What is Hard Drive Data Recovery & How Does It Work?
Hard Drive Recovery is the process of extracting and recovering data from a laptop, desktop or external hard drive that has failed mechanically, logically or by user error leaving you without access to your data.
Can You Recover My HDD Even Though Others Couldn't?
Data Recovery is all we do! We recover data from every type of hard drive failure with an emphases on recovering mechanically failed hard drives. We have engineers that are trained to deal with virtually every type of failure from every make and model hard disk. We can successfully recover data from hard drives that have been dropped, flooded, burned, shocked or simply die on their own. We also retrieve data from Windows, Mac and Linux computers. These hard drives may be clicking, beeping, buzzing, not spinning, dead, unrecognized and more. We restore data from badly failed hard drives every single day even though other professional computer experts said it was impossible.
Below, you will read about the different types of failures and the basic process and procedures we follow to perform successful hard drive recoveries from each type of failure.
Logically Failed Hard Drive Recovery
The term "logically failed" does not actually refer to a hard drive failure at all. Instead it refers to an accidental or involuntary change or corruption to the boot sector, master file table, file system or operating system. This type of failure will prevent a computer from booting properly, accessing data as intended or recognizing as a logical storage device within Windows, Mac or Linux. This type of failure is typically known as a level 1 recovery because it does not require a clean room to successfully recover your data. Instead, we have many different specialized software tools that we use in combination with our hardware based tools to safely recover data from all kinds of logical failures.
These specialized tools allow us to bypass the logical damage and recover the data from your logically failed hard drive safely. We start by using advanced hardware based data recovery equipment designed to make a sector by sector copy of your logically failed hard drive. This is a safety precaution we take to protect against additional problems, accidents or failures during the recovery attempt. We will then work with the sector by sector copy of your hard drive to recover your data. We use specialized tools that help us bypass the logical hard drive failure, gain access to the data and repair any file structure damage sustained during the logical failure if possible. Next, we will recover your data to a brand new USB external hard drive or USB flash drive depending on how much data is recovered. Finally, one of our data recovery specialists will check and verify the integrity of the recovered data before we return it. We will keep the sector by sector copy of your hard drive that we make in our vault for about 30 days from the time we return your new storage device. This should give you enough time to go through the recovered data to verify it's integrity. After the 30 day time period, we will wipe the sector by sector copy of your drive and close your case.
Mechanically Failed Hard Drive Recovery
All hard drives are mechanical devices. They have a motor that spins metal disks called platters that store your data, read/write heads that read and write the data to one or both sides of each platter surface using electro magnetic technology, firmware that controls how the data is stored and organized between the platters and a circuit board (PCB) that provides power, a key part of the firmware and a connection interface to the computer.
Because hard drives have multiple mechanical and non mechanical parts that work together to make them operate as intended, they can fail in a number of ways. The motor can fail, the heads can fail, the firmware can become corrupted or damaged, the PCB can fail, the platters can wear out, etc......
We are specialists at recovering mechanically failed hard drives. We believe that if we can't recover it, no one can! We have the most advanced data recovery equipment on the planet and years of training and experience in hard drive recovery that allow us to recover data others can't. This allows us to provide our clients with superior results.
How Do We Actually Recover Your Data From A Mechanically Failed Hard Drive?
When your hard drive is mechanically failed we start by opening it in our ISO 5 Class 100 clean room. Here, we perform a full examination of the platters and read/write heads under our powerful microscopes. This helps us identify what type and where the specific damage is located on your hard drive. Next, we formulate a plan to deal with the specific failure and damage. This plan is based on a high level understanding of your specific hard drive, it's specific failure and other similar failures and cases seen in the past. We then start by repairing the damage by hand and/or transplanting donor parts into your failed hard drive to bring it into a working state again. Next, using extremely advanced and specialized hard drive recovery equipment, we work with the firmware, make necessary changes and calibrate the new parts in until we gain access to your data. This is often the most specialized and complicated part of the hard drive recovery process!
Once the initial mechanical damage has been bypassed, we start the sector by sector imaging process using a different tool designed specifically for this process. This equipment allows us to map the heads and zones of the hard drive, deal with additional firmware problems, send hard drive specific commands to the HDD, overcome and/or skip damaged areas and/or isolate damaged or week heads until we have worked through the problems to complete the best possible recovery of your data.
Once the image has been completed, we use specialized data recovery software tools to help us recover and repair file structure damage that allow us to provide you with the best possible results. This software is only used on the image drive we created in the previous step and never used to directly scan or work with your damaged hard drive. Finally, we save the recovered data to a brand new external hard drive or USB flash drive where one of our engineers will check and verify the integrity of the recovered data so that we can provide you with an estimated level of success.
User Error Hard Drive Recovery
Sometimes people accidentally format their hard drive or delete files they didn't intend to delete. This can create a serious situation for many clients when that data is vitally import to their project, business or personal life. In many cases, we can absolutely recover your data but you need to stop using your computer or hard drive immediately to give us the best chance of recovery. When a file is deleted from a hard drive, the data is not actually deleted but instead, the pointer to the file is deleted. The success of the recovery results are different depending on what is done after the deletion, format or other problems, what operating system/file system and what type of data has been deleted. We will treat this situation much like a logical failure as we will start by creating a sector by sector image of the hard drive. We will then scan the image drive for the lost data. The process of recovering this type of data can take hours and hours to sifting through the results to find the data you are looking for. These cases are often very time consuming and complicated. They can cost as much to recover as a mechanical failed hard drive to recover due to the amount of time it takes to successfully locate and recover the files you are looking for.