Dropped Hard Drive Recovery

Some hard drives are more prone to being dropped than others. Laptops are frequently in danger of taking a tumble off your lap and landing on the floor. Your external hard drive can be knocked off the desk by an errant hand, pet cat, or child. And when that happens, no matter the cause, it can land your data–and you–in deep trouble.

There are many points of possible failure when a hard drive is dropped. Sensitive components within the hard drive tend not to play well with gravity and strong impacts, and that spells trouble.

If you are in need of dropped hard drive recovery services, our engineers can help. A dropped hard drive needs care and attention, and usually replacement parts, from skilled and well-equipped data recovery experts. Submit a case to Gillware to put your precious digital data in the best possible hands.

What Happens When I Drop My Hard Drive?

To understand how a dropped hard drive fails, it’s important to understand how a hard drive works. Inside your hard drive are thin, delicate disks with a magnetic coating. These are the drive’s data storage platters. They are like CDs, but smaller and denser. Laptop hard drives, which are the most prone to being dropped, have platters made out of glass. The hard drive’s spindle motor spins these platters at around 5,400 to 7,200 revolutions per minute.

The platters are divided into sectors. These are magnetically-charged pieces of the surface that contain the actual data on the hard drive. Small electrically-charged coils of copper wire mounted on long arms sweep across the radius of the platters as they spin. These are the magnetic read/write heads. These heads are kept away from the platters when the drive is not in use. A ramp guides them into their proper positions above the platters.

Unlike the needle on a record player, these heads are never supposed to touch the surfaces of the platters. Instead, they hover a tiny distance above the platters on a cushion of air. This distance is about the equivalent of a couple dozen atoms laid end-to-end.

To imagine what the read/write heads are doing, think about a plane flying at top speed a few feet above the ground. The margins for error are razor-thin. It’s unsurprising that the read/write heads are one of the most common failure points for a hard drive.

At the instant you drop your laptop or external hard drive, the device experiences an instantaneous moment of weightlessness. Then gravity does its work. The higher the height your device falls from, the more speed it builds up. And then it hits the ground, and it stops—very quickly.

You may be familiar with Newton’s second law of motion: Force equals mass times acceleration. The faster an object’s velocity changes, the more force is exerted on it. As the saying goes, it’s not the fall that kills you.

If your hard drive is running when your laptop or external drive takes a tumble, the read/write heads could crash onto the surfaces of the platters. This is the one thing they are absolutely not supposed to do.

The platters might only briefly impact with the platters, making some dings and scraping out a few sectors here and there. Or they might make prolonged contact with the platters and gouge huge tracks out of them. This is called rotational scoring. Severe rotational scoring can be devastating.

The heads can also clamp down on the platters and stop them from spinning. This can cause the hard drive spindle motor to seize up.

Manufacturers of both laptop computer and hard drives have come up with ways to mitigate the damage done to a dropped hard drive. Many laptops today have accelerometers inside them. These features, such as Apple’s Sudden Motion Sensor, send signals to the hard drive and warn it to take its heads away from of the platters if the laptop enters free fall. Hard drive manufacturers are also now building free fall sensors into the drives themselves.

This doesn’t stop the drive from failing if it falls hard enough. The heads can become damaged by a fall even if they’ve been tucked away. But it does reduce the chances of the platters containing your precious data becoming damaged.

There are some external hard drive manufacturers who make their enclosures as tough as possible. These products are typically aimed at nature photographers and anyone with rough and adventurous lines of work. These hard drives are much more well-insulated from shocks and drops than your typical external hard drive. But as long as a hard drive has moving parts, dropping your hard drive always carries risks.

How Do Gillware’s Dropped Hard Drive Recovery Services Work?

At Gillware Data Recovery, we offer free evaluations for all dropped hard drive recovery scenarios. We even offer free inbound shipping for anyone living in the continental US.

There’s no way of telling how severe the damage to the drive has been until we’ve brought it to our hard drive recovery cleanroom and had our technicians look at it. A dropped hard drive could need its read/write heads replaced. Its platters might need burnishing to clear debris off of them. The spindle motor may have failed. Our professional hard drive recovery engineers may have to deal with some or all of these failure points in order to get your drive up and running.

 
 

We take note of the hard drive’s condition and determine the cost and probability of success for dropped hard drive recovery on a case-by-case basis. We then present you with a price quote. We don’t ask for any payment at this point, just acknowledgment of the cost.

If you approve the price quote, our hard drive recovery cleanroom engineers do the work to get your hard drive into shape. This can require one repair to the drive or many repairs. Our in-house data recovery software tool HOMBRE helps our engineers read the drive safely and efficiently. As part of our dropped hard drive recovery services, we salvage as much as we can from the drive. We’ve made our entire data recovery operation as financially risk-free as possible. We only consider our recovery efforts successful if we recover your important data, and meet the goals of your case, which are established when you approve the quote for data recovery. When the recovery is complete and successful, we take your recovered data and put it on a new hard drive and ship it to you.

Why Choose Gillware For Dropped Hard Drive Data Recovery?

Dropped hard drive recovery is a unique and highly specialized skill. Our cleanroom data recovery engineers have spent years and thousands of hours working on hard drives. Just about every brand and model of hard drive has come into our cleanroom at least once.

Our engineers have solved thousands of dropped hard drive recovery cases in the years we’ve been in business. We stand by our financially risk-free data recovery guarantee. If we can’t get your data back at a price that makes sense to you, you don’t owe us a dime.

Still not convinced? Check out some of these case studies for our dropped hard drive recovery services:

Hard Disk Failure Recovery Case Study: Deleted and Dropped

The client in this data recovery case had a problem. And soon enough, that problem turned into two problems. Their first problem was that they’d accidentally […]

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Dropped External Drive Data Recovery Case Study: Life in the Slow Lane

Hard drives were not designed to endure massive impacts while running. This is common knowledge now, especially with the advent of portable external hard drives that […]

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External Hard Drive Recovery Case Study: A Hard Drive Cat-Astrophe

In this external hard drive recovery case study, the client came to us after catastrophe had befallen their Western Digital My Passport Ultra. The drive had […]

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Western Digital Recovery Case Study: Unknown Device

You might think that your hard drive is most at risk of being dropped when it’s inside a portable external casing, or inside a laptop. Hard […]

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Samsung M3 Data Recovery Case Study: Encrypted SecretZone File Recovery

Our client in this data recovery case had been the proud owner of a Samsung M3 external hard drive. Then the external drive took a tumble […]

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