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Obnova a záchrana dat z pevných disků a externích disků Toshiba

Záchrana disku po pádu, hardwarové i softwarové vady. Máme dlouholeté zkušenosti se záchranou a obnovou dat ze všech typů datových médií. Záchrana dat z pevných disků a externích disků Toshiba.

 
 

Data Recovery from Hard Drives (HDD) of All Brands and Types

Data recovery from internal and external hard drives. Old and new models, software and hardware issues. The long-term experience of our specialists will solve your problem with data loss.

 
 

Table of Contents

Data recovery from internal and external hard drives still makes up the largest volume of orders in our field. We invest a lot of resources in technologies and training our experts annually and our lab is at the technological forefront in the field of HDD data recovery worldwide. Our long-term success rate is around 90%.

We offer HDD diagnostics FOR FREE and without obligation. We have most of the spare parts necessary for data recovery from hard drives in stock, which allows us to start working on the order within a matter of hours and offer express solutions for all current and older hard drive models, regardless of the operating system or platform used.

What You Should Do in Case of Hard Drive Failure - First Important Steps:

  • Stay calm
  • Turn off the damaged device (computer, NAS ...) or disconnect the external hard drive
  • Do not connect a mechanically damaged hard drive (for example, after a fall or impact) and avoid unprofessional attempts to recover data
  • Take advantage of our free consultation, diagnostics, and data media collection

Pricing Guide, Symptoms, Causes, Procedures According to the Type of Hard Drive Damage

  I cannot access my data, but I have no idea why

In such uncertain failure, when the problem could be in the hard drive, or in the computer itself (device), it is best to take advantage of our free consultation and diagnostics. Do not hesitate to contact us. A few-minute phone call can save you many hours of troubleshooting.

Estimated price: from 1,500 CZK
More information - how the HDD works, possible causes of failure
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Hard drive failure without obvious reason, data is unavailable

The hard drive or external hard drive seems to behave normally, turns on (the engine starts, the data platters spin), but the data is not available. The problem can have many causes. We will try to determine the cause and solution more precisely:

Upon connection, the disk seemingly behaves normally, turns on, does not click, does not make strange noises - try restarting the computer or disconnecting and reconnecting the external hard drive. If the data is still unavailable, you need to check if the computer correctly detects the hard drive. 

Does the computer see the correct disk capacity and its designation?

If yes, then it is probably a failure or incompatibility of the file system. There could also have been a minor to moderate failure of the surface of the data platters and/or read heads of the disk. User error cannot be ruled out - incorrect handling of the disk, data or file system… A computer virus is also a possibility. The described problems usually belong to minor to moderately serious issues. More information can be found here.

If no, the disk does not display the correct capacity (shows lower or zero), the disk may also incorrectly display the model, then it could be a failure of the disk electronics, an error in the service area of the disk or more seriously failing surface of the data platters and/or read heads. Here we might be dealing with a rather serious issue.

Estimated price: 1,500 - 15,000 CZK
More information - how HDD works, causes of failure
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Deleted data, data recovery after formatting, recovery from a formatted disk

Some data was accidentally or intentionally deleted, or the entire disk was formatted. Everything else works normally. The methods to recover deleted files can vary depending on the type of HDD. However, it is essential that the hard drive is no longer used. Turn off the device and contact us.

Estimated price: 1,500 - 5,500 CZK
More information - recovery of deleted files
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The hard drive does not turn on

Symptoms:

  • the hard drive does nothing at all
  • the hard drive tries to turn on, the motor attempts to spin the data platters, producing light clicking sounds
  • the external hard drive tries to turn on, making light clicking sounds, the disk indicator light may flash
  • the computer (operating system) does not recognize the disk or recognizes incorrect data, the wrong capacity, and label

When the computer is turned on, the hard drive does not spin, it does not work, or it makes light (almost inaudible) clicking sounds. The external hard drive does not turn on, the computer detects it incorrectly or as an unknown device. This could be due to a disk electronics failure, "stuck read heads" or a seized motor. A seized motor is rather a rare defect, usually the cause is electronics or "stuck read heads". DIY HDD repair can be more expensive. Take advantage of our free diagnostics.

Estimated price: 4,000 - 15,000 CZK
More information - recovery of deleted files
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Fall, impact, mechanical damage

Do not turn on the hard drive after a fall or impact! This could turn a manageable data recovery into a complicated case, or worse…

Symptoms:

  • the disk clicks, rattles, makes unusual sounds when turned on
  • the disk only makes light clicking sounds when turned on
  • the data is completely inaccessible
  • the disk may show incorrect or even correct capacity in the system, but it is mechanically non-functional

This is a common problem with external hard drives, but other hard drives are not immune to it either. Inside the hard drive, there are 1-5 data platters that spin at high speed. Also, there are 1-2 reading (writing) heads in the disk for each data platter, i.e., up to 10 in total (in regular, current hard drives). If the disk suffers an impact while turned on and stops communicating with the computer, then turn off the device immediately. If the disk suffers an impact (typically a fall) while turned off, the reading heads can loosen and get onto the surface of the data platters. They can often deform as well. This situation does not have to be fatal for the data, as long as you do not turn on the disk. If you turn on a damaged disk like this, there is a real chance of significant to fatal damage. Data recovery can then be very complicated, often even impossible. In a better case, the reading heads will remain "stuck in the data platters", and the disk motor does not have enough power to spin. This usually happens with portable 2.5" disks that have a weaker motor. If the motor can spin the data platters, your data can literally turn into dust - see photo. Take advantage of our free consultation and diagnostics.

