Why is a Data Recovery Clean Room Necessary?

Most physical data recovery work is undertaken in a class 100 clean room. But what is a clean room, why is it so necessary to carry out work in one?

A frequently mentioned facility in our data recovery case studies is our class 100 clean room, where most physical data recovery work is carried out; this is particularly important when dealing with hard drives. Thanks to decades of research, data recovery from a damaged or broken hard drive is something that can be undertaken by train professionals. However, mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs) are assembled in strictly controlled environments, ensuring as few contaminants get inside the drive as possible. Inside a hard drive, there are numerous moving parts, including the read/write heads which sit on the actuator arm, the spindle motor, and the platters. The heads hover a fraction of a millimetre above the spinning platters, so even a small particle of dust getting in the way can cause catastrophic damage to a hard drive. When our data recovery technicians open a hard drive, it is done so in conditions designed to replicate the ones in which it was assembled – that’s where our class 100 data recovery clean room comes into the picture.

A class 100 clean room is a room in which the air has been filtered to ensure that there are always fewer than 100 particles of contaminant such as dust per cubic foot in the air. Thanks to additional measures taken like sticky mats, in reality, there are way fewer particles in the air than this. Working in a clean room environment with an HDD allows our data recovery specialists to replicate the environment in which it was assembled. With work on other storage media such as solid-state drives (SSDs) and USB flash drives, a strict class 100 clean room environment is not particularly important, and flash-based devices contain no moving parts and are therefore less susceptible to physical damage due to contaminants.

This is why attempting to undertake DIY data recovery at home is a bad idea. Our data recovery team not only have the skills, knowledge and experience, but the facilities too. If you try and fix a physical hard drive fault such as a head crash at home, outside of a clean room environment, you’re risking the chance of never seeing your data again. One particularly damaging myth is that opening a hard drive in a steamy bathroom will be safer. While it’s true that steam will remove contaminants from the air, you then run the risk of damaging your hard drive with water. In short - leave data recovery to the specialists.

Data Recovery