Desktop Hard Drive Data Recovery

Desktop Hard Drive Data Recovery

0800 008 6638

Hard Disk Drives,  RAIDs and NAS

Professional Services + Sensible Prices

call back request

Desktop Hard Drive Data Recovery

Datlabs Desktop Hard Drive Data Recovery with technical expertise and leading edge facilities you get the best possible opportunity to recover your lost data. Our data recovery services rescue data from All types, makes and manufacture of failed, faulty, damaged, crashed, inaccessible and clicking Desktop Hard Disk Drives.

Hard Drive failures can occur as a result of component damage such as electronics, motor, corrupt recording media and faulty read/write heads. In most cases the  failures are caused by misuse or extended utilization beyond the manufacturers recommended limits.

Desktop computers are generally robust in their construction and design however long term utilization and misuse can result in consequential failure. At DatLabs we have a wealth of experience in retrieving lost data from failed and faulty desktop hard drives.  If you are concerned that you may have permanently lost access to critical data then get in touch and request a consultation.

Desktop Hard Disk Drive Faults

Desktop hard disk drives are manufactured in a 3.5 inch form factor by either Seagate or Western Digital. They contain one or a number of platters having magnetic properties suitable for non-volatile data storage. Modern platters have high areal storage densities typically accommodating platter capacities of; 500 GByte, 1TByte, 2 TByte and above. Pre-formatted concentric tracks are laid down in the manufacture process and these tracks record digital data.  Read/write heads are attached to an actuator assembly  and these read and write data on the magnetic recording media on the surface of the platters,  under the control of the hard drive microprocessor and operating system.

Datlabs Data Recovery Offices

Datlabs Office Nearby me

Frequently Asked Questions

Data Recovery FAQs

Troubleshooting Guide

Is my hard disk about to fail? Look out for these symptoms;

Hard Disk Drive Electronic Failure

The majority of hard disk drive electronic faults can be remedied by component substitution,  service area or firmware reprogramming. Once the hard drive is restored to an operational condition the data and files recorded on the magnetic surface of the platters  can then be recovered and transferred to an alternative  hard drive.

Mechanical Failure

Mechanical failure of the read/write heads or motor can often result in damage to the stored data, however in the majority of cases this is not extensive enough to prevent your data from being recovered. Mechanical component substitution in a clean air and ESD compliant environment will often render the hard disk drive operational and the data can then be rescued . In some cases the media damage is however extensive and can cause control and service area corruption beyond what is possible using recovery processes and subsequent data extraction is not possible without complex reprogramming and rebuilding processes.

In cases where your computer is exhibiting symptoms associated with a possible mechanical hard disk drive failure or your data structures and files are not discovered by your operating system then we do not advocate the use of readily available utility programs  as these will often exacerbate problems by further stressing components and recording media resulting in possible further data corruption and damage to the recording medium.

Clicking Hard Disk Drive

Under some failure conditions the hard disk drive will develop clicking, clunking, grinding or buzzing sounds.  The sound of a malfunctioning cooling fan can often be confused with a failing hard drive so to determine which you have carefully open the computer case enclosure and listen closely to the easily identifiable hard drive caddy area of your equipment. (lots of pictures on you tube). you will quickly determine which is the culprit. The clicking sound is caused by the read write head actuator  assembly moving to a recording track co-ordinate , failing to read initial control data and returning sharply to its neutral or home position under the control of the device operating systems. The hard disk drive read write head actuator assembly has an integral powerful magnetic that controls and settles the head transducers with precision over the digital data recording tracks. On modern high areal density recording media  there are upwards of 100,000 concentric data tracks on a hard disk platter surface.

Dead Desktop Hard Disk Drive

If after power on the hard drive is not exhibiting the above then place your hand gently and carefully on top of the hard disk drive. If you can feel a slight vibration then this usually indicates the hard drive motor is spinning. If you feel nothing then power is not getting through to the spindle motor assembly  and this usually indicates your hard disk drive has an electronic component or power supply problem. If you can feel a movement sensation from the drive internals then this indicates the read write head actuator is being engaged and the lack of a boot screen is usually indicative of the read write head malfunction.

Hard Disk Noisy but computer still boots

If your  computer boots but the hard drive is making unfamiliar noises, you  may still be able to take an image of the drive (copy its contents ) before it fails. This however can be a risky option as the process will involve a lot of disk process time and utilization of what are already stressed components and  digital recording media.

Datlabs recommend that in these cases you do not attempt copy the files to an alternative external hard drive because the operating system task processing will further stress the failing hardware and may result in permanent damage to your stored data.

It is true that today’s hard drives are much more reliable than they were 20 years ago  however they are still prone to failure and are not what can be described as the most reliable component in your computer.

If the hard drive will not boot or another system cannot see the hard drive, then your best bet is to contact Datlabs for a free consultation.