Estimated price: 8,000 - 15,000 CZK
More information - HDD recovery after a fall or impact
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The disk clicks, rattles, makes unusual sounds

Do not turn on the hard drive after a fall or impact! This could turn a manageable data recovery into a complicated case, or worse…

Symptoms:

  • the disk clicks, rattles, makes unusual sounds when turned on
  • the data is completely inaccessible
  • the disk may display incorrect or even correct capacity in the system, but the data is completely inaccessible

This is often a result of a fall or impact. However, the failure can sometimes occur spontaneously, where the culprit is a material failure or an electronic error. The failure usually occurs at the level of the data platters of the disk and/or reading heads. In about 10% of cases, it is an error in the disk's electronics.

Estimated price: 4,000 - 15,000 CZK
More information - HDD data recovery - unusual sounds
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The hard disk works, but the data is very slow or only partially accessible

Symptoms:

  • data is accessible very slowly
  • data is only partially accessible
  • data is sometimes accessible, the disk sometimes clicks or shuts down spontaneously

The problem could be in the service area of the disk (disk service data on the data platters), it could be a beginning failure of the data platters and/or reading heads, the error could also be on the part of the disk electronics. This problem is often encountered with Western Digital hard drives, Seagate SSHD or Toshiba, but it can also affect other brands. You can try connecting the hard drive to another computer, but if the condition has not improved, do not experiment with the disk unnecessarily, it can lead to more serious damage. We offer free consultation, diagnostics, and pickup, do not hesitate to contact us.

Estimated price: 2,500 - 15,000 CZK
More information - recovery of inaccessible data
Free consultation, diagnostics, pickup

Short circuit, surge, storm damage

Upon starting up, the hard drive doesn't make a sound, sometimes the computer doesn't turn on at all, data is completely inaccessible. This defect can be caused by a power supply error, user error, surge in the network, but high humidity could also be to blame. Sometimes this problem can be visibly seen on the disk electronics, sometimes even felt. However, it may not only be the external disk electronics (PCB) that is damaged, but also other parts of it, read heads or data platters. Take advantage of our free diagnostics. 

Estimated price: 4,000 - 15,000 CZK
More information - data recovery from inaccessible data
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Fire, flood, deluge

A fire and subsequent extinguishing, flood or deluge do not necessarily mean absolute devastation for the hard disk and the data stored on it, but it is necessary not to turn on the disk after such an event. People sometimes mistakenly believe that the body of a hard disk is airtight and has a vacuum inside. In the vast majority of common hard drives, there is air, and you can even find a note on the disk saying "Do not cover breathing hole". Under this hole, there is a filter that allows the pressure inside the disk to be equalized. However, water can penetrate inside through this hole. High temperature can cause deformations. Water and fire can destroy the disk electronics, and in worse cases, the data platters, read heads, and other components. If your disk suffered from such a disaster, take advantage of our free diagnostics.

Estimated price: 3,000 - 15,000 CZK
More information - recovery of damaged disk after fire, flood, deluge
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Data is encrypted and I don't know the password, other software problem

Data is a valuable asset and the best protection against its misuse is encryption. The user often may not even know that the data in his computer is encrypted. The problem can then arise in the event of an unexpected computer failure, data storage, external disk... Not only user-activated software, like Bitlocker, Filevault, Truecrypt, Veracrypt... have to deal with data encryption. Many computers are equipped with a cryptographic processor, which monitors system consistency against unauthorized access. Some hard drives have a SED - Self Encrypted Drive feature.

We will try to help you with other types of software or hardware failures. If your data is inaccessible, contact us for a consultation and diagnostics.

Estimated price: from 1,500 CZK
More information - encrypted data and I don't know the password, other software problems
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I can't access my data, and I have no idea why. A few sentences about the principle of HDD operation

A hard disk drive (HDD) is an electromechanical data storage device. Data is stored in a thin layer of magnetic material on the surface of the data platters. Read/write heads manage the data flow, swinging over the fast-rotating data platters and, in conjunction with the disk's electronics and firmware, ensure smooth data storage and reading according to the instructions of the operating system or the user. Some hard drives (HDDs) are supplemented with fast NAND memory found in SSDs. It typically has a capacity of 8 GB or 16 GB, and its purpose is to speed up work with the most frequently used data. These hybrid drives are called SSHD (Solid-State Hybrid Drive). This briefly describes the basic function of HDD and SSHD.

If you can't access your data and aren't sure why, continue in the section on hard drive failure without obvious reason here or contact us and take advantage of our free consultation and diagnosis.

From the perspective of data recovery from an HDD, it is most important that the data on the data platters is still available (after data deletion or HDD formatting) and that the data platters and service data are in a condition capable of data recovery. Data recovery from the disk can further complicate the method of writing, reading and deleting data on some newer disks, internal and user data encryption, often related technological solutions of the disk electronics (PCB), and last but not least, the disk construction.

Data platters are usually 1-2 in a hard disk, but some high-capacity disks may have up to 5 data platters. If you look on the internet, you will certainly find disks with a higher number of data platters. However, these are not found in standard computers; they are more likely museum pieces or specific solutions. Data platters are covered with a thin magnetic layer, and data (bits) are written in the form of a positive or negative charge as 1 and 0. Mechanical damage to data platters can cause serious to irreversible data loss.

Read/write heads take care of storing, reading, and deleting individual sectors, i.e., user and service data. Damage to the read heads can occur spontaneously - material failure over time or mechanical damage in case of a fall or impact. The read heads themselves are replaceable. The problem arises when deformed read heads start damaging the data platters. Damaged read heads, more or less damaged data platters, and all this in combination with the below-mentioned methods of data recording and management can cause considerable problems that are always better to entrust to experts.

