The Hard Disk Data Recovery Services provided by R3 Data Recovery are second to none. We understand how important your data is to you and leave no stone unturned in recovering your data.
Using the very latest technology and recovery techniques we rescue data from every conceivable problem!
Data loss can happen at any time and can happen in the most unexpected ways. We can recover your data from the most unlikely disasters.
At R3 Data Recovery we think we’ve seen every possible way of losing data. Flood damaged drives with severe platter damage due to the disaster, phones dropped in toilets during a good night out and pen drives that have been run over by cars. We’ve even been asked to recover data from a hard drive that was physically lost, we’re good but not that good!
Table of Contents
There are three common issues that cause hard drives to fail and subsequently need the data recovering.
Hard drive failures require immediate action. You need fast, secure results, and R3 offers the solutions you need to effectively maintain your data and system after any type of failure. Call us today at 0800 999 3282 to get started with your unique case.
There are millions of storage sectors on a hard drive. These sectors contain the data stored on the hard drive. Unfortunately these sectors do fail, and when they do the data stored in that sector can’t be read by a computer any more. The computer will try and communicate with the failed sector but will give up after time. An example of this is when a computer is operating at a slower speed. Also, a computer can fail to boot up, this again maybe down to a degraded drive and files needed to boot the computer may well be stored in a bad sector. The computer with try to re-allocate the contents of the bad sector but there are only so many sectors available for re-allocation and once you have ran out of available sectors this is where you will start seeing problems rise.
To recover the data, we attach the failed hard drive to a specialised computer where we take control of the read speeds and how the hard drive spins. This allows us more time to integrate the failed storage sectors and provides a back door method of reading the data. Once we have completed this process we have an identical image of the degraded drive, where we can recover the data from.
This is also a common problem with USB Pen Drives, Flash Media Drives such as CF Cards, SD Cards, Micro SD Cards and SSD’s. Although the recovery process is completely different to that of a hard drive, we can still recover the data successfully.
There’s nothing more frustrating than powering on a computer or connecting a hard drive to a computer and nothing happens. No noises, no flashing lights, no life at all! As far as it appears the hard drive is completely dead!
This all points to an issue with the electronics of the hard drive, although there are times when an electronic fault is fixed only to unearth additional problems. The electronics are controlled by the PCB connected to the hard drive. The PCB is the heart beat of a hard drive, if the PCB has failed then the hard drive won’t work.
There are many ways a PCB can fail. From electricity spikes, bugs in Firmware, failed components and overheating to name a few.
Data recovery of an electronically failed hard drive can be as simple as replacing the PCB with an exact donor match or as complicated as reprogramming the firmware of the hard drive. The firmware is the hard drives own software it uses to run correctly. If the firmware becomes corrupted or has a bug, our engineers reprogram this part of the PCB using backups of firmware or manually doing it themselves.
There are times when components fail on the PCB and our engineers will replace these individually utilising various electronic methods. It can be complicated, especially when soldering parts through a microscope!
But once the PCB kicks into life, the hard drive is imaged and we recover the data from that image.
This is most technically demanding problem for our engineers, not only in time but also with the amount of issues a mechanically failed hard drive can present. Which is why this is the most expensive data recovery operation.
We use the word operation, because at times it is. Our engineers use a clean room with surgical gloves and face masks. And at times they are working with failed hard drives that are so badly damaged they only have one chance to recover the data needed.
The most common cause of a mechanically failed hard drive is when it has been dropped or knocked over. There are times when some of our clients get so frustrated they will hit their computers and the shock of that hit can cause a hard drive to fail. We’ve all been there so please don’t judge.
It’s important to remember the engineering that goes into the production of a hard drive. It’s unbelievable really. Most hard drives rotate at between 5400 and 7200 Revolutions Per Minute. The Read Write Heads never physically touch the storage platters, but glide across the highly polished storage platters on a cushion of air. To put that into context, the cushion of air on a hard drive is 3 to 6 nanometers compared with a strand of hair at 80,000 nanometers or a finger print at 10,000 nanometers. A hard drive is delicate!
So what can go wrong mechanically with a hard drive? Here are the main ones..
If the read write heads fail or become weak they have to be replaced by an exact donor match. Once this has been completed the hard drive is rebuilt and an image is taken of the drive.
This is where the read write heads have become stuck to the storage platters. They are removed and then replaced by an exact donor match. Once this has been completed the hard drive is rebuilt and an image is taken of the drive.
