Data Recovery Case Study: Samsung

Patient:

Samsung External hard drive 500GB in capacity.

Reported Fault:

Dropped and now is softly clicking and not being picked up by the computer.

Diagnoses:

Sticktion: Read/Write heads have become stuck to the surface of the platters.

The customer brought into us a portable external hard drive that had been dropped, for a free analysis. Our free analysis takes around 24 to 48 hours to carry out. During this process we fully examine the damaged hard disk drive to see if we can recover the client’s data from it. We operate a ‘no fix – no fee’ policy, which means that if a recovery of the client’s data is not possible, we do not charge them. We also use the free analysis enable us to fully diagnose the issues with the damaged hard drive, so that we can provide the client with a fair and exact no obligation quote for any work that needs to be carried out, making sure that the client is not tied into anything just by sending us their damaged media.

This client’s drive was now not being picked up or detected by her computer or laptop after she had dropped it from her rucksack, and was also reported to be making a soft clicking sound. It contained a large amount of university work that had to be completed and handed in with a deadline of 1 week away and understandably, she was distraught.

Using our ISO3 Class 1 clean air environment which filters the air to remove particles that could contaminate the drive, we opened the hard drive to inspect the internal mechanical workings of the device. Upon this inspection it was discovered that the read write heads had made contact with the surface of the hard drives platter. They had become stuck to the surface of the disk and the clicking sound that was being produced was the motor attempting to spin.

Using specialist tools we removed the stuck read write heads from the platter in our clean air environment and inspected them for damage using powerful microscopes. Once it was ascertained that the original read write heads were ok. The technicians working on the case carefully fitted the original read write head stack back into the client’s hard drive. The now repaired device was then hooked up to one of our special hard drive imaging stations, which allow us to connect to a hard drive as the manufacturer would and gives us greater control of the damaged device, which allowed us to make a bit for bit copy of all of the data on the drive to healthy fresh hard drive.

When the heads had become stuck they had caused some damage to the surface of the hard drive, resulting in what is known as bad sectors, a sector on the hard drive that the read write heads could not read. Our equipment allows the hard drive to skip these bad sectors, where a normal computer would freeze or “crash” when they encounter them. Luckily for the client these bad sectors that had been caused were on a part of the hard drive that had not been used to store her information.

So our technicians were able to extract all of the client’s data from the dropped and damaged hard drive intact with the original read write heads and get a full recovery.