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Data Recovery Projects

HGST HTS545050A7E362 and Mac Hard Drive Hitachi HTS545050B9SA02 Recovered

A lot of the recoveries I get locally are referrals from shops around Kansas. Many people don’t know what the problem is with their computer until a repair shop takes a look and lets them know it is their hard drive and they need data recovery. These drives were for a customer in McPherson that was recommended to me by a local computer repair shop. Their 2010 Mac mini had stopped booting fully and when the Time Machine backup was checked it was found it was not working properly as well!

The customer requested that the data be recovered from the Mac Mini drive as well as the Time Machine Drive. The MacMini drive was a Hitachi HTS545050B9SA02 that could not be accessed by the shop when they attempted to mount the drive for data recovery. I found the main problem with this drive was sectors not responding in the catalog file area as well as the firmware area of the drive. Once I cleared the firmware issues I was able to image the drive and get back 99.9999% of the sectors.

Once the imaging was complete, running data recovery software brought back all the folder structure and the recovered data was moved over to the new external drive.

The drive the customer had been using for Time Machine was an HGST HTS545050A7E362 model drive. This one also had bad sectors as the main problem! Because it is a Time Machine drive, recovering the data fully so that Time Machine can continue to be used is a little trickier. I cover the process in a bit more detail in this blog post about a Seagate Time Machine drive that was making a buzz sound, but basically it is important to image the drive, then use a program like Disk Warrior to mount the volume, then use a program like SuperDuper to clone the data to a new external drive.

In this case I was able to get all the data imaged, and the DiskWarrior + SuperDuper combination did the trick to get all the data transferred to the new drive in a Time Machine usable form.

I worked in a Mac shop for a while years ago, so I am very confident working with Mac drives. If you have a Time Machine backup drive, or a Mac that you need the data recovered from, please fill out my recovery quote form and I will get back to you right away on how I can help.

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Data Recovery Projects

Seagate 1TB Expansion External Hard Drive Model ST1000LM035 Not Mounting

This Seagate ST1000LM035 model drive came from a 1TB Seagate Expansion external hard drive. The reported issue from the repair shop in Wichita was that the drive sounded healthy, but the computer would not recognize it. The drive would not show up on any computer it was connected to. In this case, the problem was a firmware issue causing the behavior and I was able to get 100% of the data back, but these drives are particularly prone to failure and I wanted to discuss that a little more today.

This model drive is a very popular model and is part of the Rosewood family of drives that Seagate started producing in 2016. Rosewood drives include models such as ST1000LM035, ST1000LM048 , ST2000LM007, and ST1000LX015. These models are used in multiple external enclosures including drives by Maxtor, Lacie, and Seagate. Many of the Rugged Mini drives from Lacie actually have these Rosewood series drives inside. While the specs on these drives look good on paper, they seem to be very prone to failure (and the earlier versions of this drive are particularly prone to catastrophic failures).

If you have a Rosewood series drive, I have the knowledge and experience needed to safely complete a data recovery when it is possible. I have worked on hundreds of these drives and have the experience that a lot of recovery technicians lack when dealing with this particular model. Due to the way the firmware is setup, as well as the process you need to complete in order to replace the heads, it is imperative that the technician working on your drive has a lot of knowledge and experience with these Rosewood drives.

I am looking forward to the day when these drives are no longer so popular because the failure rate is very high and I hate seeing people risk losing important data by using these drives. There are a few reasons I see so many Seagate Rosewood drives that have failed and need data recovery. I will cover each of the design choices that seem to contribute to early failure in these drives below.

The Quest For Thinness

Apple isn’t the only company pushing impossibly thin devices, and hard drive manufactures are also trying to create thinner drives to fit into thinner laptops and enclosures. This Seagate ST1000LM035 is only 7mm thick, and some of the models have 2 platters squeezed inside that extremely tight space. In order to make the drives so thin, Seagate made the PCB smaller so it would take up less space as well as having the hard drive label act as part of the cover. The combination of these design choices make the drive less rigid and more prone to flexing when dropped or pushed.

Complex Firmware

Some of the features that allow the drive to work faster in regular use are prone to problems and can be difficult to remedy. Seagate decided to lock the diagnostic port on these drives which makes it more difficult to fix issues with the firmware caused by these new and improved features. While you can alter the firmware to allow you to use the diagnostic port to some degree, you are still not able to utilize all the same methods you can use on other drives.

Fragile Parts Making Damage Likely And Recovery Difficult

Especially in the earlier models of this drive, I see the platter degrade much faster than other model drives. This degradation causes all kinds of issues, but especially issues when sectors go bad that are in the service area of the platter. The service area holds the firmware, and as mentioned above the complex firmware of this drive makes recovery difficult.

