Case study: Seagate Momentus ST500LT012 data recovery

We’ve recently completed work on a Seagate Momentus ST500LT012 drive that was removed by the client from their laptop. The drive had previously been examined by a computer repair shop, who had identified the problem but didn’t have the necessary facilities to undertake a data recovery. As they are one of our partners, they referred the client to us.

Having received the drive, we handed it to one of our technicians for a free diagnosis, which typically takes 24-48 hours. The technician took the drive into one of our class 100 clean rooms to ensure a contaminant-free working environment. Upon opening the hard drive, it was apparent that the read/write head stack had been damaged after the laptop was dropped. From our library of 16,000 spare parts, the largest in Europe, we found a matching set of heads, which we then installed into the drive. We used specialist head stack replacement tools, which enable us to carefully install the new heads without damaging the hard drive’s platter.

Once the new heads were fitted, the drive was resealed and hooked up to one of our diagnostic machines, which allowed us to safely power up the drive without causing further damage and potentially losing data permanently. Once the drive was powered on, we imaged the drive byte by byte to create a clone.

Due to the physical damage sustained on the drive’s platters, a number of sectors were unreadable. We were, however, able to circumnavigate the bad sectors, allowing us to recover the rest of the data successfully. Stored on our secure server while we awaited further instruction, the data was then copied to an external hard drive supplied by the client.