Hard drives are very delicate and are easy to damage, which is a good reason why you should have multiple sources of backup so that you never lose your personal data. Drives can be damaged but are generally repairable, for example when a job gets sent to us at R3, nine times out of ten we can get the drive into some form of working state, even if it’s for a few minutes or hours before the heads eventually die.
For a drive to be unrecoverable, it has to have sustained a certain amount of damage for it to be completely unrepairable.
Here are a few reasons as to why a drive can be deemed as unrecoverable:
- If a drive has too many scratches on the platters - It’s not always an issue if a drive has scratches on the platters providing there’s not too many, because if there are too many then it may affect the system head, this is especially common drives manufactured by Seagate. Ultimately if the system head can’t be read then there’s no way of accessing the data.
- If there is dust or a certain amount of contamination on the platters - If there is dust on the platters, or water, or anything that will contaminate the platters, then almost 100% of the time there is no way of recovering the data, since the heads are delicate and would be destroyed when powered up. Platters need to be clear of any contamination.
- If there are large and deep rings on the platters - This is not a common problem that we have as we don’t have may jobs that come in which have that particular issue, but if a drive has deep rings on the platters it is due to the heads digging into the platters when powered up. Normally you can tell when the heads are digging into the platters because there is a screeching noise coming from the drive. This problem normally occurs when the drive is dropped and powered up straight afterwards, in some cases again and again.
( Large, deep rings on the platters )