected and disconnected at any time, even with the power on. To provide the plug and play capability the FireWire devices implement the configuration ROM” model for device configuration and identification.

All FireWire devices are identified by an IEEE unique identifier in addition to well-known codes indicating the type of device and the protocols it supports.

FireWire and USB

FireWire is intended for use with media processing and is a peer-to-peer protocol application which means two FireWire devices can interchange data directly without a central processor such as a host PC. USB requires a host or central processor.

FireWire devices can be powered or unpowered. FireWire allows devices to draw their power from their connection. Two power conductors in the cable can supply power (8 to 30 volts, 1.5 amps maximum) from the computer to an unpowered device.

FireWire cable pin out.

Some smaller FireWire-enabled devices use 4-pin connectors to save space, omitting the two pins used to supply power. FireWire 800 cables use a 9-pin configuration. Six of those pins are the same as the six pins in the 1394a connector. Two of the added pins provide a “grounded shield” to protect the other wires from interference, and the third added pin does nothing at this time.

Because FireWire 800 is backward-compatible with FireWire 400, there are a variety of adapters available to facilitate the combination of both standards on the same bus. There are also two types of FireWire 800 ports available: a “bilingual” port accommodates both FireWire standards, while a b-only port accepts only a FireWire 800 connector.

Firewire 64 bit addressing.

FireWire uses 64-bit fixed addressing as in IEE1212 with three parts to each packet of information sent by a device over FireWire:

  • 0-bit bus ID used to identify the FireWire bus.
  • 6-bit physical identity of the device on the bus.
  • 48-bit identity of the storage area within the device.

Firewire and Media applications.

FireWire supports isochronous mode in which data streams between a device and its host in real-time with guaranteed bandwidth and no error correction. This means that a device such as a digital camcorder can request that the host computer allocate enough bandwidth for the camcorder to send uncompressed video in real-time to the computer. When the computer-to-camera FireWire connection enters isochronous mode, the camera can send the video in a steady flow to the computer without disruption.

With the right software, the computer can download video data automatically and with perfect digital clarity. Since the content is digital from start to finish, there is no loss of quality as the editor works on successive generations.

Require more information or have a problem with your Firewire connected devices you will find more information and help via our Datlabs data recovery web site.

At DatLabs we hear a lot of DIY data recovery myths, we thought we’d share some of the most popular DIY ‘tips’ we hear for getting back your lost data and explain why you should avoid them.

Put your Hard Drive on Ice

Literally put your hard drive on ice, by placing in the freezer.

This is a very common myth and is supposed to cool down an overheated hard drive, however this will freeze the components and risk actual breakages as the compnonents become brittle. This will make your data harder to retrieve and certainly more expensive.

Switch your computer on and off, over and over till your data comes back

Whilst some IT problems can be resolved by switching the computer off then on again lost data is a specific problem. If it is not resolved once you have turned the computer back on once then you should turn the computer off and call a good data recovery expert. Do not repeatedly turn the computer on and off, this will not help.

Use DIY Data Recovery software

There is always the temptation to use a free or cheap data recovery software, however many people rush to these types of DIY data recovery products without understanding why the problem occurred. If you try to resolve a hardware fault with software you will likely do more damage than good. We would also strongly recommend not using the free software as these can be problematic.


All of these myths can often result in more loss of data, more damage and makes it harder to recover lost data by a professional. If you are worried about lost data then the best thing to do is to get a professional evaluation of the device (computer, laptop or mobile) and get an accurate quote from an expert.


If you have lost data on your computer or laptop then you need to use the best data recovery company to get those important files back.

How to Choose a Data Recovery Company

A quick Google search for ‘Data Recovery company’ will bring up a multitude of companies all over the UK, but which company can you trust?

At DatLabs we have put together a few tips to picking the best data recovery company to help you out in your time of need.

