Here at R3 Data Recovery, matching donors is a very important part of some recovery processes. As in some circumstances drives that come into our lab require multiple re-builds and donor parts. So having the experience and knowledge of finding these donor parts gives us a huge advantage.
Matching donors however isn’t always as straight forward as you may think.
Obviously to look at two same model drives and their parameters laid out on the lid sticker it appears simple to match them. And sometimes it is, however some drives aren’t always what they say on the lid.
Some drive for example may begin life as a 3TB, however when going through the testing stages at the factory, the drive is found to have too many bad sectors than normal and the drive therefore has to be changed to a smaller capacity so the drive doesn’t use the surface all the bad sectors are located on.
This means that a drive may look like a 2TB for example but it could have once been a 3TB or even a 4TB in its life time.
This becomes a problem when looking for donor parts as generally bigger the capacity of the drive the more read/write heads and more platter surfaces are used/needed. So, when coming to look for a part, it is possible that the drive we are sourcing a donor part for may not have the number of heads we would normally presume it has.
This means that we would have to look for a drive that had the same number of heads, and had been downgraded from factory like the original device. This can be tricky as there is no way of determining this from looking at the device specifications like we would normally, we would have to use specialist software to be able to check how many heads a drive has, but then it may not be the right head geometry.
However, with all the experience that our engineers and assistants have gained over the years, searching for parts in our huge parts stock is getting easier day by day, as we learn more and more about the drives that are coming in for recovery.
And with this knowledge the outcomes of each new job that we receive at R3 are becoming increasingly positive.