The head assembly itself also seems to have more fragile than average sliders. Due to the way the hard drive is designed it is a more difficult and involved process to replace the head stack, and the parts you are replacing are more fragile as well.

Need Recovery On A Rosewood Drive?

As always I recommend having important data in at least two places. You can’t just steer clear of drives with high failure rates as even the best drives will fail eventually. Having a backup is very important.

If you need your data recovered from a Rosewood series drive, please fill out my recovery quote form and I will get back to you right away. I have a lot of experience with these drives and can help recover the data safely.

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Data Recovery Projects

Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB MQ01UBD100 Not Showing Up

A gentleman called me from here in Hutch with an external Toshiba Canvio Basics external hard drive that had failed and needed to be recovered. It was not showing up on his computer and when he brought it to a local computer repair shop they verified that it was the drive itself that was having an issue.

The data on the drive included the only copy of baby pictures so it was very important to get the data off the drive and backed up! After he discussed options with his wife, they decided to have me work on the project and arranged for a local pickup.

When a data recovery is needed, trusting the recovery technician you are giving the drive to is very important. If you are looking to pay for the data to be recovered, it is almost always because the data itself has value. I have a whole page here on the site dedicated to what you should think about when you are looking for a data recovery. The very first item on my list is the technicians experience. I can not stress enough how important it is to pick a recovery company where you know the recovery tech who is going to be working on your drive is experienced.

In this case the drive had a USB port built into the PCB, this means that there wasn’t a standard SATA port on the drive which is required for some data recovery procedures. Therefore first step was to swap the PCB board out with one that had the standard SATA connection. Once that was completed the next step was to complete some firmware repairs. The g-list on the drive was corrupted, so clearing that allowed me to get access to the data on the drive.

Basically the g-list is a module that keeps track of sectors that have gone bad on the drive. In this case clearing the g-list with the PC-3000 and turning off the feature of the drive that keeps track of what sectors are bad, allowed me to image as much of the drive as possible. Sectors on the drive were indeed bad, so the most I was able to get was 97% of the sectors on the drive. This equated to about 95% of the pictures being recovered from the failing Toshiba External drive.

When I dropped the completed recovery off, I could tell how thankful they were to get their baby’s photos back. As a father I understand how important these photos are and am always so pleased when I am able to help recover those precious memories for others.

Do you have a drive you need help recovering? I offer data recovery Nationwide via our mail-in service as well as locally here in Kansas. We are one of the only clean room recovery labs in the state of Kansas. Just fill out our quick data recovery quote form and I will get back to you right away.

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Data Recovery Projects

This 2TB Western Digital Hard Drive Had Bad Sectors.

This drive came from a local neighbor here in Hutchinson, Kansas.  The customer reported that certain folders could not be accessed and if they did load often the files inside the folders would not open. The data was important enough to warrant data recovery, and no backup was available with the data on it. For those keeping score at home this was a Western Digital 2TB desktop sized drive with model number WD20EARS.

The reported symptom (certain folders and data not accessible) could be caused by corruption, an operating system issue on the computer, a permissions issue, an issue with the drive itself, or some kind of malware. The first step was to image as much of the drive as possible, and it was during this step that I discovered the folders he was having trouble accessing were saved on portions of the drive with unreadable sectors. Unreadable sectors (also known as bad sectors) on a drive can cause all kinds of symptoms including clicking! In this case it would just mean the computer would not be able to access the data held by the bad sectors and would fail to open the folders/files.

With the PC-3000 Data Recovery Rig I am able to image as much as possible off a drive with this issue, but sometimes some sectors are just not recoverable. In this case after multiple passes I was only able to recover 99% of the sectors on the drive. This allowed the recovery of over half of the important data, but some data was just not fully recoverable. Pictures were one of the more important file types I was recovering, and a picture with missing sectors generally has some kind of issue like artifacts, color issues, half the picture cut off, etc. Thankfully a lot of the most important data was recoverable.

The customer was pleased to get data back, even though it wasn’t all the data they were hoping for.

Do you need help getting the data off your Western Digital drive? I offer Western Digital data recovery along with basically all other types of drives in house here in Kansas. Nationwide service is available through our mail-in data recovery program. Just fill out our quick data recovery quote form to get started!

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Data Recovery Projects

Western Digital My Passport Not Showing Up On Computer

A computer repair shop in Wichita had a client come in with a Western Digital My Passport drive that would not mount on their computer any more. When it was plugged into a computer it wouldn’t show up and the computer would not recognize the drive. When you listened carefully to the drive you could hear that it was not spinning up as it usually would.

