Seagate 4tb portable hard drive

This drive was posted to us after the customer started to format the drive by mistake, although he did say he stopped the format after about 30 seconds when he realised his mistake.

Seagate Expansion 4tb USB 3 Hard Drive

Here’s the drive.  We connected the drive to our imager to make a copy of the hard drive before hoping to use R Studio software to extract whatever data we could find.

Seagate Hard Drive

As you can see in the picture this wasn’t just a format mistake, we have bad sectors (granted not alot) but an indication that failure of the drive is just around the corner, this drive should copy at around 80000kbs, its only reaching 56223kbs.

seagate external portable hard drive

Only 2 hours to go and then we can work from the copy of the customers drive just in case anything goes wrong, at the moment we are extracting the customer data using R Studio and will update a file list when complete.


Seagate Barracuda ST1000LM048 Hrad Drive

This hard drive was removed from an HP laptop that was taking about 10 minutes just to load Windows 10 to the desktop screen.  The customer thought that the laptop was at fault but on further investigation we found that head 1 of the drive was running at half the speed it should have been and anywhere in between.

Seagate Barracuda St1000lm048 hard drive

Above you can see the reported head speeds in mbs.

Seagate Barracuda Data Recovery

Around 51 minutes to go and we will have a 100% Recovery for our client.


Western Digital WD20NMVW hard drive

This is a slow responding Western Digital WD20NMVW internal 2.5″ Sata Hard Drive dropped in by a customer for Data Recovery.

Western Digital Hard Drive PCB swap

In the picture above you can see us in the process of converting the drive from a USB 3 drive to a Sata drive.  This gives greater control of the hard drive during the recovery process.

To do this we simply take off the USB circuit board and replace this with the correct Sata circuit board, to make the drive work and ID correctly on our data recovery machine, we need to use PC 3000 to read the data from the USB board and write this to the Sata board.

Once this was done we managed to extract the user data from the drive at a much faster speed and take care of the drive encryption on the fly as the drive copied onto a new drive for the customer.

Western Digital Passport Usb Portable Hard Drive

This is a USB Passport portable hard drive, the customer was complaining that the drive when powered on just did nothing, the drive would spin up as expected but the hard drive access light would just flash every few seconds with no access to the data stored on the hard drive.  In this case we have two options.

1. To connect the drive to our DDi 4 data imager and try to get a copy of the drive, this is the cheapest and easiest option but not the fastest one as the imager does allow connection of drives by USB cable but with faulty Western Digital Drives the access speed can be very slow.

2. Obtain the correct circuit board that would match this drive and replace the USB Circuit board with a Sata version, from there we would transfer the Rom chip from the faulty drive to the replacement circuit board and have access to the drive by a Sata connection which is faster and gives us greater scope for managing the data recovery process, this would be the more expensive option.

With option 2 we would also need to image the drive using PC 3000 as this has the ability to unencrypt encrypted Western Digital Hard drives on the fly whilst imaging.

Western Digital hard drive data imaging

As you can see half way through the image process we have over a million blocks of data still to be read.  We took the chance that the drive had a lot of free space so if blocks could not be read then hopefully these blocks would apply to parts of the drive that had no data on it anyway.

WD 5000 hard drive imaging

This is the fourth and final pass of the imager, above you can see how slow the drive was imaging with Head 0, 1, 2 and 3 running at anything from 5mbs to 1mbs.  On a good drive this would normally be around 88mbs.  The unread blocks came to 179000 ish which on reviewing the data it was all good.  The cheaper and longer option worked for us and the customer.

This drive was handed in by an employee of a University after their IT department couldn’t get any data from the drive.  The drive hadn’t been dropped and showed no signs that failure was just around the corner.

Seagate ST500DM3 Data Recovery

After we went through the evaluation process we managed to get access to the drive, but even on the specialist imaging machine we still had a hell of a lot of data not being read correctly.

Seagate ST500 Hard Drive Recovery

seagte hard drive recovery

As you can see we still have over half a million blocks to be read after the first imaging pass.

