Seagate Data Recovery: HDD Failure, What a Drag

Hard drive failure happens. Sooner or later, no matter how often you use it, your hard drive will stop working. After all, a lot of very delicate processes work very hard to bring your hard drive to life. And not just the mechanical processes. The logical systems that govern your hard drive’s behavior and allow it to store your data properly work just as hard as the mechanical system of read/write heads, spindle motor, and hard disk platters. For Mike Garland, a professional drag race photographer from Fulton, IL, a failure of these delicate processes deprived him of thousands of his photos. Mike came to us with his failed Seagate Backup Plus drive for our Seagate data recovery services.

Our Seagate data recovery experts recovered thousands of Mike Garland's drag racing photos.

Seagate Data Recovery Case Study: HDD Failure, What a Drag
Drive Model: Samsung/Seagate ST2000LM003
Drive Capacity: 2 TB
Operating System: Windows
Situation: External Seagate Backup Plus hard drive stopped detecting
Type of Data Recovered: Photos
Binary Read: 15.9%
Gillware Data Recovery Case Rating: 10

Mike Garland’s Seagate Backup Plus external hard drive had just spontaneously stopped showing up in Windows Device Manager. Hard drive failure often makes it impossible for a computer to read or “detect” the failed hard drive. There can be a plethora of culprits, from a logical issue affecting the drive’s boot sector to a physical issue plaguing the read/write heads or data storage platters. In most situations, only trained data recovery engineers can accurately assess a hard drive’s reason for failure.

Our engineers removed the failed hard drive from Seagate’s external casing for evaluation. It was a Samsung ST2000LM003 hard drive. (No, there hadn’t been a bait-and-switch at some point. Seagate bought out Samsung’s hard disk drive manufacturing arm a few years back. Because of this, you will occasionally find Samsung hard drives inside Seagate-branded devices.)

Our Seagate data recovery experts recovered thousands of Mike Garland's drag racing photos.

The Seagate Data Recovery Procedure

Our engineers discovered that Mike’s failed hard drive suffered from slow read/write heads. The read/write heads have to transmit data to and from the platters in the form of electrical signals. And they have to do it very quickly. Read/write heads can fail as a result of age, heavy use, or just by chance. But sometimes, when heads fail, they don’t become totally incapable of reading and writing data. They just slow down and fall below the hard drive’s tolerance threshold.

Of course, our engineers aren’t concerned with writing anything to the drive. All of our data recovery platforms are write-blocked to prevent altering any of our clients’ data.

Our Seagate data recovery experts recovered thousands of Mike Garland's drag racing photos.

With the proprietary fault-tolerant data recovery tools in our data recovery lab, a skilled data recovery engineer can deftly manipulate the performance of a physically-compromised hard drive. Even when a drive won’t detect on any other computer, our engineers can still salvage data from it. By using fault-tolerant tools and techniques, we can skip over many of the errors that prevent your average computer or data recovery software tools from accessing a failed hard drive’s data.

Even with the slow heads, our engineers could still read the data from Mike’s failed hard drive and copy it over to one of our internal client data storage drives. After reading only 15.9% of the binary sectors on the drive’s platters, our engineers had read all of the drive’s file definitions and recovered all of Mike Garland’s critical photos.

Seagate Data Recovery: Not Such a Drag, Thanks To Gillware

Our Seagate data recovery experts recovered thousands of Mike Garland's drag racing photos.

We tend to be blissfully unaware of all of the things that have to work properly for a hard drive to function. You don’t need to know all of the nitty-gritty details about how a bunch of tiny magnetic fields translates into ones and zeroes, and those ones and zeroes translate into hexadecimal values, and those finally translate into your family photo album, as long as it works. You don’t need to know how your computer reads your external hard drive’s boot sector, finds the partition superblock and file definitions, and pulls up your Quickbooks transaction log, as long as it works. And you don’t need to know how your hard drive’s read/write heads float a scant few nanometers above the platters as long as they do their jobs right.

Fortunately for Mike Garland, when his hard drive went belly-up, the experts at Gillware were here to help. Our Seagate data recovery experts were able to recover all of the photos from Mike’s failed external hard drive. This case was a perfect 10 on our data recovery case rating scale.

Mike had this to say on our Facebook page after receiving his data:

“I want to send a huge Thank You to the great people at Gillware Date Recovery. and the great people that work there. I got my hard drive back yesterday and they were able to retrieve 100% of my files. Thanks also to Peter in customer service what a great guy. Thanks to all.”

As always, the data recovery engineers here at Gillware, along with our customer service team, were more than happy to reunite yet another client with their lost data. If you’ve suffered from data loss, feel free to submit a case to us online. You can also give our recovery client advisers a call.

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Will Ascenzo

Will is the lead blogger, copywriter, and copy editor for Gillware Data Recovery and Digital Forensics, and a staunch advocate against the abuse of innocent semicolons.

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