It’s always better to attempt data recovery from a damaged hard drive without opening it up. Opening the drive greatly increases the risk of a total loss of data. The types of recovery that can be carried out without dismantling the drive are:
The data is inaccessible but the drive itself is not damaged. We have hardware and software products that can be used to recover data lost in this way. The degree of difficulty varies from drive to drive and this is reflected in the prices we charge.
Usually caused by bad sectors on the drive. The drive might show up in the BIOS but not within Windows or other Operating System or Windows might lock up in operation. Using our imaging equipment we attempt to clone the drive to another storage device. Success rates vary according to the amount and types of corruption involved but we have a good success rate recovering data with bad sectors.
Failure of Circuit Board
If the circuit board has failed then generally a near identical one will be needed from a donor hard drive and the small PCB ROM chip (which contains information particular to the original drive) will either have to be physically swapped over or the original one reprogrammed. It is common for circuit board problems to cause bad sectors so imaging may well be needed to see and copy the original data.
Damage to the firmware stored on the hard drive platters. The firmware information is read from the service area of the platter and if there is a problem with the firmware then the drive won’t show in the BIOS or in the Operating System. Again, this might lead to bad sectors on the drive. We use MRT Ultra to try and repair the firmware to make the drive accessible. We would then image the drive.
USB Memory Sticks
These are usually very cheaply made and easily damaged. We would never recommend storing important data on USB Memory Sticks unless you also have another backup. We can recover data for both logical and physical failures.
Check out our data recovery price guide HERE.
How Do We Recover Data?
We use a combination of hardware tools and specialist software. Our main hardware tools are:
This tool has a very good success rate in getting data from damaged drives. Some of the jobs it is really useful for are:
- One-click automatic HDD diagnostic repair module where possible
- Flash ROM programming unit
- Recovery of corrupted firmware in HDDs
- Unlock and reset hard drive password
- Data recovery and HDDs repair due to failed read/write heads
- Repair of HDDs with physically-damaged sectors
- Disk imaging, imaging by selective head, file recovery
- Head map editing in RAM for data recovery
- Hide found defects of magnetic surface
- Forward and reverse scans and directly recover data from bad sectors
- Scan and recover accidentally deleted files
Deepspar Disk Imager
With the Deepspar Disk Imager we can scan the damaged drive to tease out every last piece of data. These images show the Deepspar Disk Imager and the imaging screen while it is working.
Both these tools are expensive to buy and complicated to setup and use effectively but they are must have devices as they provide the best chance of getting important data back in a useful form.
There are a number of professional software products we use to recover data from images created by either of the two hardware devices already mentioned. (It is not a good idea to run any recovery software on the damaged drive itself as more damage is likely to be caused). This is why the software selling for £30 or so are not useful in professional data recovery.
The software we have the most success with includes:
- GetDataBack for NTFS and FAT
- Hex Editors Like WinHex
These tools are expensive to buy and can be very difficult to use effectively but are highly recommended for serious data recovery.
Solid State Drives
We are able to recover data from SSD’s in some cases but but prices vary and we need to examine the drive first. We have had some success with our MRT Ultra tool but in cases where the onboard chips have to be removed we are still looking at the necessary hardware tools before we decide which one is best for us and our customers needs
Physical Hard Drive Problems
See our page dedicated to data recovery from physically damaged hard drive where it needs to be opened and repaired.