CMR, PMR, SMR are abbreviations expressing the type of data recording that the hard disk is equipped with. CMR - Conventional Magnetic Recording and the abbreviation with the same meaning PMR - Perpendicular Magnetic Recording mean that the disk is equipped with conventional recording. This type of recording has been used in hard drives for decades and, in layman's terms, means that one track has the same width for writing and reading. SMR - Shingled Magnetic Recording is an overlapping recording that introduces novelties to the way of writing and deleting data, which can be uncomfortable for users and especially can complicate or even make it impossible to recover data after some incident. Whether it's about deleted data or some more complicated hard drive defect, SMR disks are not popular among data recovery specialists. These disks have been commonly used in cheap external HDDs (especially Western Digital) since about 2018, but we also find them elsewhere. An SMR disk is more suitable for data backup, i.e., use where data does not often change. You can read more about how SMR can complicate recovery, even if "just deleted data", here.

SED - Self Encrypted Drive - are hard disks that have data encrypted by internal processes by default. If the user decides to secure their data with their own password, they only lock the hard drive's existing key with the password, and it is not necessary to fully encrypt the hard drive. This technology has been used for quite some time, and SSDs and mobile phones work similarly, but there are other reasons for its use than just data security.

Problems from the perspective of data recovery from a disk came with a newer layer of this technology when the manufacturer placed the key to the data in the processor on the disk electronics (PCB) and locked communication between the ROM (memory chip with service data on the PCB) and the processor. This technology is referred to as SED Locked and until the end of 2022, it complicated the procedures for data recovery from Western Digital external drives, which are in large quantities on the market, making them probably the most common patients when rescuing data from HDDs.

How a disk with shingled writing (SMR) and SED locked electronics can complicate disk recovery, you can read here.

Disk electronics (PCB) in 99% of cases contain adaptive (unique) service data belonging to one specific disk. Some disks are also equipped with the above-described SED locked function and simple replacement by another PCB is completely excluded. More information about the possibilities of data recovery from HDDs with damaged PCB can be found here.

Hard Disk Failure without Apparent Reason. File/Data Recovery Options

The disk appears to function normally, it doesn't produce unusual noises, the computer recognizes it, but the data is inaccessible - sometimes this is a trivial problem caused by file system incompatibility. For example, the disk was used on Windows with the NTFS file system, and when connected to an Apple device, the data cannot be accessed. To recover files from the disk, a computer with a compatible operating system, or suitable software ensuring compatibility, is required.

File System Failure - this can be caused purely by a software failure, but also by the beginning of data platter errors on the disk. The disk may report correctly in the operating system, but data access is not possible. The data partition is not visible, it is marked as "RAW", the operating system wants to format the hard disk, etc. This error may not be serious, but it is necessary to avoid incorrect steps. Contact us for a consultation or diagnostic request.

Many hard disk problems, however, are more complicated. These include disk electronics (PCB) failure, service data errors, read head damage, or data platter damage. Sometimes, from the user's perspective, it may not be easy to determine the extent of the problem. The issues described below related to disk electronics, data platters, and read heads can affect hard disks with both correct and incorrect identification in the operating system or computer BIOS.

The disk behaves seemingly normal at first glance, but the computer cannot properly identify it - for example, the correct disk capacity and/or disk model are not visible. In these cases, it is already advisable to consider the next steps. These problems could indicate more serious damage and it is advisable to seek professional help.

Service area (service data) errors on the disk - data essential for the correct functioning of the hard disk stored outside the area with user data. The causes of service data failure can vary. Part of this data is stored in the ROM on the disk electronics (PCB), part on the data platters of the disk. Depending on the extent and cause of the damage, we choose further steps.

Disk Electronics Failure - is one of the possible causes, which can outwardly have various symptoms, varying depending on the brand, technological design, method of connection to the computer, and other factors. If the hard disk behaves seemingly normally, sometimes the right way to access data is to modify the electronics (PCB) and communicate with the disk using another interface, which allows further modification of the service data and better control over the entire process. Data recovery from a hard disk usually belongs to medium difficulty tasks.

Data Platter and/or Read Head Failure - is a common cause of failure in hard disks. The service area (Service Area - SA) contains a number of service modules, some of which are essential for the operation of the hard disk. The service area is stored on the data platters outside the area with user data. The quality and availability of service data can be affected by data platter errors or read head errors. If the hard disk error is at this level, it is absolutely necessary for the HDD check to be performed by a professional company. Retrieving data from a damaged disk with these symptoms is usually possible, however, unprofessional interference can limit possibilities.

  • Example 1 - Western Digital external hard drive: When connected to the computer, the disk appears to function normally, the disk indicator light blinks, and the disk does not make any special sounds. However, the data is inaccessible. In most cases, the error is due to the failure of one or more read heads and/or damage to data platters. In approximately 10% of cases, the cause is the disk electronics (PCB). Depending on the technology of the disk, it is necessary to choose the correct procedure, which is not within the capabilities of a regular IT service without the appropriate equipment and knowledge.
  • Example 2 - Seagate hard drive: Sometimes it reports correctly in the system (both the label and capacity), but it is not possible to access the data. This may be due to an error in the service area (SA), which puts the disk into busy mode, i.e., a state where the disk is overwhelmed with internal processes and is unable to communicate with the computer. In most cases, the problem is solvable with complicated interventions into service data and is usually combined with certain errors of data platters or read heads. The correct procedure for the specific model needs to be chosen and in this case, neither the user nor the IT service without the appropriate equipment and knowledge can handle the problem.

