Data Recovery from a Toshiba Portable Hard Drive

Our data recovery team see dozens of dropped hard drives every month, and it’s one of the more common causes of physical hard drive damage they see. After dropping their Toshiba external hard drive, a client got in touch.

The hard drive in question was a Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable Hard Drive, 500GB. The external hard drive had fallen out of the client’s bag from around three or four feet, and landed onto concrete. The hard drive’s plastic casing had cracked, and when connected to a laptop, the drive made a screeching noise and was immediately powered down. Upon arrival in the data recovery lab, the hard drive was catalogued with a unique job reference number, photographed, and sent over to our data recovery team for the free evaluation. A device’s job number follows it through every stage of the data recovery process, and allows it to be identified easily at all times. With the information available, our data recovery team were almost certain that the fall had knocked one of the hard drive’s read/write heads out of place, and that the screeching noise observed by the client when the drive was powered up was the heads crashing onto the magnetic platter; this is known as a head crash. Even a small knock or bump has the potential to cause a head crash, although most modern hard drives are made with technology designed to prevent this.

Even something as microscopic as a particle of dust has the potential to cause a head crash. A hard drive’s read/write heads are situated on the end of the actuator arm, and hover mere nanometres above the drive’s magnetic platters, where the data is stored, which spin at speeds of around 15,000 RPM. For this reason, it is vital that all data recovery work is undertaken in the right environment. Our data recovery technicians work in Class 100 Clean Rooms at all times. This ensures that there is a minimum chance of any particles of dust in the air coming into contact with the hard drive’s internal workings. Class 100 simply means that there will always be no more than 100 particles of dust within a cubic foot, although in reality, this is a maximum upper limit and there will likely be far fewer.

The portable hard drive was disassembled by our data recovery team, who ascertained that the drive had indeed suffered from a head crash. Because the hard drive was powered up for short time, there was some damage to the magnetic platters. While it’s understandable that you might want to check there is physical damage before you consult a professional data recovery specialist, if the data on your hard drive is of particular importance and you haven’t backed it up, we’d recommend you do so immediately. The client hadn’t backed up their hard drive at all; in fact, this portable Toshiba hard drive was acting as a back-up itself. The damage to the magnetic platters wasn’t too severe, so our data recovery technicians set to work replacing the damaged read/write heads from our library of donor parts totalling in excess of 14,000. In total, around 90% of the client’s data was recovered.

It doesn’t cost anything to get a free data recovery check-up and diagnosis before you commit to going through with it, and we offer a strict “no data, no fee” guarantee, except in certain circumstances where there may be costs accrued; we will be upfront about any such costs in this event.

Data Recovery