Hard disk drives store all the data on the platter. So, when receiving a hard drive recovery case, the first thing we do is a platter inspection. HDD platter inspection is a complicated process that requires accuracy and attention to detail.

Our HDD Recovery Case

Recently, we received one of the hard drives with the common failure scenario. There was a head crash, which made all the files inaccessible. 

This was found out within an evaluation. It was also discovered that before submitting it to us, the customer had removed the HDD lid to check the internal parts.

HDD Platter Surface Inspection

When inspecting the surface platter, our technicians mentioned that there were visible debris and microscopic circular scratches. Circular scratching means that the customer tried to run the HDD at least once after the head crash, which made the situation worse.

This malfunction is damage to the magnetic platters of a hard disk in the form of ring scratches (cuts) resulting from the impact of magnetic heads on the surface of the platters. When the heads hit the surface of the platters, they fail, and the smallest metal dust appears in the HDA from the damaged magnetic layer covering the platters. 

Scratches on the surface of the plates are the most problematic damage when recovering data from the HDD.

It is due to the fact that a new block of heads installed in a sawed disk will most likely fail quickly due to the presence of scratches and the minor magnetic dust on the surfaces of the HDD platters.

Common Causes of Cuts:

  • Various Mechanical Effects on The Drive, Shocks, Falls, Vibration;
  • The Low-quality Power Supply of The Drive;
  • Defects in The Manufacture of The Drive at The Manufacturer’s Factory;
  • Physical Wear of The Heads Caused by Long 24/7 Operation;
  • Incorrect Disconnection of The Hard Drive from a Running Computer;

Burns on the surface of magnetic platters are the most severe damage that fatally affects the possibility of successful data recovery from hard drives. The very fact of the presence of scratches on the disk plates indicates that the information cannot be restored entirely because data in the area of ​​scratches is already irretrievably lost. In the best case, it is possible to recover user files from undamaged portions of the plates.

The number of files lost after the hard drive failure increased after the client tried to restore data. Only partial data recovery was possible from this hard drive, which we did.

Scratched Seagate Drive Data Recovery

Successful Data Recovery

The appearance of scratches on the surface of the plates, first of all, indicates the failure of the magnetic head unit because it is the heads, when they impact the scale, form an annular latch on it, and at the same time, they break down.  To recover data from a hard disk drive that has scratches on the surface of the plates, it is necessary to replace the magnetic head unit from the same disk model.

When it comes to circular discs, it can only be about data recovery. Even if we replace the heads and temporarily restore the functionality of the HDD, then when you try to use it in the future, the new heads will get into the recording area on the plates and will immediately break down again.

We were able to return the essential files to the client. However, most of the data was lost after the unsuccessful attempts. Hence, PITS Global Data Recovery Services recommends that users with a failure situation power down the device, not try to run it or connect to another computer. And, in particular, not to use recovery tools or try any repair tutorials on the sensitive device.