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Data Recovery Price List - HDD failure without apparent cause

Data Can Be Recoverable After Deletion or Quick Formatting

When we instruct the operating system to remove certain files or directories, what happens on a hard disk drive (HDD) is that the operating system marks the space on the disk as free for further use, but the data is actually still physically present on the disk. The same process occurs after a quick disk format. So, if you are using an older hard disk or a modern hard disk with conventional data recording (CMR / PMR), and your computer runs on Windows, macOS or Linux, there is a chance to recover such lost data.

However, a different situation may arise with modern drives with shingled magnetic recording (SMR). These drives are often found in external 2.5” drives (and other applications where we previously wouldn't find them) and the average user may not have much idea where their data is being stored. In simple terms, a standard hard disk with SMR has its data space divided into groups, each containing several tracks that overlap each other. Each track can be read from, but only the top track can be written to. If the data in a track that is overlapped by another is changed, the disk first has to change the contents of all the overlapping tracks. These operations would take a very long time if the disk had to perform them in real-time, so it leaves them for a time when it has nothing else to do. This is called Disk Managed SMR and this feature may prevent the recovery of deleted data, because the disk will rearrange (overwrite) the deleted data in its spare time in such a way as to be able to quickly respond to further operating system instructions. It rearranges the data in the tracks in an ideal way and the free space (deleted data) can therefore be irretrievably lost. 

The possibilities of recovering deleted data can also be affected by the file system, the use of data encryption, and so on. It's possible to try to recover deleted files provided you don't give the disk space to perform the described operations - you disconnect it and don't continue working with it. When you bring such a disk to us, we intervene in its service data in a way that prevents it from performing the above-described operations. This operation cannot be performed in a home environment or a regular IT service without the appropriate equipment and knowledge, and any unprofessional attempt to recover deleted photos, documents, and other important data only decreases the chances of success. 

Similar data handling methods are used by SSDs, mobile phones, and some modern SD cards. In the case of flash media, this function is called TRIM. 

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Data Recovery Price List - Recovery of Deleted Files

The hard drive won't turn on, the computer/operating system doesn't recognize it, or it displays incorrect data

The issue may be caused by the hard drive's electronics, a failure of the read/write heads, or a seized disk motor. 

The hard drive's electronics (PCB) facilitate communication between the hard drive and the computer. Older models have relatively simple PCB structures, but they often come with an adaptive ROM that corresponds to one specific disk. This means that simply replacing the PCB won't solve the problem. More modern drives have significantly more complex PCBs. Features like locked internal data encryption (SED locked), where not just the ROM but also the controlling processor of the PCB are unique, can complicate or even prevent the use of recovery procedures that would work on older models.

These modern drives often pose a challenge even to experienced hard drive data recovery specialists.

A non-original PCB, or ROM, could represent an almost unsolvable problem - as mentioned above in the section on adaptive ROM. Sometimes, a user will attempt data recovery themselves and swap the PCB. In other instances, the hard drive might have been in an IT service center that doesn't specialize in data recovery, and they have tried procedures that seemed logical to them. A non-original PCB might mean an almost unsolvable problem. If you decide to attempt data recovery from such a damaged disk, it's a good idea to inform us about any previous procedures performed on the PCB.

The hard drive's read/write heads may get stuck on the drive's magnetic platters. This usually happens after a fall or a hit, but in some 2.5” hard drives, this is a common problem that doesn't necessarily precede a fall. You can find videos online showing how to solve this issue yourself. However, if the read/write heads or the magnetic sliders of the read/write heads are already deformed, or if impurities get into the disk during the procedure, this can lead to further damage inside the HDD…. Therefore, a simple DIY solution could result in severe damage or total destruction of the hard drive. In many cases, “stuck read/write heads” are a better state for the hard drive and, most importantly, the data stored on it than mechanically damaged read/write heads that move freely (damaging the data platter surface). Mechanical damages to the hard drive should always be approached with great caution and only performed with specialized equipment and, most importantly, years of experience. 

A seized disk motor is a relatively rare fault, but when it does occur, it's usually one of the most complicated interventions. The process involves transferring data platters, read/write heads, and other disk components to another (donor) disk. The data platters must not be misaligned during this operation, and of course, mechanical damage must be avoided. Data recovery from such a damaged disk must be entrusted to specialists in data recovery from storage media. 

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Data Recovery Price List - Completely non-functional hard drive

Fall, Impact, Mechanical Damage to the Hard Drive. What's happening inside? The right procedure can save your data

Do not turn on the hard drive after a fall or impact! You can turn a manageable data recovery situation into a complicated case, or even worse…

Hard drives (HDDs) are electromechanical data storage devices. Inside the disk, there are 1-5 data platters, spinning at high speeds - usually 5400 or 7200 rotations per minute (for common computer hard drives). The data read/write process is managed by magnetic heads that move above the rotating data platters. HDD failures occur at several levels, and especially in cases of possible mechanical damage, caution is necessary.

Modern hard drives have integrated a certain degree of impact protection and try to "park" the read heads in a safe place outside the user data area (off the data platters) during an impact while the disk is powered on. However, during a sudden drop or a stronger impact, this may not be successful, and the consequences can be serious. The read heads sometimes get completely deformed, get into unusual positions, or "get stuck" on the data platters...

Each data platter has a thin layer of magnetic material on its surface, where the read/write heads deposit the ones and zeroes (positive or negative charge) that make up user data. Each read head then has a magnetic slider, which levitates closely above the rapidly rotating data platters.

