Hard Drive Recovery

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Hard Disk Drive Failure ?

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Hard Disk Drive Data Recovery

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Hard Disk Drive Data Recovery.

Here at Datlabs we recover data stored on Hard Drives that have become faulty. In most cases the device will not be recognized by the BIOS and the computer will show a black screen making a detailed technical diagnosis difficult to undertake without specialist facilities, tools, test gear and expertise.

Typical  Hard Drive Fault Conditions.

  • Logical Failure (corrupt file system data).
  • Electronic Failure (PCB + connector damage).
  • Firmware Failure (corrupt drive operating code).
  • Media Degradation (magnetic platter surface damage).
  • Bad Sectors.
  • Mechanical Failure (moving part component failure ).
  • Connector  and HDA Damage.

Typical Causes and Symptoms of  Hard Drive  Failure.

  • Water and Liquid Damage.
  • Dropped and knocks resulting in physical damage
  • Clicking, buzzing or unusual noises
  • Data corruption
  • User Error, failed updates and back-ups.
  • Deleted files
  • Reformatting

Hard Drive Diagnosis , Repair and Recovery Process .

To determine the precise nature of the condition that is preventing  you from accessing your stored data we therefore undertake a detailed fault diagnosis process . This diagnosis process  categorizes  faults for the repair and data recovery procedures that are needed to retrieve and transfer your data to another hard drive. These categories are shown above.

We retain in-stock replacement 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, Conor and many more.

Hard Disk Drive Logical Failure.

A  file systems role is to determine the structure and location of where  data associated with files  is stored on the storage media used in a 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 .

Different file systems are simply different ways of organizing and storing files on a hard drive, flash drive, or any other storage device. Each storage device has one or more partitions, and each partition is “formatted” with a file system. The formatting process simply creates an empty file system of that type on the device.

A file system provides a way of separating the data on the drive into individual pieces, which are the files. It also provides a way to store data about these 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’re located on the drive, so the operating system can see what’s on the drive in one place rather than combing through the entire drive to find a file.

Your operating system needs to understand a file system so it can display its contents, open files, and save files to it. If your operating system doesn’t understand a file system, you may be able to install a file system driver that provides support — or you just can’t use that file system with that operating system.

When File System code is  corrupted  your computer OS will not access the data stored on the hard drive .  Datlabs are able to repair corrupt file systems and restore access to your data files and folders.

Hard Disk Drive Electronic Faults.

Hard drives 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 Disk Drive Not Spinning

Hard Drive Corrupt Firmware.

Hard drives with corrupt or deleted firmware require specialist diagnostic test equipment to diagnose and remedy the problems.

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 this firmware can become corrupted, damaged or become inaccessible and access to data on the 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 Media Degradation and Bad Sectors.

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.

Hard Disk Drive Mechanical Faults.

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.

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.

seagate_vr power hard disk drive

Data Loss Tip

Power off

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.

Data Loss Tip

Water damage

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.

Data Loss Tip

Strange 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.

Hard Drive Failure

More information : Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba Hsrd Drives.

Western Digital
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COURIER Collect and Drop-in at our Eleven Offices in UK.  A registered  company since 2002 we comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and we are certificated with the Information Commissioners Office.  Your data is processed in a safe and secure environment by qualified and experienced data recovery technicians.  When recovering data from faulty data storage devices our success rates are second to none !

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