Ticket #542 – Western Digital WD800JD 3.5″ SATA Hard Drive

This drive came in yesterday with reports of a virus infection. Take a look at the drive below, notice anything else?

western digital broken sata data interface

The SATA data connector is completely broken!  Even if the drive is virus infected, the first step will be replacing the PCB. Luckily, we have 1000’s of donor drives in stock and had an identical donor PCB.

However, with modern hard drives, simply moving an identical PCB will not fix the drive.  Each modern PCB has unique information embedded in it which corresponds to the drive it’s connected to.  Swapping the PCB without moving this embedded information will get the patient drive spinning, but no data will be accessible (and the drive will be “clicking”).

In this case, we manually unsoldered and moved the embedded ROM chip, which contains the unique information for the drive. This allows the drive to spin up, and get Ready, and ID properly.

Since this drive was reported to have a virus infection, the next step is cloning the entire drive to another drive.  This completed without problem (no bad sectors). We then deactivated the MBR (the MBR tells the operating system that this disk is partitioned).  Since the OS doesn’t think it’s partitioned anymore, the drive will not mount, and therefore no viruses which may run upon mounting will become an issue.

We then scanned the drive using data recovery software and found all the missing files.  All files were moved to the client’s new transfer drive while simultaneously being virus scanned. All viruses were removed from our client’s files and the recovery finished — 100% successful!

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