3x photo detail magnetic head in normal state

During a fall or impact, the rotating magnetic platters and magnetic sliders come into contact. The severity of the damage depends on the force of impact, the angle from which the impact came, and the user's luck or misfortune. Already at this incident, the data platters can be seriously damaged. Almost always, the user tends to turn on the disk and access their data. One attempt is enough. Are the data inaccessible? Is there clicking or grinding noise in the disk? Don't keep trying your luck and contact us for a free diagnosis. Further attempts lead to more extensive degradation and sometimes total destruction of the data platters - grinding the thin magnetic layer into dust. Perhaps in a few hundred or thousand years, nanobots would be able to reconstruct this "puzzle" back into user data, but at present the necessary technology is lacking. Do not turn on the disk after mechanical damage and take advantage of our free diagnostics. During the diagnosis, we open the disk and perform a visual check of the state of the data platters and read heads. Based on the results, we determine the correct next steps.

If you turned on the disk after mechanical damage and the data is accessible, immediately back up all the data and then check the disk with appropriate software. Cases occur when the user manages to access the data, but the disk fails subsequently. Sometimes even after a longer time. Repairing an external disk, which the user sometimes considers in such a case, is nonsensical. Always keep important data in at least two places. The quality of the data storage is not so important. Two cheap data storage devices statistically provide more data security than one expensive one.

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Data Recovery Price List - Hard drive after a fall or impact

The Hard Drive is Clicking, Buzzing, Making Unusual Noises

Do not turn on the hard drive after a fall or impact! You could turn a manageable data recovery situation into a complicated case, or even worse…

If your hard drive behaves this way after a drop or impact, continue reading here: Fall, Impact, Mechanical Damage to the Hard Drive. What's happening inside? The right procedure can save your data.

In some cases (about 10% of the time), the same symptoms are caused by a failure of the disk's electronics (PCB). In such a case, data recovery is usually less technologically demanding. However, you cannot access the data by simply replacing the electronics (PCB). Almost all hard drives have adaptive (unique) service data stored in two places - 1. in the ROM chip on the PCB, 2. in the service area (SA) on the data platters. Some modern disks also have locked electronics (SED locked), which means that they have not only unique data in ROM, but also a unique controller processor, where these two components are interconnected - mutually locked.

Photo 3x PCB old, younger tech locked

Clicking (or other strange noises) are caused by the disk's attempts to initialize. The disk is turned on, the hard drive heads receive an instruction to attempt to read the service data from the service area (SA), but for some reason, the disk is unable to do so. The read heads are then retracted back beyond the data area and the disk attempts to initialize again. The initialization attempt usually occurs several times (sometimes many times) and then the disk turns off. However, if this initialization attempt takes place and the disk has deformed read heads at that moment, serious damage to the data platters can occur.

From the above description, it's clear that clicking (or other non-standard sounds) in an HDD do not bode well and it is not advisable to repeatedly turn on the disk. Especially if these symptoms are the result of a fall or impact, do not turn on the disk at all and take advantage of our free diagnosis.

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Data Recovery Price List - The Hard Drive is Clicking

The Hard Drive Works, But Data Is Very Slowly Or Partially Accessible - The Right Procedure Can Save Valuable Data

The problem may lie in the service area of the disk, where service data is stored, which the disk needs for proper functioning. This data is stored on the data platters but outside the area with user data. This could be an early failure of the data platters and/or read heads, which is usually related to defects in the service area. The error could also be on the side of the disk's electronics (PCB).

Common patients with these symptoms are Western Digital hard drives, especially external hard drives. The disk surface of the data platters and/or read heads begins to fail. The disk begins to communicate incorrectly with the computer, and its electronics, which ensures communication with the computer, further interfere. This is usually a USB interface, which from the point of view of data recovery, has more limited communication capabilities than a SATA interface. Diagnostics and potential data recovery from an (external) disk usually involves disabling the USB interface, modifying the electronics (PCB) to a SATA interface, modifying service data (stored in the ROM on the PCB, as well as stored in the service area on the data platters) and then attempting to extract data - creating a binary copy of the disk. It often happens that one or more read heads have already failed (external hard drives usually have 2-10 read heads). If the disk allows it, the contents available by functional read heads are first copied, then the read heads are replaced, and an attempt is made to copy the rest of the data.

Photo PCB USB to SATA, read heads 

Modern hard drives often have an SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) type of recording and tend to have encrypted internal communication, or locked service data (SED locked). Both of these features can greatly affect the possibilities of data recovery, and disks may be more prone to damage due to unprofessional attempts to save data. For example, a disk that fails its so-called 2nd level translator (T2) may appear completely empty, even though all the data is still on it.

SSHD drives from brands like Seagate and Toshiba, which were particularly popular in laptops, can also cause problems with similar symptoms. SSHD drives are hybrid drives that have a small part (usually 8GB) made up of SSD storage, and the main data part is a classic HDD. The SSD storage is used for working with most frequently used data and under certain circumstances, only this data may be accessible.

All brands of hard drives can reach a state where they start seemingly normally, but due to the starting failure of the data platters and /or read heads, they can only provide limited access to the data. If you encounter a similar problem, we recommend taking advantage of our free diagnostics to avoid more extensive problems.

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Price List - Data Recovery - Inaccessible Data

Short Circuit, Power Surge, Damage During a Storm

These issues often occur due to improper manipulation of the hard drive's electronics (PCB), using the wrong power adapter, reversing the power polarity, and so on. Moisture can also cause a short circuit and oxidation of the hard drive's electronics (PCB). It might also be a failure of the power supply in the computer or an external hard drive enclosure. Additionally, a storm or a power surge in the socket can damage the hard drive. All of the mentioned events can cause damage to the electronics, and associated with this flaw, the read heads and data platters can also fail. To recover data from a HDD after such a failure, make use of our free diagnostics.

