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Data Recovery Hardware

Data recovery hardware was developed because data recovery software is not able to fix many failures such as medias with bad sectors, firmware failures, PCB (Printed circuit board) failures, hard drive head failures, etc.

Data recovery hardware usage

Compared with data recovery software, data recovery hardware connects or controls directly to the patient storage medias and makes much more sense to offer better data recovery solutions to fix the failures based on the failure type.

Bad sectors

There are two types of bad sectors — often divided into "physical" and "logical" bad sectors or "hard" and "soft" bad sectors.[1]

When the drive has physical(hard) bad sectors, software cannot effectively offer soft reset, hard reset, power reset, error handling, read algorithm auto exchange, skip read sectors, etc., if users connect such kind of patient drives to PC, the PC would hang or not detected at all, sometime, Blue Screen of Death occurs too.

Firmware failures

When the drive has firmware failures, users need to read firmware modules or tracks, need to find out which ones are bad and then try to regenerate the modules, edit the modules or get the donor modules in other methods. This is what software cannot do. When the drive has weak heads, user need to use selective head image or edit head map in RAM to work with good heads first and then bad heads, software cannot transfer these special commands at all.

Dead PCB

This is the (often green) circuit board attached to the bottom of your drive. It houses the main Controller (computing) (the equivalent of your computer's CPU) along with many other electronic controllers. This is the interface that turns your 0’s and 1’s from the platter into usable data that your computer can understand.[2]

When the drive has dead PCB (Printed circuit board), users need to swap with donor PCB and then try to put one donor chip and write by chip reader with matching ROM (Read-only memory) content and get the dead drive spinning up normally and then access to the drive for further repairing.

When the drive has physical head damage, users need to open the drive in cleanroom environment and find donor heads or other donor components to swap so that make the drive alive again.

So it's important for users to learn to set up professional data recovery labs, data recovery hardware is the No.1 choice and is a must. Of course, data recovery software is used too. Because file extraction hardware, disk images, chip readers have both combined.

Data recovery hardware types

  • Disk image;
  • File extraction hardware;
  • Firmware repair hardware;
  • ROM chip reader;
  • Head and Platter Swap Tools (See Hard disk drive platter);
  • Spindle release hardware;
  • Other hardware
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