Choosing the Best Data Recovery Company

There are often a lot of things to consider when choosing a data recovery company:

  • Testimonials – Established companies will have earned a reputation, in this day and age where everyone can review a service online it won’t take long to find out if a data recovery company has a lot more bad reviews than good. Have a look at the companies testimonials page.
  • Evaluation – Does the company give you cost before evaluating the problem? If so they are not accurately assessing the problem and you could be paying over the odds. All reputable Data Recovery companies will have an evaluation process and the very best will do this before quoting and under no obligation. If a company hasn’t diagnosed the problem they will have no idea if it is a hardware or software problem therefore will have no idea how long it will take to fix.
  • Price – there is something called reassuringly expensive, however a good data recovery company will give you a cost based on time and any materials needed, this will be a transparent figure that they can justify. We usually advise not going with the cheapest however if something seems disproportionately expensive chances are it is. We fairly price our services and when taking on a job you only pay on success.
  • Experience – It is quite obvious from most websites and also from calling up for a quote which company is experienced in data recovery. An experienced data recovery expert can spot a problem quickly and will understand the engineering involved in recovering the data. Our data recovery experts are experienced in all types of data recovery from forensics to mobile phones just one call to our data recovery experts and you will be confident in their abilities.

The words we hear most when people call DatLabs – “I’ve lost all my work!!”

How often have you uttered those words? Something has gone wrong perhaps someone spilled a drink over your laptop in the middle of working, or for no reason you get the blue screen of death signifying something has gone wrong with your computer.

What do you do?

What do do when you lose your work on the computer

It doesn’t matter what your files are, the data on your computer or laptop is important and losing it all can mean the loss of precious memories, years of work, or something very important that you need quickly.

So what do you do?

  1. Don’t panic – in most cases the work is not lost forever and can be retrieved
  2. Turn off your computer – don’t mess around with it just turn it off at the plug
  3. Do not do any DIY Data Recovery – chances are this will make the files harder to retrieve by an expert
  4. Contact a data recovery expert for a free no obligation evaluation – in many cases data recovery from a laptop or personal computer is cheaper than you think

How to prevent lost work

Prevention is always better than cure there are a few ways you can prevent losing all your work – these are not fail safe solutions as data loss can be down to a lot of things, however there are safeguards you can put in place.

  • Keep saving work – we’ve all had it where we’ve lost work, got it back and its not the latest version, always keep saving your work
  • Keep a back up – external hard drives or cloud servers are ideal to back up important work and keep precious files
  • Back up your back ups – make sure you have back ups of everything that is important and keep them in secure locations
  • Archive work – another form of back ups is to archive your work when you are no longer using it, this can again be on a portable hard drive, usb or CD/DVD
  • Keep software up to date – make sure you have up to date software, this will make the risk of a software malfunction less likely
  • Upgrade your computer – unfortunately with hard ware it does get old and if you are using your laptop or computer daily for important work you should consider upgrading every couple of years, don’t wait until there is a problem with the hard drive, you can upgrade SD and HDD discs opn many computers whithout having to invest in a whole new system.
  • Invest in anti virus software – decent virus software will keep most computer viruses at bay
  • Don’t click on suspicious links or allow access to suspicious applications – this is to prevent any viruses.

If you do all this then if your computer does fail and you lose your data, chances are you will have a back up, and also it will be easier to diagnose and sort a problem by a data recovery specialist.

DIY Data Recovery can be very risky, many of the DIY Data Recovery products available are not fit for a specific problem and without a good understanding of hard drives and computer systes you cannot properly diagnose a problem therefore you could be using completely the wrong product.

Lost Data can be due to many things such as damage, a software failure or a hardware failure, unless you have a good understanding of computers and computer software it can be very hard to diagnose and without proper diagnosis and evaluation it is impossible to determine how to safely recover lost data.

DIY Data Recovery Software

It can be tempting to purchase a DIY data recovery software package to try to get your data back, however these are rarely successful unless the person running it has already diagnosed the problem and purchased the specific package that will work.

In many situations even the biggest and brightest computer enthusiasts have difficulty diagnosing why lost data has occured, assuming a problem is a hardware issue or a software problem can mean the wrong solution and can often cause more damage.

