Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Questions about Broken Hard Drives

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

In this post we look at three example hard drive problems and give recommendations on identifying the problem and applying the solution to extract the data from the hard drive.

Is Hard Drive Repair Worth It ?
My external hard drive is clicking and not connecting to my macbook so I know it is broken, I do not want a data recovery if possible to avoid it as I’m just wanting the hard drive fixed. I am wondering if you’s fix external hard drives? Thank you.

It’s not really financially worth fixing a hard drive. As hard drives are so cheap to buy, it works out more expensive to fix them than it would be to buy a brand new one. So, if you don’t need to data recovering from your busted hard drive, just buy a new one instead. You’ll get a warranty with it too.

Hard Drive Not Being Found
I have a Seagate 1gb usb hard drive. The light is still lit up when connected to computer, I have brought a new lead just in case it was that, unfortunately it is not being found on any computer. What do I need to do to get the drive to work?

Buying a new lead was a good idea as sometimes that’s all the problem is. Now that you’ve done that and eliminated the lead it’s worth eliminating the external case. Remove the hard drive from the casing and hook it us directly to your computer using a USB to SATA cable. If that works then obviously the case is at fault. If the hard drive is still not being found then the conclusion is that there is a fault on the hard drive. There are some things you can do yourself to try and repaid your hard drive – go and take a look at the web resource for some good tips of getting the information of off broken hard drives.

Getting the Data off a Packard Bell
I would like quote for the cost of recovering data off a Packard Bell Store & Save hard disk drive Model No H2D2U2 6948820100, particularly the family photos.

You don’t actually say what the failure with your hard drive actually is. Can you provide any more information ? In the above question I mention the Recover Deleted Data web resource – I recommend that you take a look at this site as well, you may be able to find what the problem is with you hard drive and read the advice on getting the data off of it too.

3 Questions about Data

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Three questions in this post. All about data and it’s loss. The first question concerns a faulty Mac hard drive, the second an overwritten video tape, and finally a question about converting and reading data in an old format.

fixing a hard drive problemQuestion: I have a 1tb WD My Passport for Mac ext hd, last week out of nowhere it stopped showing up on my laptop (I always eject before unplugging). Went to Apple store and they said it might be a b tree failure?! It has lots of photos in it. Can they be recovered?

Answer: The b-tree is the system Mac’s use to store data on storage devices like hard drives. From experience, it’s very unlikely to be a problem with the b-tree, as the hard drive would still show up on your laptop. More likely is a hard drive problem of some kind. Is the hard drive making any different noises at all? You can find a good explanation of hard drive problems, including their symptoms in this hard drive diagnosis walkthru –

Question: I have a video tape containing data that was accidentally overwritten. The video was at the beginning of the tape and the duration was around 30 minutes. When I re-wind the tape to the beginning I can see the very start of the overwritten video for a fraction of a second before it cuts to what overwrote it.

Answer: Oh dear, when data is written to video tape it entirely overwrites what was written underneath it. There is no chance of recovering this data. I is gone. I found this useful link explaining how camcorders work here

Question: Do you have the ability to unload and export into either ASCII or EBCDIC, data provided in either AS400 SAV.OBJ or SAV.Lib format contained on a LTO5 tape? if so what is your pricing model and typical lead times and where does the conversion process reside as the data would need to stay within the EU.

Answer: EBCDIC code? Good grief, I haven’t heard that word for about 20 years, when it was an alternative to ASCII, I think ICL mainframes used to use it. LTO5 tapes are a little more recent and I know where to get those converted but I don’t know whether they support AS400 or EBCDIC formats.

More next time! Keep your questions coming!

So Many Hard Drive & Phone Problems

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Samsung Galaxy S6 Factory Reset

my phone (Samsung Galaxy S6 edge) has performed an unexpected factory reset an I have lost all my pictures and videos. Do you think you would be able to recover them? If so, how much would it cost and how long does it take for the files to be recovered? Would this be performed at your London Lab (EC3V 9LJ) or will you have to send the phone away? What happens if you are not able to recover the files – is there a charge for the attempt?

WD Passport Not Recognised

My Western Digital My Passport 1TB external hard drive is now not recognised by either PC or Mac. When the drive is connected, the drive power light lights up and the drive makes a sound ( starts with the normal spinning disk sound but continues like a stutter ) but does not show any icon on desktop as an external hard drive on either my pc or mac. On PC it shows as an icon on my devices but ca not be opened to view any files. On Mac a message pops up with “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.”
No sensitive personal data is on the drive but the drive is nearly full with original photo RAW files i am in need of recovering. Thank you.

