Unreliable Toshiba MQ04UBB400 Stops Working

This External Toshiba MQ04UBB400 drive came in from a client in Michigan. They had been using the hard drive for about a year when it started to not show up on their computer any longer. It started out just being unreliable, and then eventually stopped showing up completely.

Mail-in Toshiba data recovery

The client contacted a local data recovery technician in Michigan who had the equipment necessary to complete imaging and PCB-based recoveries, but the tech did not have a PC-3000 for more advanced data recovery procedures. The recovery technician recommended us for the data recovery as we have been able to help their clients in the past with affordable data recovery.

Swapping the G0034A PCB

The first step I like to complete with these Toshiba MQ04UBB400 USB-based drives (drives that have the USB port built onto the PCB), is to swap out the PCB with a standard SATA based PCB. In this case, I had the USB PCB part in stock so I was able to swap the PCB board out and move over the ROM chip right away. The SATA based PCBs are starting to get pretty pricey so if you are a recovery technician you may want to get some in stock before they really get overpriced.

Diagnosing with PC-3000

I connected the drive up to the PC-3000 to do some initial diagnostics. The Toshiba MQ04UBB400 drive did ID and it sounded good, but I did not have access to the actual data on the platters. This usually points to some sort of firmware issue with the drive. Firmware issues can occur on their own, or they can be a symptom of another issue (like bad blocks, weak heads, media damage, etc).

Imaging the Toshiba Hard Drive

I completed all the firmware-related procedures for this Toshiba MQ04UBB400 drive and was able to start accessing the sectors through the DE utility. It was slow going, but the heads did read the data. I did a few imaging passes and after 4 days of imaging, I had 99.6% of the sectors on the drive recovered!

The imaging settings on a drive like this can be a little tricky. You want to be sure to set up the first few passes so it is easy for the drive to complete them. In this case, I tweaked the settings quite a bit for the first few passes. After I had over 99% of the data I was able to set the imaging passes to be more strenuous to get the last .6% that was possible.

Recovering the data

Once the sectors were recovered I continued onto the software data recovery stage and was able to get the folder structure and file names of the data.

The client was very pleased to have all their important material recovered for a lot less than they had been quoted by some of the big guys. This project was covered under our Standard+ affordable data recovery rate.

Start recovering your Toshiba drive

No matter where you live in the USA, we can help get your data back through our mail-in recovery service! This particular Toshiba MQ04UBB400 drive came from Michigan, but we provide data recovery to people all over the country every week. If you would like me to help you get your data back, just give me a call to discuss your project at (620) 615-6836, or fill out our quote form to get a quote. I look forward to helping you get your data back!


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