How To Data Recovery From A Drive? Our Cleanroom Experience

How can you Data Recovery from a damaged hard drive? What are the good reflexes to adopt in the event of a breakdown? Our complete file.

Photos, videos, courses for individuals, accounting, customer files, website for professionals… Our hard drives contain data that matters in our lives or those of our businesses. And as the capacity of these media continues to grow, they now contain an impressive amount of memories and other important files.

However, these precision mechanics are particularly vulnerable: a shock, an excessive temperature difference or even water damage can seriously damage hard drives. What to do when this happens to you? We asked the question to data recovery specialists, who gave us their advice to optimize your chances of saving your data.

Reminders on the operating principle of a hard disk :

To fully understand data recovery from a damaged hard drive, you need to have some basic knowledge of how this computer component works. A hard disk (as opposed to the “soft” disk that constituted floppy disks) is what is called a magnetic medium, unlike USB keys and other SSDs, which are electronic media. Hard disks are in fact composed of concentric platters rotating at high speed (between 5,400 and 15,000 revolutions per minute). 

Data Recovery

Made of aluminium, glass or ceramic, these platters (the number of which varies according to the capacity of the hard disk) are covered with a ferromagnetic substrate used for recording data. These data are written on the disk in the form of the famous bits, which correspond to the orientation of the cells of the substrate (the famous “0” and “1”). To write and read this information, a magnetoresistive (for writing) and inductive (for reading) head “flies” above the surface of the hard disk platters. 

To dance like this just a few tenths of a micrometer above the substrate, this ultra-precise component needs a cushion of air. Contrary to what is generally accepted, a Wikipedia hard disk is therefore not completely waterproof . This air inlet is also a cause of failure: the filters clog and the air flow is modified, as is the flight of the read heads above the platters.

Finally, let’s talk about the electronic card, whose role is to ensure the proper functioning of the hard drive as well as communication with the motherboard and the operating system. This card is made up of a microprocessor, a cache memory and a ROM. But also and above all works from a firmware, that is to say a code which will allow the hard disk to function correctly. It is this which, for example, contains the settings for adjusting the reading heads. An error in this piece of code, and the whole hard disk can suffer.