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Case Studies

Below we present some case studies that were of particular interest and were handled by our company:

CASE 1201

  • Seagate 500GB hard drive - ST3500320AS model.
  • Symptoms: Not recognized by the system, with no other causes (fall, power etc).
  • Solution: It is the well-known problem of the 7200.11 drives family with FW: SD15, which we solved completely.
  • Percentage or recovery: 100%.

CASE 1299

  • WD 400GB hard drive - WD4000YR-01PLB0 model.
  • Symptoms: Clicking Noises, not recognized.
  • Cause: Drive fell.
  • Background: the drive was previously opened by another company that attempted to change the drive's heads but didn't manage to recover data.
  • Solution: The heads were replaced with compatible ones. The drive had a Firmware problem which was resolved.
  • Percentage or recovery: 83%.

CASE 1499

  • Seagate 1,5TB hard drive - ST31500341AS model.
  • Symptoms: Beeping Noise, not recognized.
  • Causes: Drive fell.
  • Background: The drive fell while it was not operating. The fall caused the platters to get stuck.
  • Solution: The platters were unstuck by using specialized equipment and the data was recovered.
  • Percentage or recovery: 97%.

CASE 1402

Ανάκτηση δεδομένων σκληρών δίσκων, συστημάτων RAID
CASE 1402:
In a 100x zoom you can see the tiny scratches that were caused by dust particles in the drive's surface.
  • Seagate 80GB SATA hard drive - ST380815AS model.
  • Symptoms: Clicking Noises, not recognized.
  • Causes: Drive fell.
  • Background: When the drive was opened there were dust particles on the platters. This dust is created by the heads that scratch the drive's surface. The drive was examined with a microscope and tiny scratches were seen on all surfaces, that were caused by these dust particles. The heads were replaced, but were rejected.
  • Solution: There was no solution. The drive was non-recoverable.
  • Percentage or recovery: 0%.

 

CASE 1503

  • Hard drives in RAID 0 array, 2xWD750GB, WD7500AAKS model.
  • Symptoms: RAID crashed having as a result that the drive is not recognized.
  • Causes: Orange light on the RAID (HDD Fail).
  • Background: RAID "crashed" due to a disk failure. There was an automatic rebuild attempt that failed.
  • Solution: RAID was set up from scratch and using specialized techniques most data was recovered.
  • Percentage or recovery: 81%.

CASE 1536

  • Fujitsu 160GB 2.5" hard drive - MHZ2160BH model.
  • Symptoms: Deleted files.
  • Causes: Unknown.
  • Background: The drive was recovered by another company that recovered ~30 Word files and many non-functional files.
  • Solution: We recovered a great amount of files which seemed OK in the initial check, but in a second check the result was disappointing (<6% functional data). A new scan was made in 15 layers using specialized software and a greeat number of functional data was recovered successfully.
  • Percentage or recovery: 77%.

CASE 1558

  • Seagate 500GB hard drive - ST9500325AS model.
  • Symptoms: Spins up, clicks, spins down.
  • Causes: Fall.
  • Background: The problem appeared after the drive fell.
  • Solution: The drive's head 2 was damaged. The heads were replaced with those of a compatible donor and the drive was cloned.
  • Percentage or recovery: 95%

CASE 1573

  • WD 500GB 2.5" hard drive - WD5000BMVV model (with USB embedded on the PCB)
  • Symptoms: Not recognized by BIOS, heads click
  • Causes: Drive fell.
  • Background: The drive was dropped by its owner from a 20 cm. height. It was then sent to another data recovery company which opened the drive and said they couldn't find spare parts to recover the data. The drive was maltreated externally, one of the screws were damaged and we found oil (!!) in the drive's interior and fingerprints on the surfaces... The drive's heads were damaged and we also found other strange damages inside.
  • Solution: The platters were cleaned with a special material and were transferred to another drive for cloning.
  • Percentage or recovery: Even though we didn't expect to recover more than 30-35%, in spite of what other 'companies' would have wanted, we recovered 54% of the data!

CASE 1574

  • ΗΡ 3*37GB SCSI hard drive - BD03685A24 model in RAID5.
  • Symptoms: RAID crashed and was rebuild.
  • Causes: Disk error 0.
  • Background: The problem appeared suddenly. The drive contained an Oracle database with the company's logistical data.
  • Solution: There was a Firmware problem of drive 0. Drives 0 and 2 had bad sectors. The firmware problem was corrected and the healthy sectors were read. Drive 0: 14599 bad sectors. Drive 2: 1111 bad sectors. The RAID was then set up from scratch and Trace was analysed in order to find the order, the parity and the block size and data was recovered. The process was completely successful.
  • Percentage or recovery: 100%

 

CASE 1584

Ανάκτηση δεδομένων σκληρών δίσκων
CASE 1584:
You can easily see the big scratch on the drive's surface.
  • Seagate 500GB SATA hard drive - ST3500830AS 3.5" model.
  • Symptoms: Drive is not recognized. Clicking Sounds.
  • Causes: Drive fell.
  • Background: The problem appeared after the drive fell while it was operating. The user was watching a movie stored in the hard drive when the drive fell.
  • Solution: After visual inspection we saw a big scratch on a circular ring on the landing zone. While, until now, these cases were considered non-recoverable, we apply a new technique through which we can recover data, mainly office files (Word, Excel etc) and photos. The reason these drives were non-recoverable was that there were no parking area for the heads, which 'park' on the platters. This method is more expensive, since it requires multiple spare parts. It might need, for example, spare parts from 5 new drives, which of course raises the cost. Also, as far as time is concerned, it might take 40 days or more to complete the process. Update: Process was completed in 47 days.
  • Percentage or recovery: Unknown for the time being, but expected to be up to 50-60%. Update: 59.8% of the data was recovered, which is a huge success since up until now these cases were considered 100% non-recoverable.