The computer repair shop attempted to mount the drive on their shop computers to get the data, but the drive continued to light up but not show up on any machine. Once I received the drive I opened the enclosure and found a WD10JMVW 1TB 2.5 inch drive inside with a USB connector built in. Opening the cover of the drive in a clean room environment allowed me to see that the drive heads were stuck to the platter surface. Because the heads were stuck the drive would not spin up and work.

The first step in these cases is to carefully move the heads back to the proper area. To accomplish this you use a tool that separates the heads from the platter a little and allows you to move the assembly without scratching the surface of the drive. Once the heads are moved the next step is to inspect the heads with a microscope to check for any damage. If there is any damage at all to the actual heads you would want to complete a head swap first before further testing.

Back of drive from Western Digital My Passport

In this case the drive had no visible damage on the heads, and the platters looked good! Applying power to the drive showed that the platters spun properly now, but the data recovery rig was still not able to access the data on the platters. Completing some general troubleshooting processes with the PC-3000 did the trick and the drive started reading properly. I was able to image the drive without issue and got 100% of the sectors imaged.

Once the image was complete I scanned the recovered sectors for data and moved it all to the drive the customer provided. All in all I was able to get 100% of the data from this My Passport, and the customer was very pleased to get their data back.

If you would like me to help with your data recovery project, please fill out this quick quote form and I will get back to you with the next steps. I always look forward to helping my neighbors in Wichita with their data recovery needs!

Thanks for reading!

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Data Recovery Projects

Beeping Sound Coming From Seagate Momentus Thin 500GB Laptop Drive

I received this Seagate Momentus Thin drive from a nearby shop via our mail-in recovery service. The customer had brought their laptop in because it has stopped working, and the shop had removed the drive and found it was making a beeping sound instead of working normally. While the shop offers general computer repair, they do not offer clean room data recovery so they sent the drive to me to complete the recovery.

This ST500LT012 model drive is very thin and they seem to have a higher failure rate in my experience. The beeping sound on this drive is almost always caused the heads being stuck on the platter and not allowing the motor to spin the platters. The beep is the sound the motor makes when it fails to spin properly.

In this case I opened the drive as soon as I received it to complete an inspection in the clean room under a microscope. The heads all looked intact and there was no visible damage to the platters so I continued with a tool that lets me lift the heads off the platter and move them back to their proper spot in order to spin up the drive. After carefully inspecting the heads I could see there was no damage so I turned it on and the heads worked properly!

Imaging the drive went smoothly as there was no damage on the surface of the platter where the heads were stuck. Sometimes if there is a little bit of platter damage (like when the heads are damaged when they become stuck and they need to be replaced), it can be very difficult to get as much as the data as possible from that area of the drive. But in this case with no damage the imaging process went through easily.

Once I had imaged the drive 100%, I ran the recovery software on the image and recovered 100% of the data on the drive. The shop had a happy customer as they were able to get all their important data back for far less then some of the other clean room data recovery labs charge.

If you would like help recovering the data from your drive, or if you are a shop that would like to send drives to me for recovery, please just contact me with any questions and we can go over the project and how to get started.

Thanks for reading!

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Data Recovery Projects

1TB Samsung ST1000LM024 With Bad Sectors And Partition Corruption Recovered

I received a call regarding a drive that needed recovered while at the Kansas State Fair with my boys (enjoying some D&J Pronto Pup). It was a referral from a computer repair shop for a drive that they were not able to access the data. The drive belonged to a small business that does carpet cleaning, so they needed it recovered to get their business data back.

The Samsung drive was a 1TB laptop drive with model number ST1000LM024. I was able to test the heads with the PC-3000 and they did test as good, but there were bad sectors on the drive.

When a drive has bad sectors the general idea is to target the files that are most important first. Once those files are being targeted you want to do a fast and easy pass to get all the sectors back that you can without stressing the drive at all. The next pass is a harder pass where you get back more of the sectors that were missed the last time. Then you finally go with a pass that may stress the drive, but will get back as much data as possible. Once all the data that is important has been recovered as much as possible, you continue with the same process to recover the rest of the drive.

In this case after a few passes with the imager I was able to get 100% of the sectors on the drive imaged. Once the imaging was complete I found there was partition corruption on the drive as well. Likely the drive started to fail and wrote incomplete catalog data which caused the corruption I was seeing.

Running a couple different scans with my data recovery software brought back all the data with folder structure intact.

I was able to deliver the recovered directly to the local business and they were pleased to get their data back.

If you need help getting the data back for your business, please fill out a quick quote form and I will get back to you right away about your drive. Or feel free to give us a call and discus your project over the phone.

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Data Recovery Projects Exploring Our Hometown

Recovering Data From A Seagate ST3500641AS 500GB Barracuda Drive

Helping people get back their important data is one of the things I truly enjoy about Data Recovery. It is especially rewarding when you can help someone you know personally get back data that is important to their family.