External Hard Drive Motor Busted

Basically my external hard drive motor is potentially bust or something is trapped as I dropped my hard drive :( and well, I have tried an icy box and other external adapters as the hard drive is now out of its original case and another technician had tried to recover files but has been unsuccessful; he advised me about the motor and suggested some sort of forensic recovery. Please help, It has my life and university work on there.
I am in work until 5:30 so I am unsure if I can take a phone call.

iPhone Switching Off

The phone turned itself off and then back on again before showing 0 photos when i know i had over 15,00 very special and precious photos. Now the iphone wont update even using itunes and i cant extract the data and pictures even using paid software such as dr fone. As the data is so special i would pay anything to get them back and even pay if you can recommend someone who can do such a task.

Laptop Not Recognising Hard Drive

My laptop got stood on and after that it doesn’t recognise the hard drive. I tried reseating it myself. Didn’t work. It was taken to a shop and they weren’t able to retrieve my files. They suggested it get sent to a clean room in America, which I’m not willing to do. I would like a second opinion.


Lacie Hard Drive Beeping

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

I have a Lacie single drive and it wont power on. When connected to the computer it makes a few beeping noises and then stops and doesn’t work. The light still turns on.

lacie hard drive requiring data recovery serviceThe beeping noises are unfortunately errors signals coming from the hard drive that tell us that your HDD has a serious problem. For one reason or another, the motor that rotates the hard drive is unable to spin the platters. This can be for two reasons. Either the motor is broken and no longer works, or there is something that is preventing the platter’s rotation – a common problem that causes this is known as stiction and is where the heads of the hard drive become ‘welded’ to the platter surface. Freeing the stiction is a job fraught with danger as it is very easy to damage both the heads and the platter surface of the hard drive. My recommendation would be to use a data recovery company, see the link towards the bottom of this page.

Hard Disk Not Working
I have two hard disks, both 2tb which have both stopped working. I would like to recover the files from them.
How much would this cost?
How long would it take? I will be in Manchester from tomorrow until Sunday. If it is longer then a mate may take delivery of it for me.I have a WD My Passport that has stopped working. It was clicking so was sent to another data recovery company, who opened it up but said they couldn’t do anything with it. (I don’t believe they did anything other than open it and look to be honest, but I cant prove that), but since it’s return, it hasn’t been clicking, but still doesn’t get discovered on my PC.
I would like to recover the data on it and have another 500GB drive I can provide you to put it on.

As you are in Manchester my suggestion would be to take your disk along to a local hard drive recovery company. Data Clinic are one such company that have a lab in Bury, Greater Manchester. It’s not good that another data recovery company has opened up your hard drive, it would be good for know what they’d actually done (if anything). Some companies that have a good reputation do take good care when working with hard drives. Other places are little more than glorified amateurs with no idea what they are doing.

How Much Does Data Recovery Cost ?

Monday, April 18th, 2016

No matter what type of data recovery service you require, there’s always going to be an associated cost for doing it. Prices in the UK vary from location to location. As an example the price of data recovery in London is significantly higher in London than it would be in Glasgow or Manchester. This is due to the usual factors of supply and demand. In London the demand for hard drive data recovery is usually between £50 and £150 more expensive becuase there is so much demand, and suppliers can usually pick and choose which jobs they want to take on.

How much does it cost?So, whilst London is the most expensive UK location for data recovery, Sheffield and Liverpool, cities that are both in the North West of England are the cheapest. In order to save money some people send their hard drives up to Sheffield and Liverpool from London to save a few quid.

Here are some standard enquiries about hard drive recovery services, recieved from all over the country. I’ve added links to sites that provide further information where I could. Costs for data recovery vary according to the type of problem. Prices usually start at around £300 and have a top end of around £1000.

“I have a G-Force, G-Drive Mobile USB external hard drive that has about 1T worth of memory. I have a lot of important things on it but the USB port got bent inside of it so I cannot plug it into my laptop anymore. Is there anyway to repair this or to at least recover the data?”

“I have a hard disk which failed, 1000gb desktop SATA, I believe it was the motor, as it just made a small whirr and click and repeated the click over and over. On bad advice I opened the case. I immediately knew not to touch anything and closed it again, but it was not in a protected room so it’s quite possible that some very fine house dust would have landed on the platter at this stage (I recall seeing a single speck on the platter before closing). I did not attempt to boot the disk again after closing the case. Can you tell me how likely it is the data can be recovered, and how much would you charge for this?” Drives that make whirr and click noises have faults with their read / write assemblies – take a look at the information on Data Recovery Tips if you are looking to try and recover the data yourself.

