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The Secrets of Data Recovery Revealed

PCB Damage
Hard drives all have a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) attached to the enclosure. They vary in size and configuration from each manufacturer. A PCB is a delicate component and is susceptible to damage from power spikes or surges. Drives in computer towers and external drives that have a separate power supply are most prone to damage.
So if your drive is not powering up then examine the PCB under a strong light and magnifying lamp for signs of burn marks. Occasionally there will be no burn marks as a chip may have been damaged at start up of the disk.
The PCB can be swapped with a known working PCB to see if the drive will spin up when power is applied. However, an exact match is required and this will require purchasing from reliable source on the internet (e.g. Donor Drives USA). Expect to pay a considerable sum of money for a matching PCB. Sellers are aware that data recovery companies are wanting specific PCBs and supply is often limited and scarce.
Secondly remove the PCB from the drive carefully and inspect the contacts are clean. If they are dull then clean them with a rubber.

PCB Firmware or Adaptives
A PCB may have a small chip called a ROM that contains unique information required for the attached disk. So by swapping a PCB alone will often not allow recovery of the data. You may find the disk starts up and then performs "the click of death". This is because that unique data held in the ROM chip needs to be copied to the donor PCB board, either by un-soldering the ROM chip and soldering to donor PCB or by use of complex hardware PC-3000.
The adaptive data held often refers to "bad sectors" plist or glist. This unique bad sector information is held in the ROM chip and will differ from the exact same disk to another. The adaptive data can also hold crucial information about where the service area of the disk itself begins; that is which part of the surface area (tracks), or Cylinder, Head, Sector (CHS) designator of the platter. The service area being a reserved area of the platters used for disk startup.
My best advice to DIY attempt is to purchase a matching donor PCB attached to a disk.

Platter Damage
A hard drive that has platter damaged, typically with concentric rings on the surface of the platters, will be unrecoverable.
Inspection in a clean room facility is necessary to visually inspect this problem. The reason for the damage will be heads that have come into direct contact with the platters, scratching the surface, making data recovery impossible.

Pre-Amplifier Chip Destroyed or Damaged
A head assembly has a preamplifier chip attached to it. These are susceptible to power spikes and surges in the same way as the PCB board. If the PCB has been damaged by power surge then the preamp chip can also be burnt out. If this is the case a complete donor head assembly will be needed and the work performed in a clean room environment. Probably a job for the experts here, costly as once again a matching donor disk is required and around 2 hours of labour to complete.

Click of Death sounds from disk
A commonly used term to describe a disk drive that has failed. The click is associated with the head stack being moved quickly across the platters and back to the head stop; at which point the click or contact noise is heard. The frequency of the click can be rapid and identical. A disk may click continuously until power is turned off or the disk will click for a specified number of times before it automatically powers down. Sometimes the click is quiet, especially in small notebook drives.
The causes of click-of-death are:- Damaged Heads, Damaged Pre-Amp Chip, Service Area (SA) corruption or damage or PCB firmware issues.
Cures are repair PCB as described above, Donor Head transplant to fix Heads and Pre-Amp damage. SA damage requires expert equipment like PC-3000 to repair, however, a hot swap with an identical disk can by-pass the SA damage areas of a disk.

Hard Drives are Hermetically Sealed
A common misunderstanding is a modern hard drive is not hermetically sealed. Some have a visible small hole in their lid. Underneath is a filter on the inside of the drive. Without the hole the hard drive would not be able to operate at differing atmospheric pressures.

Dust and particles inside the hard drive
Around the platters is a cylindrical space which primary purpose is guide any excess material that might come off the drive when being used, in to the Air Filter Pillow for containment so that it does not continue to move around in the drive. Centripetal force of a drive oprating at 5400rpm will ensure particles are flung into this cylidrical space and subsequent pillow.

Hard Drive Recovery

Expert Data Recovery is available to all at A-ONE IT Ltd; whilst maintaining complete confidentiality of data and secure storage of the disks sent to our company. Electronic Data is now held by most individuals and businesses in the UK on their computer systems. For many users backups simply do not happen. Sadly hard drives or notebook drives fail in service due to many factors, age being primarily one of them.
So loved ones photos or videos can be lost forever. Important documents, spreadsheets, databases and important company and private files can also be lost forever.
A-ONE IT provides high level data recovery techniques with the best equipment in the world. Experience and skill are highly important in the data recovery process. Forget Youtube and the nonsense advice given on-line; like putting disks in a freezer, you will loose everything.
Allan has a engineering degree and 30 years of IT experience, with 8 years data recovery expertise. Many hundreds of clients have had their data successfully recovered at an affordable cost.

So, if you having trouble accessing the documents, photos, music, excel sheets and any other files on your computer or laptop?
Please don't keep powering on that drive in the hope it will fix itself. Data and file recovery is a specialist task.
Your valuable hard drive disk data can get corrupted or lost for many reasons including:-
* Formatting, virus attack, human or accidental error
* Power surge, general degradation of hard drive due to age
* Bad block or bad sectors


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