Short circuit, power surge, use of the wrong power adapter, reversed power polarity - can particularly damage the hard drive's electronics (PCB), but the problem can be more extensive. Each hard drive not only has external electronics but also internal electronics. Depending on the circumstances under which the hard drive was damaged, the read heads and data platters might also be affected.

Moisture and subsequent oxidation can also cause HDD malfunction or short circuit. Here's a practical example: an external hard drive was placed near plants that were regularly watered. The water slowly seeped into the depths of the plastic casing of the hard drive and the drive functioned in such an environment for a long time. However, one day it failed.

If only the hard drive's electronics (PCB) are affected/damaged, in most cases, the issue is solvable. However, the PCB of every modern drive contains unique service data necessary for its correct initialization and operation, simply for accessing user data. This service data is stored in the ROM (Read Only Memory). Some hard drives/PCBs also have a unique processor, which is connected to the ROM, and the communication between them is locked (SED locked). This technology complicates the data recovery processes from a HDD and without the necessary equipment, software, and knowledge, it is impossible to solve the problem. Simply replacing with another - seemingly identical PCB leads nowhere, so a self-repair of the HDD in this way is not possible.

Damage to the read heads and data platters is possible, for example, if the hard drive is not correctly shut down when the PCB is damaged, and the read heads remain in an inappropriate position. Amateur attempts to resuscitate the drive can lead to more extensive damage, and recovering data from the damaged drive can be more complicated and expensive in the end.

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Price List - HDD Damage Due to Short Circuit, Power Surge

Fire, Flood, or High Water can Cause Significant Hard Drive Damage. Improper User Actions can Result in Data Loss

Data may be recoverable after a fire, firefighting, flood, or high water, provided that the data platters of the hard drive remained intact and the necessary service data can be read from the drive's electronics (PCB). Never try to check the state of the disk after such an event on your own. Inappropriate intervention could result in irreversible damage to the data platters, and chances of data recovery could be ruined.

Fire and high temperatures initially damage the external electronics of the disk (PCB), which in itself can withstand quite a lot. In many cases, it is necessary to preserve only the chip with service data from the PCB, while the other parts are replaceable. For newer types of disks, the PCB's control processor may also be required. More info here.

The hard drive's body is mostly metallic and contains several seals. In most cases of data recovery from HDD after a fire that we have encountered, the PCB was damaged, and the disk body was partially affected. The data platters remained intact, and data recovery from the HDD after a fire was possible. In a worse case, high temperatures can be so intense that it deforms the data platters themselves, thereby destroying the data stored on them. To determine the exact state of the hard drive and data platters, it is necessary to follow the correct procedure. Use our free diagnostics!

3x photos of heat-damaged disks and their internal state

Flood, high water, firefighting after a fire, or even a flooded apartment due to a burst hose from a neighbor can damage a computer, NAS, external drive... People often believe that there is a vacuum inside the hard drive, and therefore water cannot get inside. That is not the case. The vast majority of hard drives contain air inside, and the drives are equipped with a filter that serves to balance the pressure inside the disk. Somewhere on the hard drive, you will find a small hole with the inscription "Do not cover breathing hole," and it is through this hole that water can get inside the disk. However, this usually does not happen if the hard drive comes into contact with water only briefly. Cases where the room with a computer/data storage/external drive is flooded for a longer time are worse, especially if the water is heavily contaminated.

Anyway, water entering the hard disk's innards does not necessarily pose a significant obstacle for data recovery if the user does not procrastinate and entrusts the disk to us for diagnosis without delay. Time plays a crucial role!

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Price List - HDD damage due to fire, flood, high water

Data is Encrypted and I Don't Know the Password, Other Software Problems

Until around 2012, a common user with a standard computer probably did not encounter full hard drive encryption, or complete data partition encryption. Bitlocker, Filevault, Truecrypt, and others provided data encryption options earlier, but these weren't full hard drive encryption, and data encryption wasn't widespread among common users of computer technology. With the gradual integration of Bitlocker, Filevault, Luks/dm-crypt into operating systems, enabling the user to easily turn on or off full disk encryption, this form of data protection became available even to regular users who didn't want to delve too deeply into this issue. Problems can arise when the password is lost or in the event of serious hard disk damage, which has its entire data partition encrypted.

TPM (PC, Windows, Linux) and T2 (Apple) - cryptographic processors bring another level of data security to computers. Together with Bitlocker, Filevault, or Luks, a cryptographic processor can form a very strong protection (encryption) of user data, while also checking the consistency of the entire system against potential breaches.

SED - Self Encrypted Drive - this function is not always used in hard drives, its status can even vary depending on the target destination (country) for which the hard drive was intended. One specific example: we dealt with a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) defect in a Western Digital external drive belonging to the Spyglass family. The drive from a client in the Czech Republic had SED active, while the drive from abroad had SED turned off. These were two almost identical drives.

Data on a drive with active SED is encrypted from its first use, and the key is stored directly on the data platters of the drive in a readable format. This does not mean that the user can read it themselves, but for a hard drive data recovery expert, the key and its decryption are solvable problems. The main purpose of this function is the user's ability to lock the data with their own password anytime and without taking much time. The user's password locks the disk key. The same function is used in all SSDs and mobile phones.

User data is a valuable asset, and it is important to protect it well. This means not only carefully and safely storing the password for encrypted data but also backing up the data on another storage medium. In case of hard drive failure, active encryption can become a significant obstacle.

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Price List - Other Software Problems

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

How to recover data from an (external) hard drive (HDD)? 

