Dec 21, 02:26 PM

The 12 Days of Data Recovery at CBL

In the 12 Days of Christmas,
Customers sent to us…

Family trees, Family Photos, Family Videos, Family Documents. Our digital lives are built around the files and data we keep on our computers. At CBL we are happiest when we can get back your important data, like precious photo memories.
Broken connectors, static shock, and poor quality parts are the things we see most often with USB sticks. For many we can remove the flash memory chips for a direct reading. Other times, particularly with no-name units, we need to locate a suitable parts match for chip transplant to regain access to the data.
We see a lot of damaged cell phones, but a broken screen is by far the leading cause of lack of access. Luckily in most cases this is a simple temporary repair to get the phone working enough to unlock, so the data can be extracted or backed up.
A RAID, or multi-disk storage volume, can go offline for many reasons. The most common issue is multiple disk failure, either from physical shock, electrical damage, accident, or poor maintenance. We will normally have to ‘image’ the working drives, repair and image any failed drives, and reverse engineer the RAID manually to extract the data to new media.
The spacers between the platters on the spindle shaft, similar to large washers, are sometimes called spindle rings. When we have diagnosed a faulty motor, we need to remove the platters precisely, keeping the alignment precise, and the spacing intact. The spindle rings are kept between the platters during transplant to help stabilize things during the move.
Sometimes, particularly at Christmas, we may be looking for a little divine intervention to help with especially difficult projects.
This is the action of the head arms moving back and forth across the spinning platter trying to read servo-information to bring the drive into a ready-to-use state. If the heads cannot read this information due to poor media, degraded head sensitivity or physical damage, the arms will continue to “sweep” across the disk making a clicking or ticking sound.
The read/write heads are tiny electromagnets located at the ends of the head armature, similar to the needle on a record player. When the heads cannot read the proper signals from the platter surfaces, either due to issues on the media or a problem with one or more heads, a clicking sound is heard as the arm sweeps back and forth trying to read servo information from the disk.
Technically we wouldn’t see the platters crashing, but the read/write heads crashing onto the platters. Perhaps one or more platter surfaces could be affected by physical impact, and multiple head-changes may be necessary to clone as much of the original surface as possible.
This is usually a symptom of a burned out spindle motor. The PCB will give errors beeps when the spinning speed cannot be reached. Rarely it can indicate an electronics problem, usually a platter transplant is needed onto a new spindle motor.
Spinning the platters in a hard drive is accomplished by a motor turning a spindle packed with ball bearings. Sometimes the oil will leak out or burn off over time, causing the small ball bearings to grate or scrape. When the friction is high enough, the motor cannot turn the spindle at the correct speed, or the bearings will seize altogether and likely burn out the motor itself. This is the most invasive recovery type as the platters will need to be transplanted onto a working motor before any other physical work can start.
We come across many of these while working on the various hard drives, laptops, desktop systems, flash cards, usb keys, external storage, RAID arrays, tapes and servers we recover data from throughout the year. All the best to you this festive season!

Category: data recovery

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