Logical Hard Disk Failure

A logical failure occurs when a hard drive is recognized by the OS but data files and folders are not visible or accessible. This can be caused by many different factors including but not limited to human error, operating system malfunction, corrupt partition or file system. Under these circumstances data rescue using standard recovery applications is generally not possible and a professional data recovery solution is needed that can firstly reconstruct the corrupt system data areas that will enable the transfer of available stored data to a more reliable digital data storage device such as a portable external hard drive.

Hard Drive  Repair

To determine the precise nature of the hard drive fault condition that is preventing  you from accessing your stored data we undertake a detailed fault diagnosis process . This diagnosis process  categorizes  faults that require remedial work and the specific  procedures that are needed to retrieve your data and transfer it to a new hard drive. We retain a huge stock of replacement hard disk drive spare parts,   both electronic and mechanical, for the majority of current world manufactures of hard drives i.e. Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, Hitachi and Toshiba and many  legacy hard disk drives such as  Fujitsu, IBM, Quantum, Connor and many more.

Recovering Data From Hard Drives.

Hard Drive  Logical Failure

A hard drive logical failure usually  involves a file system software failure. A  file system  determines the physical location and structure of  data as arranged on the recording media of a computer hard drive.  Different computer operating systems support different file systems,  Windows OS  typically uses for example  FAT32 , FAT 64 and  NTFS ,  Mac-formatted drives typically use HFS+,  and  Linux has its own file systems etc .

Each file system has a different way of organizing and storing files on the physical media. A hard disks physical media is the concentric recording tracks on the magnetic surface of its rotating platters of which there can be upwards of a 100,000.  With a flash memory device such as a solid state hard drive the media is the physical location of  storage cells within the silicon substrate.  Each storage device is “formatted” using  a file system and this creates a recording space for that type of device.

A file system provides a way of separating data recorded on the drive into files., for example, their filenames, permissions, and other attributes. The file system also provides an index — a list of the files on the drive and where they are located on the hard drive, such that  the operating system can see what’s on the drive in one place rather than searching the entire drive to find a file.

Your operating system needs to accommodate a file system such that  it can display its contents, open files, and save files to it. If your operating system doesn’t work with a particular a file system, you may be able to install a file system driver that will facilitate this.

When File Systems code becomes corrupt  your computer operating system will facilitate access to the data stored on the hard drive recording media.  Datlabs technical staff are able to restore a corrupt file systems and access to your data files and folders.

Hard Drive Electronic Faults.

A computer hard drive’s physical control, management and electrical interfaces are  manifest in a Printed Circuit Board mounted as a part of the Hard Drive Assembly (HDA). This PCB circuitry has edge connectors  for power and data transfers to and from your computer motherboard processor  and the read/write registers or read/write head assembly that access the data storage media.  If your hard drive is a mechanical device the PCB  will also have  electronic circuitry that controls and regulates the speed of the  hard disk drive recording media platter/s  spindle motor.  As with all electronic circuits they are susceptible to failure as a consequence of environmental issues such as  power surges, overheating , short circuits , water and liquid damage.  Datlabs laboratories and technicians have the capabilities and expertise to diagnose and repair hard drive electronic faults, restore it to a working condition and transfer your data to an alternative device.

Hard Drive Controller Card Fix

WD Red Hard Disk Drive

Corrupt Hard Drive Firmware.

The hard drive firmware is the operating code or as we like to call it the drives own operating system, which controls the actual hard drive operation. From time to time the hard drive firmware may become corrupted or damaged and access to the stored data on the hard drive will be lost.

Symptoms of a firmware failure vary, however if your drive sounds as it should and isn’t recognized in BIOS then it may just be suffering from a firmware failure. Is your device is recognized in BIOS with an unusual capacity or incorrect drive label then this is an indication that the hard drive firmware is faulty or corrupt.

Updating, repairing and correcting faulty hard drive firmware requires that you have access to the hard drive interface at machine code level using specialist equipment. Here at Datlabs we have all the tools and experience needed to overcome firmware failure and recover inaccessible data.

Hard  Drive  Bad Sectors.

The most common fault or lab technicians are called upon to remedy is hard drive bad sectors.  Bad sectors are areas of the data storage media that cannot be read or read with an error report. All hard drives whether mechanical or solid state are susceptible to developing corrupt or bad sectors sectors ( defined by the file system).  In mechanical hard drives bad sectors can develop as a consequence of faulty or poorly performing read write heads or poor environmental conditions that adversely affect the recording media. Read operations  that fail after a number of retries are  flagged to the operating system or monitoring applications such as SMART as an error report.

The initial consequences of these error reports is that application process access times to their associated stored data will be much slower than usual. Your  computer will appear to run  slower than is usual or be unresponsive. In worst case the bad sectors will be such that the computer will fail to boot.  If the bad sectors have developed as a result of faulty or poorly performing read/write heads, Datlabs will  replace the read/write heads in order to improve the data read operation of the drive.