To the common question, "How to recover data from an (external) hard drive?", a better answer can be given after conducting a diagnosis or at least a consultation. HDD diagnostics and consultations are free with us. Leave more complicated defects to professionals. 

Especially if there is suspicion of mechanical damage to the disk after a fall or impact or if the disk is making unusual sounds, then avoid unprofessional attempts at data recovery. Such disk symptoms indicate that the disk cannot initialize properly, and its read heads and/or data platters may be damaged. You can find more information on the topic "How to proceed if the hard drive is clicking, making noise…" here.

In some cases, the hard drive seems to be working fine, but the data is inaccessible. Continue here.

You can try to resolve simpler software defects on your own. However, even with today's media, recovering deleted data may not be easy or possible, as many remember from earlier times when every computer had a hard drive with conventional data recording. You can read about how to recover data from an (external) hard drive after deletion/formatting here.

In other cases, continue here.

If the disk has completely failed (uninitialized disk), is making unusual sounds, has been affected by water or fire…then avoid unprofessional attempts at data recovery from the disk and contact us for a consultation or free diagnosis, where we will check the HDD and inform you of the possibilities for data recovery.

What to do if a hard drive falls or is hit?

A fall or hard impact can cause deformation of the read heads and damage to the data platters. In an ideal situation, do not turn on the hard drive at all and take advantage of our diagnostic service. The diagnostic service is free. More information about data recovery options from a hard drive after a fall or impact can be found here.

The hard drive is clicking, making noise... How to recover data?

Clicking, grinding, and other unusual sounds coming from within the hard drive may indicate a serious problem - an error with the read heads or data platters. In about 10% of cases, the fault could be with the hard drive's electronics (PCB). Do not turn on the disk anymore! The hard drive diagnostic service is free with us, don't hesitate to use it. More information about data recovery options can be found here.

Is it possible to recover deleted data? Can data be recovered from a disk until it's overwritten?

It is usually possible to recover deleted data. It's important to disconnect the hard drive or turn off the computer (device) immediately after the deletion and to carefully consider the next steps. The recovery of deleted data from an (external) disk is limited by several factors: internal recording technology (CMR/PMR/SMR), potential subsequent data writing after deletion, the disk file system, potential data encryption... Use our free diagnostic, consultation, and pickup services. More information on the topic 'How to recover deleted files from an (external) disk' can be found here.

How to recover deleted photos?

Recovering deleted photos is usually possible, just like data recovery of other types. It is important to disconnect the hard drive or turn off the computer (device) immediately after the photos have been deleted and to carefully consider the next steps. Photo recovery is limited by several factors: the internal recording technology used by the hard drive (CMR/PMR/SMR), potential subsequent data writing after the photos have been deleted, the disk file system, potential data encryption... Use our free diagnostic, consultation, and pickup services. More information on the topic 'How to recover deleted photos' can be found here.

Why did the hard drive fail?

A hard drive is an electromechanical data medium that can fail at multiple levels. Failure can be purely software-related (accidental disk formatting, data deletion, file system damage, computer virus attack), at the level of the disk's service data, but also the hardware of the disk can fail, i.e., electronics (PCB), read heads, or the surface of the data platters. Recovering data from an HDD can be relatively simple to very complicated. It is important to choose the right approach and avoid hasty steps. Use our free diagnostic service. More information about possible causes of HDD failure can be found here.

How to prevent hard drive failure?

A hard drive is an electromechanical data medium and it is particularly harmed by impacts, especially if it is in the on state. So avoid unnecessary handling of an on hard drive and also store and transport a switched-off hard drive so that it does not suffer a hard impact or fall. However, it is consumer electronics and even the best hard drive can fail. The best prevention against hard drive failure is regular backup. While it sounds logical, backing up data means having data stored in two or more places. Simply moving data to another disk is not their backup! How to proceed in case of hard drive failure can be found here, or request a free diagnosis or consultation - contact us.

What factors influence the cost of HDD data recovery?

The price for data recovery from hard drives is influenced by the predicted technological difficulty and time requirement to solve the issue. It primarily depends on whether it is a software-solvable problem or if it requires modifications to the disk's electronics, invasive interventions into the disk, and adjustments or replacements of certain parts of the disk. For mechanical damage, it usually involves replacing read heads and associated parts of the disk. The disk's capacity or the volume of target data specified by the client does not significantly affect the final price for standard disks. Diagnosis is free and non-binding with us, don't hesitate to contact us.

Data recovery process from a disk step by step - how does it work? 

After receiving the disk, we carry out a free diagnosis. The client receives a report describing the fault, possibilities for data recovery, and the cost and time requirements. We usually present 3-4 processing speed options in the diagnosis, where speed influences the price. If you need the data quickly, you can pay extra for priority or express service. On the other hand, if you are not in a hurry for the data, you can choose a cheaper option. After the order is completed, the client receives a report with an overview of the recovered data. Then follows billing and the handover of the recovered data. 

How long will it take to get my data back?

If you're in a rush for the data, we will start working on the order within a matter of hours. If, on the other hand, there's no urgency for the data, and you prefer a lower price at the expense of time, the execution period will be extended. You will receive all the information as part of the free and non-binding diagnosis, based on which you will decide on the ideal variant. 

The actual speed of execution for data recovery from hard drives is typically in the order of a few days and is mainly influenced by the type of fault, the technological solution of the disk, and the disk's capacity. We have replacement parts for 99% of hard drives in stock.

Does the capacity or size of the hard drive affect the final price of data recovery?

In most cases, not significantly. Common capacities of hard drives are 500 GB - 4 TB. The price for these drives is influenced by the type of fault and the technology of the disk. 

