We often get asked to rescue situations where hard drives have been sent to a “local IT specialist” or taken to a “local computer shop”, who haven’t been able to recover the client’s data but know exactly what the problem with the hard drive is.
In truth, nearly all of the time, the local shops don’t know what the problem is and they are just guessing because they don’t want to appear clueless.
Take the two examples below. In the first they’ve got the diagnosis wrong and have stopped any further work because they don’t know what to do. In the second, they’ve gone a stage further and actually tried to recover the files themselves even though they don’t know what they’re doing. No one rips the arm off a hard drive, and it’s not something that can be caused by mechanical error either. Therefore, someone has done this deliberately to retrieve their data. Unfortunately now, there is no chance of this happening.
Example One: “*teacher having a meltdown* Hard drive has failed with all my lessons on! Diagnostic company say that the reading heads & partitions are faulty – but data is there. I can not afford their quote so it’s being couriered back to me… can you help?!?!”
This is an example of the company the teacher sent the hard drive to not really knowing what they are talking about. If the reading heads of the hard drive are faulty, you’re not going to see any partition information or any data whatsoever. In fact, the hard drive won’t even be recognised by the Operating System.
So, if the partitions are faulty, the heads must be working and the drive must be being recognised. Therefore the heads are fine.
This fault is more likely to be either bad sectors or a corrupted filesystem.
Example Two: “External HD reading arm has been damaged and ripped off, The case is open. Need to get this recovered”
From this enquiry it’s obvious that the hard drive has been opened and someone has taken a look inside. Ok, so the question is Why? A modern hard drive can hold more data than a school library