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Bruce Hennings

Gillware's Story

Gillware Data Recovery is a professional data recovery lab specializing in recovering data from mechanically and electrically failed storage devices. The company was founded in 2004 by two brothers, Brian and Tyler Gill, on the principle that even professional data recovery services should not be prohibitively expensive. Since then, Gillware has become a world-class data recovery lab, pioneering sensible pricing and financially risk-free services through the use of state-of-the-art engineering techniques and proprietary recovery tools.

Gillware performs over 15,000 recoveries each year. Its Madison, Wisconsin-based data recovery lab is SOC 2 Type II security audited and equipped with ISO-5 Class 100 cleanroom facilities. With an industry-leading research and development team, Gillware is the preferred data recovery provider for major technology companies such as Western Digital and Dell.

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Technical Descriptions

Data Recovery

The process of retrieving lost data from a data storage device such as a hard disk drive, solid state drive, flash memory, optical disk, smartphone or tablet, or magnetic tape. This includes data that has been deleted as well as data that has been rendered inaccessible as a result of damage to the device. Damaged storage devices require special expertise and tools to repair, such as those found in a data recovery lab.

Data Recovery Lab

An environment in which data recovery can be done safely. A proper data recovery lab provides a clean enough environment that a hard disk drive can be opened up without exposing its sensitive components to airborne contaminants, and is staffed with highly-trained technicians and computer scientists. Professional data recovery labs also make use of a large library of readily-available donor parts for fixing broken hard disk drives.

Hard Disk Drive

A storage medium that has existed since the 1950s in which data is stored magnetically on spinning disk platters. Hard disk drives, or HDDs, are still the most commonly-used storage device in personal computers and data centers alike. Magnetic read/write heads similar to the needles on a record player float several nanometers above the platter surfaces, recording and altering the magnetic fields on the platters.

Hard Disk Platter

A hard disk platter is a disk of aluminum or glass coated with a thin layer of ferromagnetic alloy. Small, magnetically-charged regions of the disk contain the user’s data. Many modern hard disk drives have multiple platters, with data present on both surfaces of each.

Solid-State Drive

A storage medium in which data is stored electronically on non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM). Solid-state drives, or SSDs, use NAND flash memory chips to store data. Electrically-stored memory with no moving parts makes SSDs faster and harder to damage than hard disk drives.

Hybrid Drive

A storage device that uses some combination of spinning disk platters and NAND flash memory chips to store data. Some hybrid drives are hard drives with additional flash memory chips connected to the circuit board. Other hybrid drives, such as the Apple Fusion Drive, combine a separate HDD and SSD into a single volume.

Rotational Scoring

When the magnetic read/write heads inside a hard disk drive make contact with the platters, they can scratch the platters and scrape off the ferromagnetic substrate containing the owner’s data. The scraped-off platter coating cannot be restored, and often embeds itself on the still-intact areas of the platters, where it must be polished off using burnishing tools.

Click of Death

When a hard disk drive’s read/write heads lose the ability to read or write data, they produce a rhythmic ticking noise as they fly blindly over the surfaces of the platters. People in the computer repair and IT industry refer to this noise as “the Click of Death.”