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Hard Drive Recovery: Platter Replacement – Old News!

Hard Drive Recovery Platter Swap: Hardly A New Technology.

Recently I came across a news article about how another data recovery company “broke the platter replacement barrier”. I didn’t realize other companies saw hard drive platter swapping as a barrier! DTI Data Recovery has been successfully replacing and controlling platters independantly for years. When my hard drive crashed a while back I even wrote about how DTI replace the platters to recover data.

Some of the reasons we might have had an edge in developing advanced hard drive recovery techniques are we are not only a forensic data recovery company, but we teach and certify forensic technicians. Forensic recover and electronic discovery have led us down a path of having to deal with raw data ripped mostly by law enforcement professionals right off of a suspect hard drive. Without actually having the original disk media, DTI has created proprietary tools to break hard drive manufacturers encrypted microcode. These techniques and technology are the foundation for being able to read hard disk platters independent of the electronics associated with drive media.

The second factor is where we are located. Operating in Florida has forced us to deal with a lot more flood and hurricane related hard drive recoveries than the average data recovery company. Because of the disaster recovery situations we have been forced to deal with DTI has developed cutting edge techniques in dealing with just the hard disk platters. You see that is the real trick. Any competent mechanic in a dust free area can exchange platters with the right tools. It is breaking down what is on the platters that is the hard part.

These are just two of the many building blocks that have created the technology DTI uses every day. While it is true we employ many different tools and data recovery techniques to deal with hard drive failure, each situation requires its own unique solution. It is also not just us. I personally know of at least three competitors that also have been swapping platters for a while. Don’t be fooled by these “revelations” of “new” technology. In this day and age, press releases are a prime manner to get into search engines. I suppose they have to say something!

8 Responses to “Hard Drive Recovery: Platter Replacement – Old News!”

  1. ron martynow January 4, 2008 11:03 am #

    Please could someone explain the science of proper platter alignment once a swap has been done, just a small tip of best practice to achieve success, please!

    Thanks, Anything appreciated

  2. Davedata99 January 4, 2008 11:35 am #

    There are several things to keep in mind. However, platters should not come out of rotation. Even more importantly they should be kept in sync horizontally.

  3. Ronald December 21, 2008 10:40 am #

    ok, I have replaced the platters from one case to another. Can the data be recovered now. I am still having problems?

  4. DTI Data Recovery December 26, 2008 2:52 pm #

    Joe and Ronald,

    I want to state that this is very dangerous to the data on the hard drive and we need to have a disclaimer that these types of comments are not the property, opinion or statements of, Inc. Any advise on this website is for informational purposes only so be careful!

  5. Joe Worthy December 26, 2008 2:49 pm #


    Platters should only be moved in a clean room. The tiniest bit of dust or the smallest amount of static electricity can destroy heads. Since you have already opened the drive and moved platters, the only thing you can do now is insure the electronics and microcode language on the chipsets are identical. You have to make sure that the model numbers of the drives are exact, there can be no discrepancies at all. You will probably run into problems with the service area. To read the data off of the platters, you will have to re-write the service area to accommodate the old drives chipset information. there are special boards that are used to create and manage service areas of hard drives. that is the place to start.

  6. Randy March 15, 2010 2:22 pm #

    Why are the platter swap tools so darn expensive? I feel i can make one in my garage…

  7. Steven August 17, 2016 5:12 pm #

    So, if I wanted the platters removed and placed into a new drive from a 2 TB Western Digital, what would that cost?


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