Diagnosing Hard Drive Data Recovery Problems

The last couple of decades have seen the proliferation of computer and laptop use all over the world, with technology and data an integral part of peoples’ lives. Although hard disk drives are slowly being replaced, they are still used widely. But what causes data loss from them?

Hard drive data recovery diagnoses are typically divided into two categories – physical and logical. The first, as you’d imagine, is where there’s something physically wrong with one or more of the hard drive’s components. The second is where there’s no visible damage to the hard drive’s components, but for some reason the data stored on it is inaccessible. There are dozens of possible reason why someone would need hard drive data recovery, including firmware corruption, mechanical failures (like a head crash), electronic failure, circuit board malfunction or just plain old fashioned human error.

Mechanical failure is generally seen as the most serious type of fault when it comes to hard drive data recovery, and often leads to irretrievable data loss. A hard disk drive is a non-volatile storage device, which stores data on fast-spinning magnetic platters. Data is read to and written from these magnetic platters via the drive’s read/write heads, located on the tip of the actuator arm. The read/write heads recode and retrieve data stored on the hard disk drive while the platters spin at incredibly fast speeds, sometimes up to 15,000 RPM. The method of reading and writing data is one of the reasons why hard drive data recovery is such a highly sought-after service. Even a tiny disturbance can cause the actuator arm containing the read/write heads to slip and scratch the magnetic platter beneath, causing potentially irreversible data loss. This physical failure, known as a head crash, is more often seen in laptop hard drives, as they tend to be moved about more compared to hard drives in desktop PCs. Once a hard drive suffers a head crash, there’s a strong possibility is will suffer another, which is why it’s important to immediately power down a hard drive if you hear a clicking or scratching noise coming from within. This doesn’t mean that a well looked after hard drive will last forever, however – hard disks have a limited lifespan, and hard drives that see a lot of use will die faster than others.

Another common physical hard drive fault is a motor failure. The hard drive platters are spun on spindles, which rest on a series of bearings. If the lubricant on the bearings fails, it can burn out the motor. To complete a successful hard drive data recovery, a data recovery technician would have to transplant a healthy motor from a donor hard drive. The motor is right at the bottom of the hard drive’s chassis, so a complete strip down and rebuild is required.

Although physical hard drive faults are a common sight in our hard drive data recovery clean room lab, we do see a fair number of drive’s that are physically healthy, but the data on them is corrupt, missing or inaccessible – these are known as logical errors. Logical failures, on balance, tend to be easier to deal with than physical failures, and hard drive data recovery is typically easier. Many logical data recovery issues, like bad sectors, can be fixed by the user with free data recovery software, although we’d advise caution when using these. Firmware faults are something our hard drive data recovery technicians see a lot. A hard drive’s firmware is essentially its own little operating system, and if it gets damaged, it can render the drive essentially useless. Plain old fashioned human error is one of the biggest reasons people need hard drive data recovery. We see a lot of hard drives that have had their power supply fried by an incorrect mains cable. Just because the connector looks identical, don’t assume any mains cable will work! If you’re lucky, over-voltage will only damage the IDE/SATA to USB adaptor, and data recovery should be easy.

It doesn't matter if your hard drive has a physical fault or a logical fault - Data Recovery Specialists provide a free hard drive data recovery diagnosis and quote before any work goes ahead. 

Hard Drive Data Recovery