Western Digital Data Recovery: When Backup Isn’t Enough

Sometimes the backup you have isn’t the backup you need. And if you’re not careful, you could find that out the hard way. Such a thing happened to the client in this Western Digital data recovery case. When they dropped a heavy object on their laptop, it damaged the hard drive nestled within the computer. Immediately upon booting, the client was beset by boot errors informing them that critical system files were missing from the drive.

Further Western Digital hard drive diagnostics revealed that the hard drive was full of S.M.A.R.T. errors. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) helps a hard drive keep track of its own performance. Hopefully, it picks up on signs of HDD failure down the road and alerts the user early enough for them to pull their important data off and replace the job. But as we’ve long since known at Gillware, that’s not always the case.

Anyway, the client wasn’t worried at first. They had a backup of their hard drive on a friend’s server. All their data was safe, wasn’t it?
Unfortunately, no, it wasn’t. The backup, as it turned out, was out of date. Very out of date. It was missing months’ worth of recently created and modified files… such as the client’s Quickbooks files. And so, with no backup in hand, the client came to the Western Digital data recovery experts at Gillware.


Western Digital Data Recovery Case Study: When Backup Isn’t Enough
Drive Model: Western Digital WD6400BPVT-80HXZT1
Drive Capacity: 640 GB
Operating/File System: Windows NTFS
Data Loss Situation: Dropped a heavy object on top of laptop while it was in use and immediately received boot errors. Western Digital diagnostics picked up S.M.A.R.T. errors.
Type of Data Recovered: Quickbooks files, photos, documents
Binary Read: 32.7%
Gillware Data Recovery Case Rating: 10

Western Digital Data Recovery Results

Most modern laptop hard drives have accelerometers inside them that send warnings of any change in acceleration, forcing the heads to pull back and avoid damaging the delicate hard disk platters that hold all of your data in case you drop the laptop.

This doesn’t always prevent the read/write heads from breaking if you drop your hard drive (or drop something heavy on your hard drive). But it does keep them from gouging nasty scratches in the platter surfaces and causing irreversible data loss.

The impact against the laptop was enough of a shock against the Western Digital hard drive’s sensitive read/write heads to cause some damage to them. Our Western Digital data recovery engineers quickly found that this damage wasn’t enough to render the heads completely inoperable. There was still just a little life left in them, and our engineers had just the tools and skills needed to wring as much data as possible out of them before they went kaput.

With the help of Gillware’s fault-tolerant data recovery tools (and engineers skilled enough to use them properly), our engineers could pull the client’s valuable data off of their failing Western Digital hard drive.

When a hard drive’s components are fading fast, our engineers have some special tricks up their sleeves to get the most bang for our buck. Using file system metadata such as the bitmap, we can quickly identify used areas of the hard drive’s disk platters. Not only that, we can also zero in on specific files, such as photos, or Quickbooks documents.

With our engineers’ bag of tricks, we could recover every last bit of our client’s data before the life ran out on the drive’s damaged read/write heads. This Western Digital data recovery case earned a perfect 10 on our ten-point case rating scale.

When Is Backup Not Enough?

At Gillware, we can’t stress fully enough how important backing up your data is. We’re so passionate about backing up data that we created Gillware Data Solutions . Of course, if everyone backed up their data, it would be a lot harder to make a living offering data recovery services. But we keep talking about how important backing up your data is anyway. That’s how much it means to us.

You can backup your data, but if you neglect those backups, they won’t be there for you when you need them. It’s important to back up your data regularly. To this end, automated, cloud-based backup software is your best bet. Ideally, your backup software should run regularly, in the background, without any prompting from you. If you rely on manually backing up your data, you’re bound to start forgetting—and then where will you be when your hard drive has an accident?

Fortunately, when our client’s own backup solution proved less-than-adequate here, our Western Digital data recovery experts could swoop in to save the day.

Of course, no form of cloud-based backup isn’t a 100% perfect solution. But as long as you choose a backup service provider that stores your data safely and securely, makes sure your data gets backed up properly, and makes backups easy to set up, you’ll be sitting pretty in the event of just about anything short of a meteor crashing into the Earth and obliterating your backup service provider’s data center.

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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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