Hard drive failures general fall into three categories. We have described these failure below to give you an ides of what your failure might be:-

Drive Not Spinning:

Reason 1: PCB Failure (Printed Circuit Board). This is usually the result of a power surge. Perhaps caused by plugging in the SATA connector the wrong way round, or using the wrong power cord for an external hard drive. In the case of electrical failure such as this, there is usually no sound coming from the drive at all.

Solution 1: We replace the PCB and swap the firmware information from the failed board to the new board. All modern hard drives have firmware installed on the PCB which is unique to the drive and needs to be transferred in order to access the data.

Reason 2: The hard drive motor has seized or the read-write heads have come into contact with the platter surface, preventing the motor from spinning. In these circumstances the hard drive quite often (but not always) make a faint beeping sound. This is caused by the motor trying to spin and being prevented from doing so.

Solution 2: In this situation the drive will need to be worked on in our cleanroom in order to recover the data.

Drive Spinning but Not Recognized:

Reason 1: The hard drive has unreadable ‘sectors’. A 1TB hard drive is made up of almost 2 billion individual sectors of data. When a single file is saved it is saved to 1,000’s of individual sectors. When some of these sectors cannot be read data corruption occurs, or for example, Windows or Mac OS will not boot on the drive.

Solution 1: Using specialist professional data recovery imaging equipment, we are able to resolve the reading issues to many if not all of the unreadable areas of data. We have the ability to read each of these bad sectors forwards, backwards, software resets, hardware resets, ignoring ECC (Error Correction Codes) and most importantly increasing read times. For example, Windows has a read-timeout of 600ms when reading a sector, but we have the ability to increase this timeout indefinitely in order to recover as much data as possible.

Reason 2: The hard drive had corrupted firmware: A hard drive is like a mini computer, it has a PCB (like a computers motherboard), a controller chip (like your computers CPU) and an internal Operating System (like a computers OS). It is this internal Operating System, called the System Area, which can become corrupt. If this System Area fails to boot up, data on the hard drive cannot be read.

Solution 2: We have the ability to repair the firmware on a hard drive using specialist equipment. The firmware on a hard drive, unlike a motherboard, contains unique data specifically for that drive and if the firmware is overwritten, there will never be access to user data.

Mechanical Failure:

Reason: While hard drives can simply fail from old age, most of the time a mechanically failed drive has had some sort of physical trauma such as being dropped or knocked off a table. Quite often a mechanically failed drive ‘clicks’ when you try to access it. ONE WORD OF ADVICE, if the drive is clicking SHUT IT DOWN immediately or you can cause irreparable damage.

Solution: These drives need to have the failed mechanical parts (read-write heads) replaced in a cleanroom environment. By cleanroom we do not mean your kitchen cleaned and polished… we mean in a Class10 (ISO 4) Cleanroom environment which filters particles out of the air. This is extremely important as the read-write heads travel 3 millionths of an inch above the platter surface and even a particle of dust between the heads and the platters can cause significant damage.


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