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Hard Drive Repair


Hard Drive Repair at DTI Data Recovery.

We take pride in being able perform hard drive repair and recover data from hard disks when other data recovery companies have failed.

Our engineers collaborate with our research and development team to keep current with recent changes in hard drive technology and recovery techniques. Often our team develops new recovery methods before the new storage device is even released to the general public.

We knows how important your data is to you. We strive to improve our techniques each and every day to effectively recover data from any physically or mechanically malfunctioning hard disk drive.

If your drive is making clicking sounds or other strange noises, do NOT try any additional recovery attempts. A hard drive continuously run while in a degraded or failing state can lead to platter damage, possibly making recovery impossible.

Can My Hard Drive Be Fixed?

One of the questions we are often asked is, “Can I use my hard drive after it has been repaired?” We temporarily repair the drive just long enough to recover the data. Once repaired, the drive could operate for two weeks or only two hours, there is no way to guarantee the life of the drive. If the heads have impacted the platter surface, replacement head assemblies may degrade quickly requiring multiple replacements.  Once a hard drive has mechanically malfunctioned, its reliability as a storage device is gone. If the hard drive does not contain any data of value, it is more cost effective to purchase a new drive.

I don’t care about my hard drive, I just need the data.

We understand. Unfortunately, drives are unique. Every hard drive is tuned or goes through a burn in process at the time of manufacturing.  The defects found on the platter surface are removed from the pool of available sectors. The System partition or System Area contains list of defects at the time of manufacturing and sectors re-allocated to spare sectors during use. The read/write head assembly micro-jog must be compatible with the printed circuit board ROM. Our task is to repair the drive to the point where it is able to read data located on the User partition long enough to recover the User’s data. We have tools to help badly damaged drives operate, turn off read/write heads, initialize the System area from a copy, etc. To make a long technical story short, there is no way to recover data from a hard drive without repairing the drive.

Repairing the System Area

In order to recover the data on the hard drive there is an area on the platters that must be read. This area on the disk is crucial to all drive functions, it is called the System Area. The following is a brief explanation of what the System Area is and why it is important.

The System Area is a reserved space dedicated to a hard drive’s own needs, such as: storing SMART logs, defect list at time of manufacturing, defect reallocation tables (grown defect list), program code (overlays), Max LBA (drives total size), head maps; all the information the drive needs to operate.

The EEPROM chip located on the PCB (printed circuit board) contains only a small part of the firmware; its primary role is to spin up the spindle and un-park heads so the drive can read the remainder of the firmware from the Service Area of the platters.

The System Area is not accessible with standard ATA commands; it cannot be read or written with any software because the data is unique for every vendor and drive family. Furthermore, hard drive vendors do not disclose any information about their hard drive System Area (SA) structure or how to access it.

Additionally, the SA is encrypted. To access the SA we use specialized tools to gain access. Gaining access to the System Area of hard drives has become more difficult as hard drive manufacturers have made an effort to encrypt and deter access to this area.

Update to access to the System Area of hard drives. Manufacturers of hard drives have gone to great lengths to cut off access to the System Area of the hard drive. Access to this area is a key part to repairing and recovering hard drives. Why its important.

  • By default hard drives are set to read and write as fast as possible and automatically reallocate sectors when that are not reading. It is important to reprogram the default settings when working on damaged hard drive.
  • In almost all hard drive recoveries, we need to get a head map. Each platter surface has a head the reads and write to the platter. When a platter has damage we want to avoid certain areas or the entire platter until we have imaged as much data from other platters. We will then go back to potentially damaged areas to get as much data as possible.

We have decades of experience in reverse-engineering the unique System Area structures of most hard drive models in order to recover the data.

More about hard drive recovery

 Services for hard drive refurbishment, testing, and wiping.

We are able to diagnose problems quickly and build viable solutions to repair and refurbish hard drives that may otherwise be scrapped. Our programmers and hardware engineers have effectively reallocated millions of dollars of otherwise non- performing assets.

The services we offer:

  • Mass Hard Drive Repair
  • Hard drive-SSD testing and grading
  • Secure hard drive wiping –  Solid State Drive SSD wiping
  • Certification and verification of hard drive wiping and sanitization
  • Storage Recycling
  • Storage Certification