Hard Drive Seagate data recovery

By the time we get to the 4th pass of the drive you can see the unread blocks,(top right hand corner of the pic is 0), 100 % recovered. One Seagate Barracuda ST500WM3 recovered in full.


The customer dropped this drive, we expected to have to change some internal components.  We tried the drive first on the Deepspar Imager and didn’t expect to get any valuable data without spending money on some donor parts to repair.

Western Digtial Hard Drive WD20EACS

This is the picture from the DDI during the hard drive imaging process, as you can see the white squares is where the imager has detected the area cant be read and skips to the next block. 

Western Digital Hard Imaging on Deepar DDI

This is only the first pass, the beginning of the drive to the end, the second pass goes from the end of the drive to the start and uses various methods to try and read the data that wasn’t read first time around.  A very handy bit of kit.   At some in the process this drive had over 2million unreadable blocks of data.

Western Digital Hard Drive Imaging

As you can see we managed to get this down to 843295, most of this was empty space on the drive so no data loss.Western Digital Hard Imaging on Deepar DDIt

And here is the recovered file list.  This customer was very lucking, usually when a hard drive has an impact internal parts need to be changed, to do this we would need to obtain a drive exactly the same to get the parts off

The Customer attached the wrong power lead resulting in a burning smell coming from the drive and damaging the hard drive PCB. With the damage to the hard drive PCB no power was getting to the drive.  In this situation sometimes the incorrect power to the drive can affect the head assembly stack,  in this case the customer was very lucky this was not the case.

After Fixing the hard drive PCB we imaged a copy of the drive onto a new hard drive, called the customer and gave him the good news.

seagate hard drive pcb repairbuffalo hard drive hard drive copy

Time to call the customer, fully recovered.


Customer popped in with this Mac after visiting the Apple Store.  They thought that the hard drive was faulty.  As Apple don’t provide a data recovery service they suggested the customer to get in touch with us.  Luckily this drive was in the early stages of failure and was a fairly straight forward data recovery for us.

Apple hard drive data recovery

The usual HGST hard drive inside a Mac Book of this vintage, only about 500gb.  Not seen by the Mac book operating system.

HGSt hard drive recovery

This machine is a Deepsar Imager, the machine is designed to get data off drives which are in the process of failing before they fail permanently.  In this case it did its job perfectly.

DDI Imager of mac hard drive

As you can see we have a full image of the faulty hard drive, next we will strip and clean the Mac book and fit  500gb SSD drive to speed up the Mac, then copy over the customers recovered data.   Good as new and much faster than it was.


Hard Drive Maxtor 3.5"

Customer connected this Maxtor Hard Drive Drive to the wrong power supply and only noticed when he could smell burning.  We see a lot of hard drives with this problem needing data recovery.  Its very easily done.  This was a very old drive and our initial concern was that the head assembly stack may have been damaged.  In this case the customer was very lucky.

Hard Drive Damaged Circuit Board

You may need to enlarge the image but you can clearly see the damaged component on the circuit board of the hard drive.

Hard Drive PCB Repair

This image may be a little clearer.

Maxtor DDI hard drive detection

After the circuit board was removed we managed to replace the damaged components from a donor drive.  As you can see from the image the hard drive is now switching on as previously it was powerless.

Hard Drive DDI Imaging

As the drive had been damaged its also best practice to take a copy of the drive as we did in this picture, as a damaged / repaired drive can be unpredictable.  The first rule of data recovery is not to cause any further damage.

Hard Drive Data copy Complete

At last the drive copy has completed and we can now start to check the customers data to make sure its all intact. After the customer has checked the data recovery we can then copy the user data to his own hard drive.

Hard Drive Data Recovery Edinburgh

Hard Drive Data Recovery Edinburgh

This is a drive dropped in yesterday for evaluation.  Apparently the customers father thought he could help so decided to open the drive and try to fix it.  As you can see the dust and finger prints have wrecked any chance of getting data from it.  We offer a free evaluation on any drive to ensure if you need hard drive data recovery you will stand a good chance of getting your data back,  in person or by posting the drive to us.