By running DIY Data recovery software when the problem is in fact a hardware issue you could risk losing the data for good or making it more difficult and expensive for a data recovery expert to retrieve.

Changing or replacing your Hard drive

Many computer enthusiasts have had a tinker putting together a computer, upgrading components and hard drives. It can be tempting to try to tinker with your hard drive to try to get it working again. However if you are not a data recovery specialist then this can cause a lot more harm than good. Even if you feel you know your way around a cicuit board, data recovery experts use a clean room to dissasmeble a hard drive and work in very specific conditions to avoid contamination.

Data Recovery Experts

If you have lost data, whether this is from your computer, laptop or phone, and you need to get this data back then you should speak to Data recovery experts. DatLabs data recovery experts offer free evaluation and will be able to accurately quote hoe much it will cost to get back all of your data. You are under no obligation to use DatLabs, but our fair and transparent pricing means that our customers feel secure in the knowledge we can get back all their data for the best price.

DatLabs have decades of experience in retieving lost data, working from Manchester with drop off points all over London and the UK, DatLabs experts can diagnose a problem and are best placed to get back lost files from all kinds of hard drives and devices.

DIY data recovery London

Whether you need data recovery for important business documents, forensic data recovery or to retrieve precious photos from a laptop or mobile phone, the general opinion is that data recovery is very expensive.

I can’t afford Professional Data Recovery

Professional Data Recovery is not as expensive as many people believe, especially hard drive data recovery which depending on the problem can be as little as £195 payable on success. Now this may seem a lot of money but no reputable data recovery company will charge you on evaluation so you can always consider your options as to whether the data on the hard drive is worth it. Many families see precious images and videos as being worth the money and also a lot of students would happily pay a lot of money to get their coursework, research or dissertation back.

Every data recovery project is different and whilst you may hear tales of people being charged thousands for data recovery, it is likely that they had a very specific problem possibly on a RAID server.

The expense of data recovery comes from the amount of work involved in recovering the data. Some companies will charge for evaluation, this would put the price up significantly if they cannot identify the problem quickly, the hourly rate is usually fair depending on the problem and a good data recovery company will explain the costs.

If you have a water damaged laptop, or if it is a hard drive problem then the work will be different and therefore the costs will be different. Data Recovery experts are highly skilled professionals with a wealth of relevant experience in retrieving important data from all types of hard drive or server, this is wy you may pay more than the average minimum wage per hour. However as highly skilled professionals they can almost always guarantee to get back most or all data in an efficient timescale.

DIY Data Recovery

Data Recovery experts can usually identify the problem quite quickly, each data recovery problem will require a different solution. There are many ‘DIY Data Recovery’ packages around and some will be enough for what you need, however unless you know exactly what the problem is this often means that you spend a lot of money and get little or no data back.

These packages seem cheap at between £99 to £250, however unless you understand the process it can be a waste of time to do yourself. If it is a hardware problem then these programs will not work without experienced data recovery experts. By getting a data recovery professional to quote you may find that actually they are cheaper for your problem than a packaged solution that is not specific to your situation.

DatLabs can give you a no obligation quote on most hard drives and computers, our data recovery experts can identify a problem and give you an accurate and fair quote.

Recovering Data

Following on from our successfully recovering data from a faulty portable data storage device we ask our customers “what do you want us to return your data on?” The customer generally settles for his or her data being copied onto the same media type that was faulty in the first place. Is this the right thing to do ? Well its convenient for both parties but as a complete solution to militating against future data loss it obviously leaves a lot to be desired.

Data Storage Solutions

We recommend that customers move away from using portable devices as their back-up solution. These devices are vulnerable to mishap and misuse. By all means use such devices as a convenient method of accessing your data from a variety of different computers at various locations via a single device. A trusted solution that militates against data loss is a very different proposition. Network Attached Storage solutions commonly referred to as a NAS box offer a cost effective means of implementing a back-up solution with added home network benefits. We recommend that customers once re-united with their data, transfer it to a mirrored RAID configured NAS box or similar secure off site back-up arrangement as soon as is practicable.

