Seagate Hard Drive Repair: LED the Way

In this data recovery case, our client had been using their external hard drive to store important documents. After their Seagate external hard drive stopped detecting in their computer, they brought it to us for our Seagate hard drive repair services. This hard drive suffered from severe physical issues and needed the expert hands of Gillware’s world-class data recovery technicians.

Seagate Hard Drive Repair Case Study: LED the Way

Drive Model: Seagate Momentus ST1000LM024

Drive Capacity: 1 TB

Operating System: Windows

Situation: External hard drive stopped detecting; LED status light would blink

Type of Data Recovered: Encrypted documents from user’s main directory

Binary Read: 38.8%

Gillware Data Recovery Case Rating: 7

The first thing our engineers saw when they opened this hard drive up in one of our cleanroom workstations was catastrophic damage to several surfaces of its hard disk platters. Several of the heads in the drive’s read/write headstack had collided with the platters, gouging out rings of scratches. If the client had taken their failed external drive to a different data recovery lab, they would have failed the case right then and there. But while rotational scoring can make data recovery impossible for any data recovery lab if it is severe enough, our data recovery experts weren’t ready to give up hope just yet.

Seagate External Hard Drive Repair Results

The data on your hard drive lives in the layers of alloys coating the surfaces of the platters. When read/write heads crash into the platters and scrape some of this coating off, a little bit of your data vanishes, lost forever. But what happens next is worse. The scraped-off coating flies around the inside of the hard drive and embeds itself onto the surfaces of the platters. Compared to the normal fly height of the read/write heads in your hard drive, a single grain of this dust is like a mountain. Without a way to remove this dust and smooth out the platter surfaces again, it’s actually impossible to even recover data from the parts of the platters that are still intact.

However, in Gillware’s data recovery lab, our engineers have a “special weapon” for dealing with scratched platters. Using our hard disk platter burnishing technology, we could restore the hard drive’s platters to their pristine and smooth surfaces. Then, after finding a set of compatible read/write heads to replace the drive’s failed heads, our engineers could start salvaging data from the client’s failed Seagate hard drive.

Success of this case depended on where the client’s data lived. We could only recover the client’s most critical data if it hadn’t lived in the scored portions of the disk. Our engineers managed to fully recover 64.2% of the user’s files. Fortunately for the user, the vast majority of their important files had survived the catastrophic platter damage mostly unscathed. This Seagate hard drive repair case ended up a success, thanks in no small part to our data recovery experts and our revolutionary hard drive repair tools.

Seagate Hard Drive Repair – Why is Your Hard Drive LED Light Blinking?

The LED status light on your external hard drive helps you keep tabs on its behavior. Generally, a steady light means your hard drive is idle, while a blinking light means the drive is performing read and write operations. A blinking light can also be a sign, however, of hard drive failure. When your external drive isn’t functioning properly and isn’t showing up on your computer, the LED light can give you a general sense of what’s going on.

The client in this Seagate hard drive repair case had noticed that their external drive’s LED was blinking. This told them that the drive was “busy”. But if the drive had failed, how could it be busy?

It turns out LED behavior can offer some scant clues into hard drive failure. When a hard drive’s internal components have failed, the drive keeps trying to run them and do its job. This would produce the “busy” LED signal, although the hard drive wouldn’t show up on the client’s computer. On the other hand, if the client’s hard drive issue were logical, or if the USB cable or port was malfunctioning, they might have seen a steady light instead. The light won’t turn on at all if the external drive’s power cable has failed. If you have encountered a USB device not recognized or flash drive not recognized error your drive may be close to physical failure.

Of course, LED light behavior isn’t enough to diagnose the exact issue with a failed external hard drive. But it can tell the hard drive’s owner what course of action they should take. A malfunctioning hard drive with a steady status LED is likely not to be in any immediate physical danger. When a hard drive that won’t detect is “busy”, though, that’s your sign to power off the drive immediately and bring it straight to a data recovery specialist. Like this client’s hard drive, you could be in need of Seagate external hard drive repair services from a professional data recovery company.

Will Ascenzo
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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