What kind of failures can we solve?

Successfully Recovered Drives by Problem Type (Since Oct. 2017)

Bad/Defective PCB
Bad Heads/Head Swap
Platter Damage
Firmware Corruption
Partition Corruption
Stuck Heads

If your device has any of the following problems, there is a good chance we can recover your data:

  • Clicking noises (see our Myths section about clicking hard drives)
  • Bad heads (see our Youtube page with “Head Swap” videos)
  • Drive won’t mount on your Desktop (Mac)
  • Drive doesn’t appear in BIOS or Windows Explorer (PC)
  • “Flashing Question Mark” on Mac start-up
  • Broken USB connector or other interfaces
  • “Dead” (no power or noises)
  • Drive reads data extremely slowly
  • Burnt PCB 
  • Smoking hard drive or smoking chips on PCB / circuit board
  • Liquid damage/water damage
  • HDD Firmware Corruption (0MB size, drive only partially readable, drive reads/write extremely slowly, etc.)
  • SSD Firmware Corruption (BAD_CTX errors, 8MB size, etc.)
  • “Stiction” (heads stuck to platters)
  • Weak motor/stuck spindle
  • PCB Replacement/Adaptation
  • Corrupt ROM
  • Corrupt NVRAM
  • Weak heads
  • Accidentally reformatted
  • Accidentally erased / trashed / recycled files
  • Corrupt file system or operating system
  • Missing or lost files 
  • Virus infection
  • Data can’t be recovered by local computer repair shop/IT department
  • Data can’t be recovered or cloned with software data recovery tools
  • Encryption corruption (McAfee Endpoint Encryption, WinMagic, PGP Desktop, BitLocker, TrueCrypt, etc.
  • Lost/missing/unknown hard drive password (in some cases)

We can recover all storage device interfaces:

  • SATA, IDE/ATA, SCSI, SAS, m.SATA, PCI-e

We can recover from all failed operating systems:

  • Windows, Mac, Linux, DVRs, Xbox.

We can recover all partition types:

  • FAT, exFAT, NTFS, HFS+, ZFS, EXT, Novell.

We can recover all form factors:

  • 1″, 1.8″, 2.5″, 3.5″

We can recover from storage mediums:

  • Hard drives, SSD (solid-state-drive), RAID/SAN (multiple hard drives combined into one), Zip disk, NAS (network-attached-storage), 3.5″ floppy disk, SD card, MicroSD Card, CF Card, XQD Card, m.SATA, PCIe. 

How do you recover drives with “bad heads”?

  • When a head is bad, other data recovery companies insist on charging a lot of money for a full head-stack replacement. We offer this option too — but also offer an affordable “partial recovery” option…

We can swap heads on most model hard drives if we already have the donor part, the cost of donor parts is affordable enough for us to supply, or if you supply the donor drive. But sometimes the cost of donor parts is too expensive for our customers to afford.

…BUT THERE IS STILL HOPE! Even if your drive has a bad head and we can’t afford or obtain the donor parts, we can often still recover the majority of your data. We just won’t be able to recover 100%.

Although it depends on your exact hard drive model, we’re often able to disable the bad head (we do this “non-destructively” by manipulating the drive’s firmware) and recover most of your data. For example, if your drive has 10 heads and 1 is bad, we may be able to recover around 90% of your files.

Due to the high cost associated with replacing heads (donor parts can cost hundreds of dollars), and because we have a low flat fee for data recovery (rather than a “range” of prices like most other data recovery companies), we cannot afford to replace heads in all cases.

Watch some of our head swap videos below and find more on our Youtube channel.

     

What type of problems are unrecoverable?

  • Extreme platter damage

If your drive’s platters are extremely damaged (most often they are scratched), then the data is not recoverable. We are able to recover from drives with minor platter damage.

Scratched platters often occur when software data recovery tools have been run on hard drives with damage (especially if the drive was previously dropped). These software tools will exacerbate the problem areas on the drive by running for hours or days and can end up completely destroying all the data.

see through scratched platters - our abilities

Extreme platter damage; Instead of a “mirror finish” on the platters, they are completely see-through and all data has been completely destroyed.

 

  • On some drives… Bent spindle / Bad motor

We do not currently perform “platter swaps” for all hard drive models (a repair only necessary in rare situations), so sometimes we cannot help if the spindle is bent or the motor is bad. This is an EXTREMELY rare situation (less than .5% of all hard drive’s we’ve received). Usually, if the drive is NOT spinning up, the problem is NOT a “bad motor” (this is a very common misdiagnosis).  

We CAN perform platters swaps for most 2.5″ hard drives and some 3.5″ hard drives. For example, this Seagate hard drive was in a fire and the outer housing was completely burned and melted. We had to perform a platter swap in this case and we recovered 99.9999% of the data on the drive!

Fire Damage Hard Drive Data Recovery Fire Damage Hard Drive Data Recovery

 


 

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