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Severe Media Damage: Give Crashed Hard Drives a Break

Over the last few months, DriveSavers engineers have a noticed a steady increase in the number of hard drives received at our facility that have severe media damage, making them unrecoverable. While it is difficult to pinpoint the cause of media damage, experience tells us recovery attempts on these drives may have been made using utility software, or perhaps the drive was left running and a minor head slap became major media damage.

In many cases, the customer’s data had been scraped from the hard drive’s platters, turning it into magnetic dust. While it’s a fact that DriveSavers has the highest data recovery success rate, even we have our limits!

As we are fond of saying, “The first data recovery attempt is the best.” Sometimes, it’s the only chance we get if the drive develops media damage during the data recovery process. To minimize the risk of making a bad situation worse, if your customer’s data is valuable or irreplaceable, do not run software utilities.

If for some reason you must attempt a data recovery, follow these important guidelines to avoid permanent data loss:

  • If a hard drive makes any repetitive clicking or grinding, do not attempt a data recovery. The drive may have media damage. Operating the drive in this state will make the situation worse.
  • If you connect the hard drive to a computer and it is not recognized in the setup, stop the process. The drive may have a damaged circuit board and should not be swapped with an identical model, as it could remove the bad sector table.
  • Avoid utility software that makes changes to the drive’s firmware or bad sector table. This can permanently corrupt the data.
  • Avoid home remedies such as placing a hard drive in a freezer. This will create condensation buildup inside the drive mechanism creating further problems.
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