About the repair of broken hard disc drive

KUERT engineer repairs a broken hdd in clean room

In case of an damaged hard disc drive the most common question of users is if there is a chance repairing it successfully or not. Quiet often users do act without knowledge and any sort of an logical clue, but actively try to recover the data by themselves. With fatal results.

Fundamental questions for users that would arise in the event of an physical defect to the hard drive:

How important is my data or how dramatic would it be loosing it completly ?

Regardless whether your hdd is now damaged logically or physically, you should ask yourself about the value of your data. If it has no material or immaterial value for you and loosing it completly would not be dramatic, well in such sort of an scenario it might be worth a try to solve problems with software at broken files systems, MFT / MBR or trying repairing it in an do-it-yourself-manner. Good luck for that.

But in cases that your lost data has a critical meaning to you, we recommend to act and to think in a consequent way. Don´t switch your broken hard disc drive on again and immidiatly contact a professional lab like us.

What kind of damage / defect does your hdd show - Is the damage of logical or pysical nature ?

In case of an physical damage to your hard disc drive, Do-It-Yourself-Actions in order to try to repair the broken drive somehow, do fail in most of the cases. Professional labs frequently do receive storage carriers like hdds which already have been opened by the clients. Equipped with fingerprints, scratches on the magnetic platters inside of the disc, etc. For professional companies thease kind of failed repairs are more or less a big problem.

Improper attempts by customers and /or hobby rescuers to repair with the purpose in mind to enable the functionality of the disc drive again, can lead to the result that the rescue probability is even more worse for a data recovery lab, than it was before.

This results from the fact, that many users who do face a data loss scenario don´t know the difference inbetween logical and physical damages to hdd. It happens very often that users try to recover data with use of rescue software from a disc which isn´t even recognized in BIOS of the computer. Nevertheless, in such scenarios, the customer started systems on boot CDs and tries by a corresponding recovery software to salvage or carve something from a hard drive that is physically simply not present for the PC or laptop and not even existent.

In short, there are some symptoms and indications for recognizing a damaged hdd pretty easily:

1. Hard disc is not recognized by the BIOS of your PC / Notebook causing the error message like "No boot device found"

2. In case that the drive is no bootable device: - External or 2nd internal hdd is not recognized by the operating system

3. Drive is making a clicking / clacking noise or even a scratchy noise

4. Disc does not spin ( pot. Motor damage )


Some essential points to know:

1. A hard disc drive is a highly and complex tool for storage

Once you do tend to think that a hard disc drive is comparable with the change of damaged components in a broken PC with a working one. Forget about it. First of all you won´t have the necessary equipment to do this, neither you will have the knowledge or experience it takes to understand the different functionalities and duties of each component of an hdd. Further more it takes an indepth knowledge about the exact funktionality of file systems and organisation.


2. Headcrash of the hard drive

In case of an headcrash scenario affecting the drive, nearly in most of the cases of falling damages, not only the magnetic platters and the read write unit of the drive will be harmed, also the data logic and the firmeware of the drive can be damaged. In case of firmware damages or damages to the service area of the drive, any chance of recovery for non-professional individuals will end up at this point. The cause for repairing a drive at data recovery companies is limited on recovery, it´s not the cause to repair them in order to enabling the customer working with the same drive again.


3. Try to avoid any activity for recovery if your hard disc drive sounds "strange"

If your data is important to you and you find yourself in a situation that your hard disc drive is making strange noises like clicking / clacking or even scratchy noises, immidiatly switch them off and don´t turn them on again. Once you do switch them on again, the chance of an successful data recovery by an professional data recovery lab is getting limited.


4. Physical damages of an hard disc drive does need professional repair services by an professional data recovery lab

In case of an physical damage to your hard disc drive you should try to avoid any use of data recovery software, friends or IT-Specialists. Hard disc drives should only be opened in a clean room environment. The reason for this is based in the fact that hard disc drives are working contact-less at an nanometer level. That´s the space inbetween the rotating platters and the read-write unit. This space is smaller than the size of an dust particle. For examining the damages to the surface of the magnetic platters, microscopy is needed and also high investments for Tools in order to repair the mechanics of the drive, electronics and different firmwares.

It´s logical that even one of your highly it-skilled friend or even IT-Dealers won´t own thease kind of environment.  In case of data loss, visiting your local IT-Dealer and getting first informations to data loss is a good choice. In most of the cases thease guys can even help you bringing back accidently deleted files or folders from working hard disc drives. But to be able repairing a damaged and disfunctional drive, caused by physical damages, they won´t have the know-how, the technology and the experience. Data Recovery Belgium is offering a partner programm for IT-Dealers for hard disc recovery. This enables out Partners managing thease kind of damaged drives in a professional way and can benefit from attractive provisions and rebates. 

5. Repairing hard disc drives in case of logical damage to file system, partition table or viruses

If you accidently deleted data or if you experienced data loss which is caused by viruses and if you are sure that the fuctionality of your hard disc drive is at 100%, when where are some posibilities in recovering the data by yourself. But, befor you do that you should keep track of some points for your own security:

  • Avoid (in any case) working at the original hard disc drive
  • First, generate a sector based copy from the drive you like to recover data from
  • Any data recovery attempt shoud be done at the copy and not from the original data carrier
  • It´s a NO-GO installing any kind of softwares to the drive you like to recover data from. Use a boot disc for mounting the image and run the data recovery software from the boot disc also.

If you follow thease points above you will keep up the best chances for recovering or repairing a damaged file system or partition table. But thease procedure insists that you are 100% sure that your hard drive has no physical damages.

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Questions to data recvoery ?
0032 11 360 266‏