Need Help Contact Datlabs Help desk:


Datlabs London

68 Lombard St.,

Datlabs Chiswick

Chiswick Park,
566, Chiswick High Road
W4 5YA.

How to Repair a Hard Drive.

Almost without fail customers contacting our help line having experienced a hard drive failure ask the question “do you repair hard drives.” Our response is almost without fail a qualified “no but we can retrieve the data that is stored on your faulty hard drive.”

So why do we not claim to repair hard drives ?

The term repair implies that an  item that was damaged or faulty is, having been “patched up,” now fit for purpose once again. With hard drives this guarantee of functionality can not be met whilst still retaining access to the data that is stored on the device.

Repair dictionary definition:-

to restore something damaged, faulty, or worn to a good condition.

So what are refurbished hard drives ?

Well good question !

Refurbish dictionary definition:

“Renovate, redecorate, recondition, renew, rebuild, reconstruct, remodel; improve,”

We are aware of second user drives being wiped tested and resold cheaply, however this is different proposition than rebuilding a hard drive to its original good standard by replacing worn components. Anyone out there who claims they rebuild and guarantee the subsequent use of previously used  hard disk drive products,  then feel free to give me a call.

So what do you, Datlabs  do ?

The correct and simple answer to what we do, is that we reverse engineer hard drive technology in order to recover stored data. In this process we replace and repair components, firmware and applications in order to restore an operational functionality. Once functionality is restored we copy data to new and reliable data storage products.

Have a faulty hard drive that needs repair and your data recovered then contact:

Datlabs London

68 Lombard St.,

Datlabs Chiswick

Chiswick Park,
566, Chiswick High Road
W4 5YA.


Hard Drive Repair.

Here at Datlabs we repair hard drives in the process of recovering data that cannot be accessed by a user.  Such repairs are of a temporary and expedient nature sufficient to recover the data they store and thereby transfer it to a reliable device.

To undertake the successful repair and recovery of data from hard drives requires specialist tools, test gear and facilities. Here we describe the necessity to prevent Electrostatic Static Discharge (ESD) damaging to electronic components and magnetic storage media.

Electrostatic Discharge

We regularly experience occurrences of static electricity. Walking along a carpeted floor in a heated room during winter generates sufficient static electricity that when discharged to earth provides a bit of shock. Whilst this sudden discharge of static electricity does not result in any harm to the human body, it can be very damaging to electronic devices which are sensitive to electrostatic discharge (ESD). It is possible for electronic devices to be damaged by ESD that is imperceptible to the human body.

The following provides an idea of the potential for damage to electronic components evident in everyday asctivities.


Walking across a carpet35,000 V
Walking on a vinyl tile floor12,000 V
Vinyl envelopes for work instructions7,000 V
Worker at bench6,000 V


How does damage from ESD happen?

When a statically-charged person or object discharges through sensitive circuitry in the device damage occurs in the device due to localized overheating.

ESD damage in an hard drive components.

Catastrophic damage – the hard drive  is rendered inoperable immediately after the ESD event. An integrated circuit or read write head  could have been damaged by the electrostatic discharge.

 Latent damage – the integrated circuit or read write head ceramic  appears to be working  However damage exists failure is now more imminent.

Datlabs technicians working practice.

Datlabs have installed electrostatic field meters to detect the presence and magnitude of static charges and to effectively discharge prior to undertaking hard drive repair procedures. Our work is conducted at static-safe workstations using antistatic wrist-straps that neutralize electrostatic charges. We also use air ionizers throughout that provide a balanced atmosphere that prevents the initially build up static electricity.

Static-safe work bench.

All table tops are covered with static dissipative mats which grounded through a 1 Meg-ohm resistor. This resistor is required in order to protect the users of the static-safe work bench – in the event that the ground becomes electrically live, the resistor will prevent electrical shock at the work bench. The same safety requirement holds true for the antistatic wrist-strap as well.

Need a professional data recovery service provider then  Contact:

Datlabs London:

68 Lombard Street
City of London

T: 0207 111 0966.