Hard drive recovery

Hard drive and SSD recovery for desktop, Laptop and external hard drives.

Hard drive recovery services.


For all types of hard disk drive, desktop, laptop, server and external.  From Windows, MAC, Linux, UNIX and all other computer operating systems.

If you have lost data from your hard disk drive, or if it has stopped working, or making clicking noises, we can help. We have been recovering data since 1999 and have the equipment to recover from any failure. From deleted files to platter swapping in our class 100 clean room. We can recover your lost data or you pay us nothing.

Recovering deleted files.

If you have deleted files from your hard drive or SSD and they are not in the recycle bin or trash, then we are usually able to recover, so long as no further data gets written to the drive. With SSD speed is of the essence as modern SSD drives use a feature called 'TRIM' that erases the space where the files were stored. This is also done very quickly, so power off your computer at the mains.

Missing files

If you open your folders to find all your data missing, we can help there too. We use our proprietary software and data recovery techniques, writing our own software enables us to modify parameters to suit the the work need to recover missing files or files that are even showing as 0 bytes. Such as PST files or Exchange server files where the system has powered off unexpectedly.

Formatted hard drive

Formatted your hard drive or SSD. Accidentally formatting the wrong drive can be catastrophic, however we have proprietary software to help recover your data.

Computer hanging or wont start

If your computer is giving a blue screen when starting up, or hanging when you open a folder then the chances are that the drive media is failing, in the case of conventional hard drives this can be caused by bad sectors indicating imminent media failure.  We have tools that enable us to work around the bad areas and recover as much data as is possible if your hard drive has bad sectors.

Firmware issues

Firmware issues and corruption can cause the drive to act in unusual ways. Your drive may appear to be running slow, and getting slower. It may show similar symptoms to hard drive with bad sectors, the computer may hang or may may not be recognised at all.

Recovering data from drives with firmware issues is a highly technical job requiring skilled engineers and Firmware research and analysis. We use commercial firmware tools and develop our own firmware analysis tools for newer drives for firmware analysis and repair.

Electronic failure.

Recovery from hard drive with failed PCB. Modern hard drives have an external printed circuit board (PCB) attached that acts as an interface between the hard disk drive and the computer and manages the input, output and other functions of the hard drive.

When the hard drive PCB has failed, typical symptoms you will see are that the drive will not spin, in some cases the computer will not even power on with the drive connected. Smoke sometimes emanates from the PCB and a strong electrical burning smell indicating the failure.

With modern drives, in most cases it is critical to get the original ROM content from the drive so it can be programmed to a good working PCB in order to continue diagnosis.We do this by removing the rom from the PCB, reading it then load into a known working PCB. In some cases where the ROM is part of the failure, we have methods of extracting the ROM content using modified ROM programmers or can often rebuild ROM manually.

Because there are other electronics inside the casing of the drive, it is necessary to open the drive in a clean-room to see if the failure has extended into the internal electronics. (See head failures below)

Hard drive with head faults.

Head faults have a number of causes, the two main are head pre-amp failure and physical head crash. There are also some other minor ones that crop up from time to time, where microscopic dust has built up between the head and the platter resulting in weak signals.

1. Pre-amp failure.
The Pre-amp is an extension of the electronics board and is connected using a ribbon cable attached between the head stack and the connector pad on the bottom of the PCB. When a pre-amp fails, the normal method of repair is to replace the whole head stack. Symptoms of failure are either ticking/clicking noises or the drive spins but there is no head movement, no normal calibration sounds.

2. Head crash
This is a more serious problem, the heads have come into contact either with the platters or head parking ramp and have become distorted. The symptoms consist of either; clicking sounds or high-pitched scraping type noises as the now damaged heads skate across the platter surfaces instead of flying just above them.

The quality of any recovery from this type of failure will depend on the extent of any platter damage. We can work around damaged surfaces by disabling or removing the heads on the damaged surfaces to reduce the risk of further damage.

Hard drive recovery from motor failures

All hard disk drives have a high-speed motor to rotate the platters to the speed required for the heads to be able to float on a cushion of air just above the platter. When the motor fails, you may hear some quiet creaking noises, or buzzing sounds instead of the usual spinning noises.When a motor has seized, there are two options that we use for recovery. Again this all needs to be worked in a clean-room.

1. Swap the platters into another hard drive casing.

On many modern hard drives with multiple platters, vertical alignment is critical as data is written 'through' the platters for example, the first 50k on surface 0, the second 50k on surface 1, etc. When the alignment is lost due to manual platter removal without alignment checking, it is almost impossible to reattain vertical alignment. We have commercial and our own platter realignment equipment to maintain the original alignment.

2. Replace the motor bearing.

We have hard drive motor bearing replacement equipment that is used to extract and replace bearings on seized hard drive motors. This option is the easiest of the two methods, but is only available for a few manufacturers of drives where the bearings are replaceable.


Hard drive types

We can recover from all hard drive types. With standard and non standard sector sizes, e.g. 520 Byte per sector for Dell EMC servers.

  • Desktop hard drives
  • Laptop hard drives
  • Server hard drives
  • External hard drives
  • Solid state drives (SSD)
  • EPOS Systems
  • CNC Machining Systems

All other equipment that uses hard drive or solid state storage.

Any connection type

.. and from any type of hard drive connection.

  • ATA, 40, 44
  • SATA, Mini Sata, Micro Sata
  • SCSI, 50, 68, 80 pin
  • Fiber Channel
  • M.2, U.2, NGFF, NVMe, PCI-e
  • PCMCIA devices

There are also other proprietary connections such Early MacBook that uses its own connection type and the modern Macbook with SSD built into the motherboard. We are able to recover from almost any connection type or bus. Call us if there is any doubt.

Specialist services

We offer basic, advanced and specialist services. If your drive has been elsewhere for recovery and they have failed, then we can offer a second opinion. We also recover hard drives that have been severely damaged in fires or floods, car accidents.

We use advanced diagnostic tools including Disk drive analysers, Oscilloscopes, Bus analysers to fault find electronic and hardware problems, and other advanced software and hardware to analyse firmware and logical issues.


Service levels

We offer a range of services and timescales to suit all budgets.


Basic service

Hard drive : basic problems.

  • Formatted drive
  • Deleted files
  • Electronic faults
  • Basic firmware issues
  • Minor bad media

Service levels


  • Economy 30 day service *
  • Non urgent 7-14 day
  • Standard 3-7 days
  • Priority 1-3 days
  • Emergency 24 hours

Advanced

Hard drive : advanced problems.

  • Head faults
  • Motor faults
  • Severe firmware issues
  • Severe bad media
  • Dropped drives

Service levels


  • Non urgent 7-14 day
  • Standard 3-7 days
  • Priority 1-3 days
  • Emergency 24 hours

Specialist

Hard drive : specialist service

  • Fire damage
  • Flood damage
  • Previously opened drive
  • Second opinions
  • Damaged hard drives

Service levels


  • Non urgent 7-14 day
  • Standard 3-7 days
  • Priority 1-3 days
  • Emergency 24 hours

* Economy service takes up to 30 days and starts at £78 inc VAT