This is where the storage platters have developed wobble and the read write heads can no longer glide across them. The storage platters are removed and placed into a donor hard drive. Once this has been completed the hard drive is rebuilt and an image is taken of the drive.
Here the motor that drives the RPM has failed. The storage platters are removed and placed into a donor hard drive. Once this has been completed the hard drive is rebuilt and an image is taken of the drive.
There are times when the read write heads are engaged and they make physical contact with the storage platters causing damage. This can cause scratches and rings to the storage platters and can lead the read write heads being ripped off. This can lead to an extremely complicated data recovery operation using multiple hard drive donors and complex procedures.
What is important is that our clients know their data recovery needs are in the hands of the best engineers in the UK. We recover data where others have failed!
R3 Data Recovery is real lab that deals with real disasters each an every day. If you have any sort of problem with a hard drive or any data storage device, we are the people to contact. Call us today on 0800 999 3282 for immediate help and assistance.
All drive manufacturers have a different amount of heads and platters present. 3.5” drives generally have more heads and platters than 2.5” drives since they are larger in size. However there are some 3.5” drives that are easier to perform head swaps on than some 2.5” drives and vise versa.
Most drives have different head geometries so some drives have to be dealt with more carefully than others. 2.5” drives are extremely delicate so you have to spend more time swapping the heads, especially if it is a really old and obscure drive that is more fragile than a normal 2.5” drive.
Sometimes there is a drive that has more than just an issue with the heads but also has an issue with the drive platters. It could be that the platters wobble slightly as a result of the drive being dropped or just generally handled incorrectly. In this situation we would need to find a matching donor drive with platters that have no wobble to them so that we can remove and swap the platters. We have equipment that is extremely effective and will clip the platters in place and not damage or move them in any way during the platter transfer process.
Also bearing in mind some drives will be more damaged inside than others, so those drives are actually more susceptible to damage if the drives are powered up before looking inside. Once the drive has been dropped, the heads can be bent and therefore can become unaligned with the platters, so then once the drives powers up you hear a screeching noise and a clicking noise due to the heads catching the platters and making scratches and also further damages the heads by making the heads bend even more, and even to the point where the heads are sheared off.
With the exception of logical data loss, data loss tends to occur due to a failure of a hard disk(s) within a storage array or a failure of a hard disk that is storing data on your local computer, server etc.
Hard disk failures (as described previously) tend to fall into several categories typically, Media Degradation, Firmware, Mechanical failure or electronic.
With the exception of Media Degradation and some firmware faults, hard disk failures will likely require replacement parts from other hard disks to aid in the recovery of lost data from a storage device.
Matching parts from disks is not a straight forward task; if a disk fails is isn't just a case of locating a the same capacity disk from the same manufacturer. Disks are made in different locations with different components with different manufacturing processes. Even though they may seem to be the same, they aren’t.
R3 has built of an in depth knowledge of how to match donor disks and built a large stock of donor disks held at our storage facility in Sheffield.
Normally a Hard drive, specifically an external hard drive, shows up on my computer and the computer assigns the drive a partition letter (e.g. D or E), at that point you can view and access your data. The problem occurs when you plug in your external drive and the warning "You need to format the disk before you can use it" appears. What this means is that the drive has accumulated too many bad sectors which makes the drive unable to read. Fortunately we deal with degraded HDDs on a regular basis, so this fault is not a big deal to us since we hardware which allows us to read and potentially correct the bad sectors on the drive.
If it's an internal drive however, you won't even be able to boot up the drive if there is a problem with it, instead there is a black screen which says "Disk boot failure" (only for old machines e.g. Windows XP). Normally this is an indication that the drive is failing and has some bad sectors on it, although there are ways to resolve this issue if it turns out not to be bad sectors. With Windows 10, normally you would get what people call “The black screen of death”, again there are ways that you can try and boot the disk.
Yes hard drives can be fixed. However, we would never recommend to use a 'fixed' hard drive. When a drive is sent into us we in ways 'fix' the hard drive, whether that is a head swap, firmware tweaks or PCB swap for example, but we would never tell the customer to use the original drive, we get the drive in a working condition so we are able to image the drive sector by sector and extract the data from the image drive.
Hard drives that are fixed are not in stable state, they should not be used at all. Here at R3 we have specialist equipment that allows us to control the drive more in depth than any normal computer/home user would be able to do. This means we are able to control any problems that may occur with a fixed hard drive. Giving us a better chance of recovering all the data that the customer wants.
