Case Study: LaCie Hard Drive Failure

Our hard drive recovery team recently completed work on a LaCie external hard drive that had suffered from some damage to its read/write heads. The data recovery was a success – here’s how they got on.

The client approached us after her LaCie Rugged Mini external hard drive, with a capacity of 1TB, started making a clicking noise when connected to a computer. The hard drive was not being recognised by any machine, despite the noise emanating from within the casing. Upon arrival, the data recovery process was explained to the client:

1) We assign a unique job reference number to the storage media, which follows it throughout its time with us. The media is then photographed for our records, and as proof for the client

2) The storage media is passed on to the relevant department and the free diagnosis begins. Here, our data recovery technicians will attempt to ascertain the fault.

3) The client is provided with a technical report, a free file listing detailing recoverable files, and a no-obligation quote. If accepted, upon receipt of payment, the data recovery work is completed and the recovered data is returned to the client; if declined, the original storage media is returned via secure courier.

Our data recovery team began work immediately on the LaCie hard drive. The hard drive was disassembled in our ISO-4 standard class 100 clean room, so each component could be inspected and tested individually. A clean room environment is important when disassembling a mechanical hard disk drive because it ensures the air is virtually contaminant free. Firstly, the PCB board was isolated and tested for damage. The PCB board is responsible for communication between the hard drive’s components and the computer. In this instance, the PCB was found to be healthy. Secondly, the ROM/firmware was accessed. ROM/firmware is a table of instructions that allows computers to interpret a disk’s signals in the correct manner. Again, this was found to be in full working order. Thirdly, the hard drive’s magnetic platters were examined for signs of damage; none could be found. Next, the read/write heads were examined, and damage was found to the actuator arm. When the drive was powered up, the read/write heads were slightly misaligned. The arm and the heads were chemically cleaned and reassembled on the disks. However, this was unsuccessful. Donor parts were then sourced from an identical LaCie hard drive, removed, and then assembled into the client’s damaged hard drive. From here, our data recovery team were able to take an image of the hard drive. The client’s data was recovered and returned via FTP.

Data Recovery