“My Imation 1TB external hard drive stopped working all of a sudden. It does not appear on mu computer list but appears on device manager list. Light is on and can hear the spinning sound in side. I have very importanat data inside which i don’t want to lose”

“Hard drive with all my family photos will not load. When plugged into laptop it lights up and spins but theres also a clicking sound. Hard drive size is 250gb i believe.” This enquiry is very much like the whirr and click enquiry above. Again in this instance the fault is probably located in the head stack assembly”

As you can see, there are lots of different scenarios that require a data recovery service, and the cost of this service varies depending on the type of fault and what location you send the hard drive to.

Checkpoint Encrypted Disk Won’t Boot

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Endpoint Full Disk Encryption is a software product produced by Checkpoint and allows computer systems running either Windows or Max OS X to encrypt the contents of their hard drives. This has the effect of making the information on those drives useless should the drive be stolen or otherwise. To decrypt a hard drive encrypted with Checkpoint FDE it is necessary to enter the password when the system first boots. Decryption of the files is handled ‘on the fly’ so it is important that the FDE system runs on a machine powerful enough to handle this. If a FDE enable system won’t boot, this presents a significant problem in retrieving the data from the hard drive.

Hard Disk Encryption iconWhilst the software may be well written and relatively bug free, the hard disks it runs on are often of the mechanical HDD variety – which is based on 40 year old technology that relies on moving parts. Additionally other nasties like bad sectors develop on hard drives and any problem on a drive will hinder the operation of FDE. Interestingly there’s a new post about recovering the data from a hard drive encrypted with Endpoint (see that had developed these problems and no longer worked. The only option was to send the hard drive to Data Clinic and hope they could recover the information.

The Checkpoint FDE software can run on multiple disk systems too, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) hard drives and the larger RAID 5 servers. Of course these systems are far more complex than their single drive counterparts and the problems faced by repair companies are significantly enhanced should problems begin to develop on the hard drives from a NAS or RAID server. As yet I am unaware of any company that has been asked with recovering the data from one of these systems that has been encrypted with the Checkpoint software, although this is bound to happen at some point.

Regular NAS and RAID systems that don’t use encryption are still more complex than single disk to repair and recover. Data Clinic (link above) should be able to handle data retrieval from these systems but there are other companies that offer the same type of service too such as for RAID recovery and for all popular hard disk types.

In all cases, make sure you do your own research and review what other people say about the company before you make your choice on who to use. Checkpoint’s FDE is a complex product and any hard drive that uses encryption is a much trickier proposition to recover the data from than a hard drive that doesn’t, so make sure you use a well known data recovery company rather than one that is not well regarded.


The Achilles Heel of CCTV Equipment

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

There’s a huge growth in CCTV equipment in the UK, and a recent study by the BBC claimed that in 2015 there were between some 4 – 5.9 million cameras in the UK. As this article is now over a year old there’s a very high chance that this number has increased.

Whilst there is much public debate that surrounds the ethical and moral use of CCTV cameras and their capture of actions by people unaware they are being filmed, it is of interest to note that there is practically zero debate about how vulnerable to data stored by CCTV actually is. To understand this issue we need to look at the basic hardware components of any CCTV system, or to be more accurate, just one of them: the hard disk drive.

Inside a hard diskVery much like the computer you have at home, the data captured by a CCTV recorder is stored onto a computer hard drive, and it’s here where the Achilles Heel can be found. The hard drive is a fragile device. One knock or blow can cost a user their data. Hard drives should be sold with a “Handle With Care” label. The reason why hard drives are so brittle is because they are based on an old technology that is based around moving parts. Central to a hard drive is a rotating magnetic disk or “platter”. This is coated in a magnetic film which is able to store billions of electronic signals that represent either a ’0′ or a ’1′. Images are written to the hard drive as a series of zeros and ones by another moving part: an arm that moves back and forth across the surface of the hard write, writing and reading the data.

It’s these moving parts that are extremely fragile, but there are many other faults a hard disk can suffer from that will also result in the images recorded being lost. Once the hard disk is damaged it requires experts in recovering CCTV images to repair the hard drive and get the images back. Although these companies are highly skilled, it’s not guaranteed that they will be able to rescue the images from a damaged or broken CCTV system. It very much depends on the fault.

