Data Recovery Case Study: Seagate

Patient:

Seagate 500GB 2.5″ SATA drive removed from a laptop

Reported Fault:

The laptop had been dropped and the hard drive was now no longer working.

The client sent in a hard disk drive via FedEx. A local computer shop had identified the fault to be the hard drive but did not have the necessary equipment or knowledge base to handle the job, so they referred the client to us.

We offered the customer our free analysis, where we take between 24-48 hours to examine the hard drive and locate the fault and see if a recovery is possible. If we cannot recover the data we do not charge under our ‘no -fix -no fee’ policy, and even return the drive free of charge. If a recovery is possible, we provide the client with a fair, no obligation quote, based on the work that needs to be carried out by our fully qualified technicians.

After contacting the client to tell them that a recovery was possible and informing them of the quote, we began working to recover their data.

Our technicians took the drive into our Class 1 ISO3 clean air environment to enable us to safely open the hard drive without risk of contamination from natural airborne contaminates such as dust and pollen.

After we had opened the hard drive, we ascertained that the read write head stack had been damaged upon impact when the laptop was dropped. The damaged head stack was removed from the hard drive and, from our large stock of hard drives, we got a set of matching read/write heads and extracted them in the clean room. The replacement heads were then installed into the client’s drive using specialist head stack replacement tools, these allow a technician to safely install new and working heads without damaging them or the patient hard drive. Strict Electrostatic Discharge or ESD precautions are taken to safe guard the new sets of heads. This means that work is carried out on an anti-static matt and that the technician was wearing an anti-static wristband to carry the excess current away from the technician and not into the components or hard drive.

Once the new head stack assembly (or HSA) was fitted, the drive was resealed and removed from the clean air environment. It was then hooked up to one of our hard drive diagnostic machines which allows us to monitor and control how the hard drive functions. The drive was powered on and it was processed through its start-up procedure.

Once the drive had span up to speed and registered as being ready for data to be read, we were able to image the faulty drive byte by byte to another hard drive to create a clone. Because the drive had sustained physical damage when it was dropped, it had caused damage to a number of sectors that were rendered unreadable due to the physical condition and damage caused to the disc. With our specialist equipment we were able to circumnavigate these bad sectors to allow us to recover the rest of the information from the hard drive.

The client’s data was then safely backed up to our server whilst the customer arranged a payment for the work carried out. The data was then transferred to a replacement external hard drive for them. When the payment had been received, the data was dispatched via a special delivery courier service.