The short answer to this question is you can't.
If the data on the hard disk is valuable to you or anybody else then the best thing you can do to get the data recovered is to not attempt to repair the hard drive in anyway. This could cause more damage to the drive and in some cases and render the drive unrecoverable.
If your drive has failed you need to contact a data recovery specialist like ourselves here at R3, we are the best chance you have at getting your data back.
With years of experience in the data recovery field our engineers have all the knowledge possible to recover from any storage device you have.
Doing any 'DIY' work on your storage device could mean that the data you have stored on it could be gone forever. Opening a hard disk is the worst possible thing any one can do, unless you have experience in the data recovery field and a clean room opening your drive could be catastrophic and could lead to your drive being unrecoverable depending on the contamination in the drive.
The simple answer to this question is resoundingly yes you can.
Here at R3 we have many different types of damaged hard drives arrive every day of the week.
The most prominent kind is physical damage, where the client has had an external hard drive and they have dropped it on the floor or in other cases dropped something heavy on the external hard drive itself. In these cases that we have encountered here at R3, the client can try to power on the hard drive straight away after the hard drive has been dropped. The importance of not trying to do this cannot be understated. If the drive attempts to spin up and begins to click and/or beep, power it down instantly and do not try to power up again.
An example of what could have happened when the external hard drive was dropped is the heads inside the drive could have been dislodged or jumped from their intended position, therefore when the drive is powered up the heads try to access the surface area of the drive and due to being dislodged can act similar to that of sand paper on a certain surface and inadvertently cause irreparable damage to the SA. So the longer a client has tried to power the drive up and it remains clicking, with each second the drives chances of recovery dwindle down until it can be extremely difficult to recover.
However even in the event this has happened and the drive has eventually been sent into R3, do not despair. The engineers at R3 have at their disposal years of experience and are keen to recover any job, even in the direst of circumstances. So, if you have an external hard drive that has been dropped and has signs of physical damage then why not get in contact with us, our sales team will be able to give you an over the phone assessment and quotation. R3 offers a no recovery no free service with a free assessment.
Give us a call on 0800 999 3282 or alternatively email us at [email protected]
Here at R3 we offer different service levels to our customers, as some customers may not be in a rush for their data back however there are some other customers that need their data back yesterday as the saying goes. However, depending on which service level and what failure type your drive has suffered from will also depend on the price that we charge.
Here at R3 Data Recovery we offer a no data no fee service with a free assessment, this means that we assess your drive free of charge, inform you of the fault and quote you accordingly. No data no fee means that if we cannot retrieve your data then there is no fee to pay. The only thing we charge for is if you want your storage device returning there is a £15+VAT return courier fee.
Prices vary for recovery depending on storage device and failure. If we are talking about hard disk drives, then prices generally start at £329+VAT, however it all depends on the initial assessment of the drive and whether the over the phone assessment done by the sales representative was correct.
There is no way to remove bad sectors from a hard drive, they are unpreventable. Bad sectors will build up over time of using the drive, in some cases you may buy a hard drive of the shelf with bad sectors on it.
If your drive had bad sectors that are affecting the performance of your drive, the best thing you can do is contact a data recovery specialist like ourselves here at R3.
We have specialist hardware and software that allows us to read and correct the bad sectors. However that does not mean they are fixed on that specific hard disk, it just means we are able to read them and clone them to a separate fully fuctional drive.
When we are contacting customers about their faulty drives before the customers send in their drives, we always stress that they must not under any circumstances power up the device as it could have major consequences.
For example, if a drive has been dropped and you power the drive up you may hear a clicking noise. It’s more than likely that the heads will be damaged, and not just that, if you keep the drive powered up and the heads are damaged or even bent because of the drive being dropped, then you may encounter scratches on the platters which could be the difference between a recovery and not.
It’s the same for a drive that is degrading, if you know the drive is in a degrading state then you need to stop applying power to the drive as if the drive keeps trying to read the bad sectors over and over again it will begin to damage the heads and eventually it will cause the heads to fail. If the heads fail and power is still being applied it could lead to what was previously mentioned in that damage to the platters could happen. This could be the difference to it being a recovery or not. The more you try and get the drive to work when you know it is not in a stable state the worse the drive gets and it becomes increasingly difficult to recover the data. However, the less time a drive is powered when it is an unstable state the higher chance you have of the data being recovered.
