Hard Drives

Hard drive data recovery requires specialized experience. We save and retrieve data from all types of media.

hard-drivesHard drives are found almost everywhere you look. Computers, security systems, and even airplanes rely on hard drives to store mass amounts of data.

Regular backups are important, but if you don’t have a backup that’s up-to-date and the hard drive fails, we can help.

Whether it be a failure from natural degradation, or from intentional or accidental human error, hard drives do fail. Sadly, hard drives do not last forever.

Experience Counts

We have more than 15 years of experience and are proud to provide the best in knowledge, service, price, and customer satisfaction. In fact, if you aren’t delighted with our hard drive data recovery services, you won’t pay. Most importantly, your hard drive is in the best hands possible at Western Data Recovery.

We also recover External Drives

Hard Drive Data Recovery

Hard drive data recovery is possible because of “residual data”. What this means is that some data continues to exist on the hard drive even after it has been deleted, overwritten or damaged. Consequently, residual data is valuable to hard drive data recovery.

The process of hard drive data recovery entails finding the data that the operating system has lost track of, but which still exists in individual sectors. Unfortunately, sectors that are corrupted or physically damaged may be unrecoverable. In these cases, the likelihood of success is higher when the recovery attempt is immediately after the failure.  The point, of course, is to prevent overwriting the sectors with missing data.

Steps to Hard Drive Recovery

The first step in recovering from a data loss is to learn whether the loss is a result of mechanical failures such as broken hardware, or a logical failure like corruption, bad sectors, and missing or corrupt master file table (MFT). It is possible to run data recovery software on a logically failed hard drive and retrieve data successfully.

The second step is to determine the least destructive method to use. Our first consideration is recovery techniques that minimize drive access. For example, we run an MFT recovery rather than a block scan of the entire drive. It may also be advisable to try to acquire a sector by sector hard drive image of the data.

Hardware data recovery is a more expensive method as technicians may need to disassemble the hard drive to replace failing parts and recover the data. This process takes place in a specialized Clean Room facility to avoid damage caused by dust and other particulate matter in the air. Hard drives are finely tuned machines and it takes special equipment and facilities to read the Platters from a mechanically failed drive.

Symptoms of a Mechanical Hard Drive Failure

There are a number of symptoms or warning factors that can alert you to a physical drive failure. These include:

Hard Drive shows as “Non Initialized” in Windows Disk Management.

Windows Disk Management lists the hard drives that are recognized by the computer and the way in which the storage space on those drives is allocated. A “Non Initialized” error message is a signal of a fundamental communication error. Usually an attempt to initialize a Mechanical failed hard drive will result in a low level “I/O” (Input/Output) error

Hard Drive is not spinning (no power)

Hard Disk Drive Printed Circuit Board

Hard Disk Drive PCB

If a correctly powered hard drive is not spinning (I.E. Drive is silent), it can be an indication of a problem with the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) that is attached to a hard drive. The PCB is responsible for controlling the operation of the drive and it’s communication to the computer. It is possible to replace a PCB, but this should only be attempted by an experienced Data Recovery Technician. It is essential that the replacement PCB not only be correct make and model for the hard drive, but must also contain the identical firmware as the original PCB.

Overheated Hard Drive

hard drive data recover - scored platters

Scored Platters

A traditional (non-solid state) drive contains disks called Platters. The Platters have a specialized magnetic coating substance and spin at high speed under a mechanical arm. This is the actuator arm. This arm moves backwards and forwards over the surfaces of the platters. On the end of this fragile metal arm are Heads. These read the data on the platters. Along the length of the arm is a copper wire. This wire sends a pulse which changes the state of the magnetic surface of a Platter as it passes underneath. The heat tolerances within a hard drive are precisely calibrated. As with any mechanical moving parts, movement causes friction which generates heat. A mechanical failure (or pending mechanical failure) may therefore be present as an Overheated hard drive.

Loud clicking, grinding, or ticking noise.

In some cases, a failing hard drive generates loud clicking, grinding or ticking noises. This is an indicator that the hard drive has bad sectors or is mechanically failing. The actuator arm generates this noise when it returns to the same position on the platters while it attempts to read the data. This can cause severe damage to the platters and cause data loss. If the computer is indicating this type of failure, turn it off immediately.

What is Possible?

  • Recovery of deleted computer files
  • Data recovery after a hard drive is reformatted, re-partitioned, or corrupted
  • Master Boot Record and Master File Table repair
  • In many cases, encrypted files can be recovered through decryption
  • Discovery of attempts to conceal or destroy evidence
  • Repair of physically damaged drives

Data Recovery

We are one of a mere handful of companies worldwide that specialize in the restoration and retrieval of computer data. Our specialists can recover data from virtually any medium including:

  • Desktop Computers
  • Laptop Computers
  • Compact Disks
  • Floppy Disks
  • Zip Disks
  • Flash Drives
  • Portable Storage Devices
  • All Manner of Digital Camera Storage Cards
  • Tape Backup
  • RAID Sets | Servers
  • SSD
  • Smart Phones
  • Tablets

What We Offer

We provide:

  • Free Shipping
  • Free No Obligation Diagnostics
  • Standard, Expedited, or Emergency Services
  • The best in affordability, speed, reliability, and customer service

We provide services for individuals, law firms, corporations, Provincial, State and Federal Agencies.