Our Data Recovery Clean Room

One of the things we discuss frequently, particularly in our case studies, is our Class 100 clean room where all physical data recovery work is undertaken. But why do we have to work in these conditions, and does it affect the chances of a successful data recovery if we don’t?

Although data recovery can be undertaken in the case of a physically damaged hard drive, hard drives aren’t designed to be repaired. When they are assembled by the manufacturer, they need to be done so under strict conditions. If the assembly environment isn’t completely clean, it can lead to damage to the hard drive further down the line. Even a tiny particle of dust or smoke can lead to a head crash; although the inside of a hard drive isn’t a vacuum, it is completely clean and free of contaminants. So, when you’re taking a hard drive apart for data recovery, you want to replicate the conditions it was assembled in to prevent any further physical damage. A clean room environment is free of dust and other small particles, and allows our hard drive recovery technicians to open hard drives without causing further data loss.

So what does ‘Class 100’ mean? Simply put, it means that the air inside the clean room is filtered constantly to ensure it contains no more than 100 dust particles per cubic foot. In reality, though, our standards are much higher due to other precautions; for example, sticky mats to collect dust from the shoes of our data recovery technicians. But why is all this needed just to stop tiny particles of dust? In a hard drive, there are magnetic platters where the data is stored. Data is written to and read from the platters by the read/write heads, which hover just a few nanometres above the platters, but aren’t supposed to come into contact with them. If they, it can lead to physical damage to the platter, which could permanently destroy your data and render data recovery impossible. If you consider the size of an airborne particle of dust, it’s entirely possible it’s bigger than the gap between the hard drive’s platter and the read/write heads. It isn’t difficult to see how difficult hard drive recovery would be if something got in the way of the heads and the platter.

So, if you’re thinking about opening up a drive and attempting hard drive recovery yourself, you should reconsider. Attempting physical data recovery outside the confines of the controlled environment that a clean room offers is only likely to make the problem worse, which could cause your data to be lost forever. Data Recovery Specialists undertake all physical hard drive recovery in our Class 100 clean room, meaning your media is safeguarded from further damage.

Data Recovery