The most common Samsung Data Recovery with the Spin Point hard drives is Service Area corruption.
The corruption at times may be attributed to excessive remapping of sectors that are failing. The excessive remapping can be a bi-product of a read/write head failing intermittently. With that said, we will discuss how to do a Samsung Data Recovery of a failed Spin Point hard drive. The following is a short list of what we will need to recover the hard drive.
- A donor Samsung hard drive with matching firmware.
- A PC-3000 or any tool that will provide you access to the System Area and has the capability to send ATA commands.
- Cloning device or software: Data Extractor, DeepSpar DDI, Atola imager etc.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this process, we will need to remove some of the screws that attach the printed circuit board (PCB) to the hard drive assembly on the donor drive. Keep about 3 screws attached to make sure the board is making contact with the internal power contacts and is level. Loosen the 3 remaining screws so there will be little resistance when removing them. We will then want to remove the PCB on the failed Samsung hard drive.
The Samsung drive in this how-to will not be accessible so we will need to perform a “Hot Swap”. We will attach the donor Samsung hard drive to the PC-3000. Then power on the hard drive and open the utility and select the Samsung from the utility menu. The utility will auto detect the drive family and read vendor specific information about that hard drive and place it in memory.
We will then want to place the drive in “Standby” mode or put it into sleep mode. On the top menu of the Utility navigate to the “Tools” menu option, then select “HDD” from the drop down menu. You will see several command options one will be “Standby”. Click on “Standby”, this will cause the drive to spin down and go into “Standby” or sleep mode.
Now we are done with the easy portion of this how-to-guide. This is where a pair of steady hands pays off. Keep calm, chin up, you may have to try this a couple times, practice makes perfect. Continuing on, when the donor Samsung hard drive has spun down, remove the PCB from the hard drive assembly. Then place the failed drive on a flat surface. We are going to reattach the PCB that is still connected to the PC-3000 from the donor Samsung hard drive. We will want to make sure the drive is placed on the flat surface lid down and PCB connection surface facing up. We will want to make a level connection with the donor hard drive, making sure that all contact points connect or make contact at the same time. If the contact points are not connected simultaneously the drive will spin up and you will have to repeat the process. When you have successfully connected the PCB with the Samsung hard drive assembly attach the minimal amount of screws necessary to attach and hold the PCB and hard drive assembly together. Now you will either perform a “Soft Reset” or “Recalibration”, both can be found under the Tool->HDD menu. The drive will then spin up and should come ready.
Prior to altering anything in the System Area it is always best practice to backup ROM and Modules, there is no need to backup the SA Tracks. After backing up the Samsung SA ROM and modules navigate to Tests at the top of the utility. Then navigate to Defect Lists and choose “Clear ALT-List”. After clearing the ALT-List, power down the drive and reattach the original PCB and power it on, the drive should come ready and be accessible. If so, you have successfully completed a Samsung data recovery. Now it is time to recover the data by imaging the hard drive.
If you have Data Extractor included in your PC-3000 you may use it, the DeepSpar DDI is also a good choice. In either case, both will allow you to build a head map. Prior to imaging I suggest building a head map. Should you actually have a failing read/write head that may have contributed to the overflow in the ALT-List you will be able to disable that head to prevent any further damage while recovering data from the remaining functional heads. If the Samsung hard drive does not have a failing head the cloning will complete and the data will have been recovered. If the hard drive does have a failing head the donor drive’s read/write heads can be used as a replacement after the functional heads have completed imaging. Then you will only need to image using the head that was disabled.