Data Recovery from a LaCie Portable HDD

Hard drives that are moved about frequently – such as portable or external hard drives – run an increased risk of physical faults like head crashes, as a client of ours recently discovered.

The client got in touch after hearing a concerning ticking/beeping noise that was out of the ordinary, and suspected there was a problem with the drive’s heads. The hard drive in question was a LaCie Rugged Mini portable hard disk drive, with a capacity of 2TB. The client used the portable hard drive to store video projects, and unfortunately, made no backups. Typically, portable hard drives are the backup, but in this instance, the drive was used to store the master copies. The client is unsure how the drive was damaged, but being portable, it was carried with him on a daily basis in a bag, where the damage likely occurred. After speaking with a member of our team, we arranged for the LaCie portable hard drive to be collected from the client, free of charge; we are currently collecting all drives from our clients due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon arrival into the lab, our data recovery team disassembled the portable hard drive in our Class 100 clean room, ensuring that it was kept contaminant-free at all times. We will provide a free diagnosis for any media in order to ascertain the problem, and this will be followed by a no-obligation quote. If the client accepts, our data recovery team will get to work; if it is declined, we will send the media back free of charge.

As suspected, the LaCie portable hard drive had suffered from a head crash. There are multiple causes of a head crash, from knocks, bumps and shocks to general wear and tear through use over time. However, since this portable hard drive was only a few months old, it was likely some sort of physical trauma led to the heads being knocked out of place. When a hard disk drive is powered up, it’s normal to hear several short bursts of humming as the motor begins to spin the platters, followed by some ticking noises as the heads move into position. However, any regular noises – such as clicking, beeping or scratching – after around ten to fifteen seconds, is not normal and could be indicative of a head crash.

Data Recovery

From our library of over 16,000 donor parts, compatible parts were sourced. Thankfully, due to the client’s quick thinking when he heard the ticking noise, there was no damage sustained to the platters, and all the data on the drive was recovered – a total of 823 GB. The data was returned to the client on a new portable hard drive by courier that same day.