There is a local farm called Jako that my wife and I love to purchase items we don’t currently have the ability to produce ourselves (like raw cows milk). The family run farm is a great example of what we love about our area here in Kansas. 

I handed a business card over just in case they needed data recovery in the future. About a month later I got a call that their Mac Pro went down with some important excel sheets and they needed help getting the data back.

The Mac Pro was one of the huge models with 4 drive bays of which all had drives installed. The first step was to figure out which drive was the boot drive and if that was the drive that was having issues. I pulled all drives and tested them out to discover only the one boot drive had issues. The boot drive was a 500GB drive from Seagate. Model number ST3500641AS, an older Barracuda drive.

The issue with the drive ended up being firmware related problems. These types of issues can vary from simple fixes to days long processes. In this case it wasn’t too bad! I was able to get the firmware repaired enough to image the drive.

During the imaging process I found some areas with bad sectors. It is pretty likely that the bad sectors on the drive caused the firmware to get corrupted. Usually in cases like this no data is stored in those bad sectors, so not getting them back isn’t an issue. In this case I got back as many sectors as I could and ended up with 99.999% of the sectors on the drive being recovered. 

During the data transfer I didn’t get any errors on the actual data being recovered, so it looks like it was very close to 100% recovered.

Need help recovering a drive? Please contact me with any questions and I am happy to help!

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Data Recovery Projects

Beeping 1TB Samsung S31QJ9FG610500 Laptop Drive Recovered

This drive came from a photographers laptop that was used to store professional photos. A shop in McPherson said the client brought the computer in with the issue description of not booting with a slight beeping sound. The shop found that the computer was not recognizing the internal drive, and they could hear a slight beep from where the hard drive is connected.

They referred the customer to us so we could get the data off the beeping internal drive. I drove over to Inman to pickup the drive, and opened it right away in the clean room to do a visual inspection. My hunch was proved correct, the heads were stuck on the platter.

Heads getting stuck on the platter is a pretty common issue with this particular model drive. Basically instead of the heads moving to the dedicated “parking” area, they get stuck on the part of the platter that stores data and will not let the platter spin when power is applied.

The beeping sound is the drive trying to spin the platters with the motor and not being able to. You can find YouTube videos showing how to just open the drive and wiggle the heads so they move again… but please don’t do this with a drive that has important data on it. It is important to complete the work as safely as possible, without risking scratching the platters or introducing dust and debris outside of a clean room environment.

Bottom of Samsung Drive

I was able to use our clean room, the tool designed to safely lift the heads off the platters, and a steady hand to get the heads over to their proper parking area. Inspecting the heads under a microscope showed no damage, and the platter looked good as well!

Powering on the drive was successful and using the PC-3000 I was able to complete a heads test and start imaging the drive. I was able to get 100% of the data from the drive and the client was very pleased to have their photos back safe and sound.

If you need data off a malfunctioning drive, please fill out my quick quote form and I will get back to you on what I believe needs to be done to get your data back safely.

We offer data recovery locally including working with you to pickup and drop-off the drive, and we also offer data recovery nationwide through our mail-in service.

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Data Recovery Projects

Weak Head On Toshiba 500GB MQ01ABF050 Recovered 100% After Different Recovery Shop Couldn’t Get Anything

This was a mail-in recovery that we received after another recovery company had failed to recover the needed data. The previous recovery company said they were not able to get anything from the drive and gave it back to the client. The client in this case was a computer repair shop that had heard about us and decided to give us a try!

It came in as spinning, but not being recognized on a computer. Connected to the PC-3000 it initialized properly and gave the correct drive ID. Doing a heads test showed that there was a weak head that was causing the access to the data to be extremely slow or even not possible for some of the drive.

I recommended to the customer that we complete a head swap to get a set of working heads in the drive then recover the data. The client approved and I completed the head swap without issue. Donor heads tested good and I was able to recover 100% of the data on the drive without issue.

I have a page that I talk about some things to think about when you are considering getting data recovery, and one of the main things to consider is who will be working on your drive. This recovery was not particularly difficult, and yet a large, well known data recovery company returned the drive as not recoverable to the client. It could be that a newer tech was working on the drive who didn’t know the needed information to complete the recovery successfully, or some other issue. But the moral here is to pick what recovery company you send your drive to carefully.

I try to be completely upfront and honest about the recoveries I can’t complete. It is rare, but some drives are just beyond my expertise. When this happens I do not say “the drive is unrecoverable”, I say that I am not able to recover the data and why it might be possible for somebody else to recover it. If I know of a recovery technician that might be able to help I recommend them.

If you would like me to get the data back off your drive, please fill out my request a quote form. This allows me to see what sort of issue you have and let you know what I recommend for getting the data back.

Thanks!