Data Recovery Projects

Western Digital My Passport Deleted File Recovery

This was a perfect storm situation. This drive was connected to a computer with some important Excel files open. The My Passport drive was then physically disconnected without being ejected (and the Excel program was still open). When the drive was reconnected to the computer, the files were no longer visible on the drive.

A local repair shop attempted a deleted file scan and they found evidence of 2 of the important excel files, but they wouldn’t open and appeared to be corrupted. These 2 files were of no use to the client.

Recovering the deleted files from the My Passport drive

The first step is always to image the drive with the important data on it, so that is what I completed first. In this case the drive tested good and there were no issues present, so the imaging went smoothly without a hitch.

Once the drive was 100% imaged, I ran recovery software set to search for excel files on the drive. It took a couple recovery programs to get all that was possible, but I was able to recover the important data for the client on this one!

Deleted file recovery is often described as “just run a recovery program and that is all you can possibly get”, but in my experience it does help to have multiple recovery programs setup correctly to get the best results.

I have found that there are certain recovery programs that are better at certain file types than others. I have also found that some recovery programs are better with certain formats that others. Take advantage of the years of data recovery experience I have by having me help you get your deleted files back.

Our deleted file recovery price is $99. If you would like me to help you recover your important data, please fill out our form and we will get back to you ASAP.

Data Recovery Projects

A Cruzer Glide Recovery: 16GB with Broken USB Connector

Recovering Data from USB Thumb Drives

USB drives like this Cruzer Glide model are very convenient to store data on temporarily for easy access. Having a backup is always important, but especially when you are storing the data on these little USB guys. The standard ExFat or Fat32 format they usually come reformatted in is notorious for getting corrupted due to being unplugged without properly ejected or similar. But they are extremely convenient!

They are so convenient that sometimes you can even forget they are plugged into your laptop when putting it away, until you need to access the data and realize the USB connector has broken off completely in the bottom of your backpack. Or they are left in your pocket and take a ride on splash mountain with your clothes.

16GB Cruzer Glide Recovery

When looking at these USB thumb drives for recovery, the hope is that the data chip is intact and not cracked. When the data chip itself cracks, recovery is not possible. In this case, the 16GB Sandisk data chip was intact and the connector was the only physical issue!

After soldering the connector in place with some fresh solder, I always continue with the same process as any other drive: imaging first, then recovery software, then moving to a new drive. The imaging process completed without issue so the physical problems were remedied with the soldering.

In this case I didn’t notice any partition corruption or other software issue during the recovery software process; it was just the physical problem of the USB connector being broken off. 100% of the data was recovered!

This particular recovery took about a day to complete and get back to the client. It fell under our Standard Recovery Tier and the client was happy with the results! It is a good feeling to get 100% of the data someone needs.

If you would like me to work on your recovery project, please feel free to contact us or fill our our contact form below. Thanks for reading!

Data Recovery Projects

1TB Laptop Samsung Drive Recovered Fully

I get a lot of clients that contact me to ask about my Lab Recovery service. Most have been told by another recovery professional that their drive requires a clean room in order to replace bad heads. In my experience only about 15-20% of drives that come in require a clean room recovery. Most are recoverable under our Standard or Standard+ tiers.

Samsung ST1000LM024 Recovery

This drive belonged to a client who has been working with another recovery company for a while. They had been told that a drive with the symptoms this drive had would need a “head swap” to function again.

Spin up, spin down drive symptom

When plugged into power, the drive would spin up, seek for a while (sounds like light clicking), then spin back down. It would not be recognized by any computer at all.

This Samsung drive came to me with 4 issues present:

  • Bad sectors
  • Weak heads
  • Firmware corruption
  • Partition corruption.

The two main issues were the bad sectors present on the drive and the weak heads. Often times bad sectors and weak heads will cause firmware corruption as well as partition corruption.

While it is true that bad heads do cause these same symptoms (spinning up, clicking, then spinning back down), there are many cases where the issue does not require a head swap and the data is recoverable under our normal Standard service.

Starting the recovery

I started by fixing the firmware corruption on the drive using my PC-3000 by Ace Labs. Once the firmware issue was addressed I was able to access the data on the drive and run tests on the drive heads.

This Samsung is an ST1000LM024 model has 4 heads inside. If you are interested in learning more about the internal parts of a drive like the drives heads, please visit the page, all about hard drives, to learn more.

I found during testing that 2 out of the 4 heads were weak so I started by imaging the 2 drive heads that were functioning properly. I was able to image 100% of these two heads which means I had 50% of the drive recovered.

Getting all the sectors imaged

Once that part of the recovery was complete, it was time to see how the weak heads would perform. I am able to set exactly how I want to extract data, so you start with settings that do not stress the weak heads and skip over areas where it seems to be having trouble. This part of the imaging can take a lot of time and a lot of tweaking the imaging settings.

In this case both of the weak heads were strong throughout most of the drive and I had recovered 90% of the drive without the heads acting up more. I was hoping the heads would continue to function enough to get the last 10% of the data so a head swap would not be necessary.

After a little more tweaking of imaging settings I was able to get every sector that was in use on the drive! Now that the sectors have all been imaged, it is time to check the integrity of the data stored on the drive.

Recreating the partition to recover folder structure

At first there was no partition present. This is pretty common with data recoveries because the drive usually starts having issues and causing corruption prior to stopping working all together. Once I scanned the first 10% of the drive with software that rebuilds the partition, all the folder structure was visible and looked good! 

Moving the data to a new drive and returning to client

Once the folder structure was present and files were opening properly, I moved all the data over to the new hard drive that the client had provided. Note that we do offer external hard drives for sale if you don’t want to provide your own, but we are happy to use a drive you provide to store the recovered data.

This recovery took just under 24 hours to complete and get back to the client. It fell under our Standard Recovery Tier and the client seemed very happy to have saved a lot of money and time.

If you would like me to work on your recovery project, please feel free to contact us or fill out our contact form below. Thanks for reading!