Seagate Barracuda Data Recovery

A challenging but successful data recovery case this week involved a Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 hard disk drive that was dropped by the client, a student at Cardiff University. As the hard drive contained valuable research documents, she was anxious about the chance of a successful data recovery.

With research for her dissertation including documents, photos and videos stored on the hard disk drive, naturally, the client was keen to get all of the data back. She phoned Data Recovery Specialists for some advice, explaining the situation to us. After dropping the hard drive, which was in an external caddy, the drive continued to be used; it was only later that it failed, following a clicking noise coming from the chassis. The drive was sent into our data recovery lab for an initial diagnosis, where our technicians quickly got to the bottom of the problem – there was a problem with the firmware caused by bad sectors. We provided a no-obligation quote to the client for the data recovery, and assured her that she would pay nothing if the data recovery wasn’t a success. She accepted, and we immediately began the process of retrieving her precious data.

In order to read data from a hard disk drive, the read/write heads need to make a ‘handshake’ with the firmware. The firmware is like the hard drive’s own operating system, and it is stored on the same magnetic platters where the drive stores the rest of the data. Successful data recovery depends on a working firmware, which means if it’s damaged, it needs to be repaired. One of the many functions of the firmware is to keep track of bad sectors; when the read/write heads find a bad sector, it is recorded in the firmware so the heads ignore them in future. Bad sectors can occur naturally over time, as hard drives only have a finite lifespan. Nonetheless, bad sectors can pose significant problems for data recovery. When the drive fell, there was only minimal damage to the read/write heads; however, they wrote a load of unwanted data to the drive’s allocation table. When the heads found another bad sectors, they weren’t unable to record it in the table, leading to a ‘blue screen of death’. Luckily, our data recovery team were able to successfully repair the firmware and replace the faulty read/write heads; the client got her data back, and the data recovery was a success. 

Although often seen of as an easier fault compared the physical damage, firmware repair can be a tricky task for data recovery specialists. The mechanics and inners workings of hard disk drives are closely-guarded secrets; manufacturers don’t want users to open them up and access the firmware. As such, each model of hard drive will have its own unique firmware. Our data recovery team have gathered knowledge on dozens of hard drive firmware over the years and have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to carrying our logical data recovery. At Data Recovery Specialists, we are able to undertake hard drive recovery from firmware faults as well as physical damage. Get in touch now for a free, no-obligation chat with one of our data recovery team.

Data Recovery