Capacities much higher are not uncommon, but in the vast majority of cases, the capacity of the hard drive is up to 6TB. We encounter larger capacities mainly with RAID disk arrays. 

Modern hard drives require more complex procedures for data recovery - why?

Older hard drives (manufacture date up to around 2017) are structurally simpler, it's easier to work with their hardware, their software (service data) is also not too complicated. Modern hard drives are structurally more complex, often use shingled magnetic recording (SMR), service data is more complicated and often access to it is locked (SED locked). 

When is it possible to try HDD data recovery by myself?

If the hard drive failed without apparent cause, behaves seemingly normally - doesn't emit non-standard noises, then try to connect it to another computer, try a different data cable, for external drives a different USB cable, or possibly power supply. In other cases, only if the data is disposable, you can try software for data recovery. However, even deleted data cannot be recovered by yourself from disks with shingled recording (SMR), and simply turning on such a disk reduces the chances of their recovery. Take advantage of our free diagnosis.

How do CMR and SMR disks differ?

CMR, or Conventional Magnetic Recording, involves writing data in a way that the track for writing is the same width as the track for reading. On the other hand, SMR or Shingled Magnetic Recording has a wider write track than the read track, allowing for overlapping of tracks during the writing process. The difference between CMR and SMR becomes apparent under high disk load, where an SMR disk can significantly slow down due to internal data organization processes. Data recovery from a disk with shingled recording is usually more complicated, not just in cases of mechanical damage. Even simple data deletion from an SMR disk can be problematic. SMR conducts its own internal data management, and deleted data, although possibly still stored on the disk at that moment, may appear unrecoverable to the user. If your hard drive data is inaccessible, take advantage of our free diagnosis.

HDD Repair - how to repair an HDD? Why is repair most of the times not possible, and only data recovery is the solution?

Data recovery and HDD repair are not always synonymous. In case of mechanical damage or failure of the disk's electronics, we are talking about data recovery only. In the event of software failure, it may be possible to both recover data and repair the HDD. Contact us - we offer free diagnosis and collection.

Mechanical damage to the hard drive can require invasive interventions that breach the factory-specified dust-tightness of the disk. In less severe cases of damage to the data platter surface, invasive intervention can be avoided, but even after successful data recovery, such a disk is unsuitable for further regular use. If you need to recover data from a mechanically damaged hard drive, find more information in the section Drop, impact, mechanical damage.

Damaged disk electronics (PCB) - fixing a disk's electronics often requires interventions in the service data of the disk, and for modern PCBs, extensive modifications of the electronics themselves. In most cases, repairing the disk (HDD) for safe further regular use is impossible or would be uneconomical.

HDD repair using software - damaged file system, file system incompatibility. This is not HDD repair in the true sense of the word. If the problem is not related to defects in the data platter surface, then 'HDD repair' in this way is possible. More on fixing software defects can be found in the section Hard drive failure without apparent cause. Options for file / data recovery.

External disk repair - is it possible?

Data recovery and external disk repair are not always synonymous. In case of mechanical damage or failure of the disk's electronics, we are talking about data recovery only. In the event of software failure, it may be possible to both recover data and repair the external disk. Contact us - we offer free diagnosis and collection.

Mechanical damage to the external disk can require invasive interventions that breach the factory-specified dust-tightness of the disk. In less severe cases of damage to the data platter surface, invasive intervention can be avoided, but even after successful data recovery from an external disk, it is unsuitable for further regular use. If you need to recover data from a mechanically damaged external disk, find more information in the section Drop, impact, mechanical damage.

Damaged disk electronics (PCB) - fixing a disk's electronics often requires interventions in the service data of the disk, and for modern PCBs, extensive modifications of the electronics themselves. In most cases, repairing an external disk (HDD) for safe further regular use is impossible or would be uneconomical.

Repair of an external disk using software - damaged file system, file system incompatibility. This is not a disk repair in the true sense of the word. If the problem is not related to defects in the data platter surface, then 'external disk repair' in this way is possible. More on fixing software defects can be found in the section Hard drive failure without apparent cause. Options for file / data recovery.

Can HDD repair be performed using software?

Software can be used to address software defects of the hard drive, or specifically, the file system. In some cases, this can recover deleted data, retrieve data after reformatting the disk, or ensure file system compatibility. A mechanically damaged hard drive requires professionally performed data recovery. Contact us - we offer free diagnosis and collection.

Dealing with sensitive data? We can sign a confidentiality agreement

Confidentiality and treating data as confidential is a given for us. However, if the nature of the order requires it, or simply if you want to have confidentiality guaranteed by contract, do not hesitate to request a confidentiality agreement.

Is your data insured? We will provide a certificate for the insurance company

Have your data insured? Before confirming the order, we will issue a 'fault confirmation', based on which you can have the data recovery costs approved by your insurance company, and only then confirm the order.

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Contact

EXALAB Data Recovery
Microshop s.r.o.
Pod Marjánkou 4
169 00 Praha 6
Česká Republika

Opening hours: 
Monday to Thursday
9.00 - 18.00
Friday 9.00 - 17.30
other opening hours are possible upon agreement

Hotline: +420 608 177 773
Office: +420 233 357 122
E-mail: info@exalab.cz

Contact

Hotline: +420 608 177 773
Kancelář: +420 233 357 122
E-mail: info@exalab.cz

Opening hours: 
Monday to Thursday
9.00 - 18.00
Friday 9.00 - 17.30
other opening hours are possible upon agreement

EXALAB Data Recovery
Microshop s.r.o.
Pod Marjánkou 4
169 00 Praha 6
Česká Republika