CASE 1587

Ανάκτηση δεδομένων σκληρών δίσκων
CASE 1587:
These drives have an embedded USB Controller on the PCB and factory encryption.
  • WD 1000GB SATA hard drive - WD10TMVV 2.5" model.
  • Symptoms: The drive was not recognized. Clicking Sounds.
  • Causes: Drive fell.
  • Background: Problem appeared after the drive fell.
  • Solution: It's a type of drive that have a USB embedded on the PCB. The heads were replaced and the drive was cloned. These drives have factory encryption, something which complicates the recovery process. Nevertheless, recovery was impressively successful.
  • Percentage or recovery: 99%.

CASE 1597

Ανάκτηση δεδομένων RAID 5, RAID 0, RAID 10
CASE 1597:
NAS Boxes can use drives in RAID10, RAID5 or RAID0 and can have any Filesystem (FAT, XFS, ext3, HFS...). Usually they form a small Linux partition (ext3) for their internal administration operating system.
  • NAS BOX Intel drives system, 4*500GB Seagate ST3500320AS Barracuda 7200.11.
  • Symptoms: The online storage system is unresponsive.
  • Causes: Orange light, error on drives.
  • Background: NAS has 4 drives in RAID 5 in XFS Filesystem. One of these drives (drive "0") had a problem in one of its heads, while a second drive (drive "3") is not recognized by the system, due to the known problem of that drive family.
  • Solution: We fixed drive "0" problem and it was recognized by the system. Unfortunately, when the Intel NAS Box crashed, it attempted to Rebuild having as a result that all RAID drives were needed in order to recover data. We replaced drive "3" heads and managed to clone 97% of the drive. Then, the RAID was analyzed with all 4 drives' data and it was destriped in a new 2ΤΒ drive. We recovered the data from there.
  • Percentage or recovery: >97%

CASE 1600

Ανάκτηση δεδομένων USB
CASE 1600:
USB Stick data are analysed using specialized software, with which we combine and decrypt them.
  • Kingston 8GB USB Flash Stick, chip ID P82232BD.
  • Symptoms: Not recognized.
  • Causes: Broke while transferred.
  • Background: A heavy object fell on the stick and broke it.
  • Solution: The stick contains 2 chips on which data is written. These chips were inserted on the device that reads their data. The contents were encrypted. Data & Mark ID was analysed and data were decrypted.
  • Percentage or recovery: 100%.

 

CASE 1612

    • Seagate 1000GB SATA hard drive - ST31000333AS 3.5" model
    • Symptoms: Drive fell
    • Causes: The drive was dropped by its owner while it was operating
    • Background: After the fall, the drive's owner attempted to fix the problem himself (stuck motor) by opening the case. Luckily, he didn't continue and closed the case.
    • Solution: The reason why the case should not be opened in an uncontrolled environment is the one shown on the image below. Dust particles and himidity from the air sit on the platter surfaces and can cause severe damages. Luckily the client didn't continue with attempting to fix the problem and brought us the drive to recover the data. The platters were cleaned and the drive was cloned.
Ανάκτηση δεδομένων σκληρών δίσκων
CASE 1612:
The top platter on the microscope: You can see the small dots that are foreign objects, a result of the owner attempting to fix the drive himself who opened the drive's case in an uncontrolled environment.
  • Percentage or recovery: 93%.

CASE 1661

  • WD400GB SATA hard drive - WD4000YR 3.5" model
  • Symptoms: Drive fell
  • Causes: The drive was dropped by its owner while it was operating
  • Background: After the fall, the drive's owner sent the drive to another data recovery company which, in turn, sent it to England, to one of the 'top' data recovery companies. That company returned the drive characterizing it as "100% non-recoverable" due to "surface damage".
  • Solution: The drive had two heads (h0 & h4) damaged. We used compatible spare parts on the drive which the drive 'rejected' alsmost immediately. From a new check with special equipment which retains the platters alignment, we checked the platters one by one and found out that the last one had scratches, something that explains the spare parts rejection. We applied a special technique with multiple spare parts and lots of patience ;-)
  • Percentage or recovery: 98.4%. We recovered 330GB of data with total success. The procedure lasted 36 days.

CASE 1809

Ανάκτηση δεδομένων σκληρών δίσκων Hitachi που μπήκε στην κατάψυξη
CASE 1809:
Condensates are on the surfaces, a result of the drive's owner using the "deep freeze trick".
  • Symptoms: The drive clicks and is not recognized.
  • Causes: The drive was dropped by its owner while it was not operating
  • Background: After the fall, the drive's owner attempted to fix the problem himself by putting the drive on the freezer for 4 hours.
  • Percentage or recovery: 0%.
  • Solution: The various DIY solutions based on urban legends like the "deep freeze" one, resulted in severe damage, as you can see on the image. There are condensates on the drive's surfaces resulting in the drive being 100% non-recoverable.

end faq

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