The simple answer to this question is yes. If it is taking hours to copy a small amount of data, whereas before it was taking minutes then there is a strong possibility that your drive is failing.
There could be two reasons why the drive could be failing and you need help from a professional data recovery company like R3 Data Recovery Ltd.
The first possible reason for slow transfer times could be a build-up of bad sectors/bad blocks which happens naturally on a hard disk, there is nothing you can do to prevent this. However, once the amount of bad sector builds up to a certain amount where there are no more sectors available for reallocation, the drive will start to become slow and eventually fail as the drive is trying to read the failed sectors over and over again with no success.
After so long this will lead to the read write heads beginning to fail as they will be put under intensive use and they will begin to degrade.
The second possible reason for slow transfer times is that the heads like mentioned previously are becoming degraded or they are weak, possible due to rigorous use trying to read bad sectors. Or it could possibly be due to the drive being dropped or knocked and the heads becoming damaged, which in certain cases can become extremely problematic if not treated correctly. If you ignore the slow transfer times and continue using the drive it could become much worse than it already is. And ultimately fail.
There may come a time when you have your PC on and you are using your external hard drive or your SD card and you accidently format your device. We have quite a few customers who send in their devices and tell us that the device has been formatted. When a device has been formatted, normally it’s a case of it being recoverable and we then assure the customer that we will be able to recover at least some of the data. The reason for this is that we can use recovery software to scan the device which will show up any files that the customer has lost after the format, although in some cases the folder structure may be damaged.
Problems arise when customers format their drives and then write data over it, this therefore decreases the chance of a recovery as it would be harder for us to go through and search for the files and search for them in one piece. In this situation we would only have to perform a RAW scan to have any chance of saving the data.
There are a few ways that you can potentially recover your data for free after the drive has been formatted. You can install the software application "EasUS data recovery wizard". All you need to do once you install the application is press the "scan" button. Once you have done that a quick scan of the drive will start first to try and locate all the lost data on the formatted hard drive. After the scan completes, a deep scan will automatically launch in order to find more files. After the deep scan has been completed, you can then preview and choose the files you want from the listed data that has been found. You then click "Recover" to retrieve them back to the formatted drive and/or a different drive so that the same thing doesn’t happen again. Normally however though you will be able to see what files you have recovered but you will have to pay a fee to pay for a premium version of the software to recover the files that the scan has found.
Transferring data from one hard drive to another is quite simple, all you have to do is select the folder or files you want from the hard drive the files/folders are located on, simply right click and copy and then right click and paste on to the new hard drive.
There are some free pieces of software that some companies do make that we use to simply copy data, one for example is 'Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier'. This offers a simple GUI which makes it easy and simple for you to copy data from one place to another.
It is so important that you contact us so we can help diagnose the best and cheapest way forward. If you try to recover the data yourself you may cause further damage depending on the issue, which is why it is important you contact us as early as possible.
We provide outstanding customer support and continually update you as to the current status of your recovery.
We are not a reseller; you will talk to the technician who is performing your recovery!
If your hard drive happens to fail, contact our team of experts at 0800 999 3282. Our skilled professionals will be able to reliably recover data on your hard drive and provide industry-leading turnaround times which give you the confidence that's necessary to develop a solid, effective recovery plan.
THE REAL DEAL R3 Data Recovery are Geniuses! I am almost speechless with what an incredible job you have done for me.
As a videographer my data is my life, You saved 1.2TB of footage and all of my projects from a 2TB portable hard drive that I dropped. As soon as it hit the floor I felt sick. I chose the emergency recovery which was worth every penny. A super competitive quote upfront that did not change through the recovery. I had a new drive back in 3 days with 100% recovery.
Each step of the process I was informed with what had happened and data was safe. I cant thank you enough. I was so nervous and anxious about getting my data back but you guys are REAL pros! thank you thank you thank you! Crisis over!!!
To anyone feeling sick reading these reviews to make themselves feel better (trust me ive been there) watch R3’s video and know your data is in the safest place it can be with this lot.
Thank you xMillion!
R3 Data Recovery is rated (4.6) by 294 customer reviews on Reviews.co.uk
If your hard drive happens to fail, contact our team of experts. Our skilled professionals will be able to reliably recover data on your hard drive and provide industry-leading turnaround times which give you the confidence that's necessary to develop a solid, effective recovery plan.
Call us today at 0800 999 3282 or fill out our FREE, no-obligation diagnostics form for immediate help!