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Data Recovery Case Study: WD5000AAKS

wd5000aaksThis might be the most popular drive sold in the past 5 years. It is fast and the storage capacity for the bang for your buck was huge! When they first came out you couldn’t get anything close in size for the pennies Western Digital was asking for the drive.  Over the years Western Digital has continued to make this drive with many revisions and it continues to be very popular.

Now because of it’s popularity we do see quite a few of them for data recovery. This is not to say it is bad drive, I actually like the drive and have 2 running in my personal machine right now.


The most common fault we find with these drives is bad heads.

The explanation we give our customers for bad heads is  imagine a record player. Now the needle on the record player has gone.

Replacement of the needle is necessary in order to be able to listen to your music. The same is true with a hard drive platter. If you have bad heads you have to replace those with heads identical to the ones in the current broken drive.  With western digital drives this is extremely important.  I will say that we generally will go though 4-5 head swaps before we find a set of heads that will cleanly pull the data off the hard disk.


Another common fault with the WD5000AAKS is what we like to call the system area fault. To the normal person this is a very abstract idea, especially since shows like CSI make data recovery look so easy. I am going to try to explain this the best and most simple way I can.




hard drive system area

Ok lets say the yellow area is the “system area” of the hard drive.

Information contained here is the “geometry” of the hard drive.

Lets also say the heads MUST initialize from the system area.

So the order is as follows:

1. Power on

2. Heads move to system area

3. Drive initializes off information stored there

This is important because we can not change where the system area is contained on the hard drive. The heads will always try to initialize from this spot, it is hard coded in the drive models firmware.

When physical damage to the system area occurs, like scratches, recovery becomes next to impossible. That being said if it not PHYSICAL problem with the system area but just a loss of the system area we can recovery the hard drive from that problem.

24 Hour Hard Drive Recovery & Server/RAID Recovery Hotline:Toll Free 1-866-438-6932 or direct 1-727-345-9665.

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