In all cases of hard drive bad sectors specialist equipment is used to read,  transfer and record the condition of the data prior to analysis and validation.  Click to find more information regarding hard drive bad sectors 

Hard Disk Drive Mechanical Faults.

Hard disk drive mechanical faults as the name suggests,  involve a failure of the moving parts within the device.  Second only to media issues, we see an inordinate number of hard disk drives whose moving parts have failed, often in portable devices such as laptops and external hard drives where they at an increased risk of a knock or fall. Hard disk drive moving parts will exhibit signs of wear and tear over their extended life leading to problems such as an increased number of reported bad sectors (bad sector count) and SMART error reports.

A typical symptom of a hard disk drive with faulty mechanical parts is unusual noises during power-up and operation. If you hear clicking, beeping, grinding or buzzing we encourage you to power off the device immediately to prevent further damage occurring.

If you hear such a noise our staff are on hand to help and if required discuss your needs for data recovery, we have a fully equipped clean room to deal with all hard disk drive mechanical faults and can in the majority cases replace faulty components , restore operation and recover the data stored on the recording media. Datlabs provide a specialist clicking hard drive recovery service.

Hard Drive Head Failure Noise

noisy hard drive

Hard Drive Connector and HDA Faults.

Connector and hard drive assembly (HDA)  faults are largely associated with portable and external hard drives.  New to market portable hard drives are small and susceptible to damage either in transit or as a result of being snagged by their USB connection cable.  Tugging on the cable can damage the edge connector that is either an integral part of the hard drive PCB or a part of the enclosure itself.  Damaged edge connectors can generally be repaired or substituted and access restored to your data. When  the damaged connector is a part of the enclosure it is essential that both the hard drive and its enclosure is provided to Datlabs for data recovery. Portable hard  drives with a separate enclosure generally have additional features such as hardware encryption , wifi and other ancillaries that maybe unique to the storage of data.

When a portable hard drive has sustained a knock or a drop that has physically distorted its assembly then Datlabs has the capability  to  transfer the recording media into a new and compatible HDA and create an environment for the transfer of its data.

Datlabs Data Loss Tip

Power off Your computer /hard drive.

If your hard drive is malfunctioning then power off  your computer and / or hard drive.  If your hard drive / computer continues to operate, you may risk permanent physical damage to the hard drive and its recording media.  Stored data  and file structures may become corrupt as a result of  continued use and become  an impediment to successfully retrieving your data.

Datlabs Data Loss Tip

Water damaged hard drives.

Contamination and damage to hard drive recording media and electronics is exacerbated during a normal drying cycle.   Drying  and desiccation will leave particulates on the surface of a hard drive platter surface that require advanced specialist cleaning processes and procedures to restore it to a working condition. Datlabs has developed unique technology solutions to undertake such work.

Datlabs Data Loss Tip

Hard Drive Clicking and Buzzing Noises

Hard Drive clicking , buzzing or grinding noises are associated with defective read write heads. Continued attempts to boot the device often results in permanent damage to components, recording media or data files and folders. Our best advice is power down the device and contact our help line.

Lost and Deleted Data Recovery from Hard Drives.

Recovering deleted data from computer hard drives and external hard drives is standard procedure for our data recovery lab technicians and is for the most part one of the most successful services we offer. Providing the device has not experienced an an inordinate amount of use, has reasonable slack space and it is not long following the deletion then our services will generally be successful. In some cases the files will exhibit without file extensions or nomenclature however these with a little patience can be reconstructed by the user. Information regarding SSD and Deleted Data Recovery.

For More Details About Hard Drive Faults , Click The Icon:-

Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba

Hard Drive Recovery.

Western Digital



Datlabs Data Recovery Service Offices. 

You can take your Hard Drive to any of our Datlabs Data Recovery  Offices which are open 0800 – 1700 on week days.   Call our Customer Service Desk for an  appointment and a reference number before dropping in.   With Emergency cases we attend by courier within hours and will work on your Hard Drive until your data is recovered. Prior to any arranged collection or drop off you will need to robustly package your Hard Drive and insure it against loss or damage to its full and perceived value.

Datlabs London
Data Recovery Office

68 Lombard Street.
Near Bank Station
City of London.
T: 0207  293 0815

Datlabs Birmingham
Data Recovery Office

Grosvenor House,
11 St Pauls Square,
B3 1RB.
T: 0121 629 0437

Datlabs Chiswick
Data Recovery Office

Bldg 3. Chiswick Park
566 Chiswick High Road.
W4 5YA.
T: 0207 111 0965

Datlabs Liverpool
Data Recovery Office

Horton House.
Exchange Flags.
L2 3PF.
T: 0151 676 0000.

Datlabs Manchester
Data Recovery Office

The Pavilions.
Bridgehall  Drive.
BL9 7NY.
T: 0161 452 3896.

Datlabs Leeds
Data Recovery Office

City West Business Park,
Gelderd Road.
LS12 6LN.
T: 0113 254 9742