Data Recovery From A Hard Drive With Bad Sectors: A Case Study


Data in all its varied forms (photos, spreadsheets, mp3s to name but a few) is increasingly becoming a crucial, yet often taken for granted, aspect of people’s lives. Indeed, we may not often be aware of the full extent of our dependence upon it until we lose it.

This can be exemplified by a recent client of a UK data recovery company. Paul, the driving force behind Refracture, is one of the UK’s rising stars in the field of breaks and bass driven music. Talented not only in the creation of music but also as a producer of remixes for the likes of Radiohead and Lady Gaga, Paul stores an ever increasing amount of digital music which is clearly critical to his career in the industry. It was with a sense of horror, then, that he powered on his computer recently only to discover that the 750GB Western Digital hard drive containing all his latest music projects could no longer be accessed Data Recovery Tampa Florida.

Following frantic calls to data recovery companies, Paul spoke to a company that correctly diagnosed the problem over the phone and arranged for the drive to be collected and couriered to the laboratory the following day. Using specialist equipment, the technicians were able to reconstruct the directory tree and return Paul’s data to it so that it would appear in the same format as it had before the problems with the drive had occurred. Finally the reconstituted data was moved to a new external hard drive before being returned to Paul via courier the following day.

So what had happened to Paul’s drive to cause the problems he experienced? And how had the data recovery company addressed these problems? Paul’s drive was correctly diagnosed as having degraded media, otherwise known as bad sectors. This is a relatively common problem with hard drives. Data is held magnetically as complex series of 0s and 1s which are organised into sectors that on a typical hard drive can number in the hundreds of millions. Occasionally these sectors become unreadable to the read-write heads of the hard drive and therefore the data contained in these sectors is no longer accessible. This may initially present to the user as the drive running more slowly with a longer access time for files, but eventually will lead to complete file inaccessibility.

Some users will often attempt to reconstruct the data themselves using software. However, those in the data recovery industry would not advise this course of action. This is because software can only work via the computer’s Operating System which will use a limiting high level language (e.g. Windows) to attempt (nearly always unsuccessfully) to read the inaccessible data. Using a specialist hardware approach, a credible data recovery company will be able to bypass the operating system and access the data by interacting with the disk through the use of the disk’s own low level ATA command set. This should result in a totally successful recovery of the data from the drive. It is important to reiterate that the retrieved data should then be moved onto new media; clients will often ask if they can reuse the original disk but it is not to be recommended. Once bad sectors have started to occur on the disk it is highly likely that further media degradation will occur on other areas of the platters.

And what was Paul’s verdict on the service he received? On his facebook page, he writes :”These guys saved my music and kept Refracture up and running! Last week my hard drive went down…I hadn’t backed up some of my best and newest material. Needless to say I was devastated. Gave these guys a call, very friendly and kept me updated throughout. if any of you guys have an hd problem I couldn’t higher recommend them”.

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