So if hard drives have this Achilles’ Heel are so fragile and so prone to breakage, why use them in CCTV recorders? Hard drives do actually have a lot of positives in their favour. They are cheap, they store a lot of data, they don’t use much power and are therefore cheap to run. But most of all in these days of mass surveillance, they are the only option.

Evil USB Stick To Destroy Computers

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

So some bright spark has created a USB stick that does nothing except fry your computer when you plug it in.

What’s the point? Unfortunately, some people are just idiots aren’t they.

It looks exactly like a USB stick and the maker has been leaving them in places where there are found. People then pick them up and being inquisitive plug them into their machines to see what’s on the stick. As soon as the device is plugged in though, it shots 220V through the computer, often killing it. This is because USB ports of made to work on 5V and are designed as such, so putting 220V through the port destroys the computer’s motherboard, and if you’re unlucky, other parts of it too such as the hard drive.

Read the full article as posted on The Register here:

Data Recovery in London and North West England

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

“Hi I live in the North West of England and I have a seagate hard drive it’s not even a year old as was a Xmas present the Xmas just gone. Anyway I have some pics and videos in a file I really need! The hard drive All of a sudden has gone completely dead apparently and I don’t no what to do to get my stuff back. I am wondering if you could help me please. Although I live in the north west, I work in London and can drop the drive off with you perhaps?”

London from a hot air balloonYes we should be able to help you. The reasons why hard drives break and develop problems are many. It’s not worth trying to figure out what this matter with the drive is either because many of the different faults have the same symptoms, so it’s fairly easy to misdiagnose what the problem is. This is a problem that can prove fatal if you then apply the wrong type of fix as the result is you can lose all your files.

Saying that, if there’s nothing seriously wrong with your hard drive we may well be able to get your data back using our own skills but due to how complex hard drives are we don’t actually repair them ourselves, instead we send them to our data recovery partners in either Blackburn, Burnley, Bury or Manchester. For those of you in and around the capital, the same company have a data recovery operation in London also, which is based on Lombard Street, very close to the Bank tube station.

In the meantime here’s a good data recovery blog that you may find helpful as it contains much useful advice and links about repairing and restoring the files from busted hard disks.

Questions About External Hard Disks

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

I’ve recently received a number of questions regarding hard disk issues. I’ve listed some of them below.

An opened hard diskI have a Samsung external hard disk 500gb with a range of files
The disk has a power light on but I dont hear any noise or vibration from the unit
I’ve tried different cables and mac/PC (i normally use it on a Mac). I’ve tried various computers but no joy
It would be good to get this back this week if possible

The Seagate 9SD2N1-500 portable hard drive has stopped being recognised. the power LED lighjt comes on but it beeps repeatidly and isnt recognised by my computer.

My external Hitachi 2TB Touro Desk DX3 dropped off my desk and now cannot be recognized by any PC’s. Sounds like the heads may have collapsed but cannot confirm as i am unable to open the casing.
I am inquiring on the cost for a diagnoses of the hard drive as there are home videos that i would like to recover IF the hard mechanics are too badly damaged.

Can’t access LaCie hard drive. Makes ‘clicking’ noise and won’t turn off one powered up. Contains some work stuff but it is the photos that I am concerned about. Am based in Rochdale, and can drop the disk drive off anytime from Thursday morning.

Some time ago I attempted to re-format my Seagate SRD0SP0 so that windows could be installed on a notebook. The laptop battery was not fitted and I accidentally removed the power cable during the process! The laptop won’t recognise the Seagate anymore and I’m concerned I’ve lost all the drive data. If possible I’d like the data recovered and the Seagate format returned to normal (NTFS?)!

I have a Samsung M3 1TB portable drive that has stopped working.

When plugged into to a computer it will beep for a few seconds and thats it. Explorer doesnt seem to pick up the drive but it seems to be listed in device manager.
There is 600 GB of data i wish to try and recover can you advise please.

Tackling Hard Disk Trouble

I divide problems into two distinct types: those where the BIOS still detects the disk and those where it does not. If the hard disk is still detected then the computer can still interact with it. This means the problem can usually be handled without the need to engage an expert company. All that is usually needed is some hard disk diagnostic software. If you’re going to tackle hard disk recovery yourself then sites like invaluable as they provide excellent diagnostics and troubleshooting information you can use to get your data back.

When the computer can’t connect to the disk it means there’s a serious problem with the hard disk, one that often requires professional help. Simply Google something like “data recovery services” from your browser. If you do choose to use a data recovery company make sure you check it out first and ensure the company has a good pedigree and is able to recover your data.