A Hard Drive Recovery Case Study
- WD ‘slow response’ firmware problem
- Weak head
- Use of microjog to source a compatible donor hard drive
We received an enquiry from a customer reporting that his drive was running very slowly, so slow that he’d left the drive overnight attempting to access a folder. When he returned to it in the morning the computer had hung.
On many occasions, slow hard drives are caused by the drive developing bad media: this is a common problem that can’t be repaired but if we get to the drive soon enough, it’s still possible to recover the data (see this link for more on bad media). In this case though, the fault was not due to bad media, but to a very weak head inside the hard drive. Here’s what the Data Clinic recovery engineer wrote about the job when I asked him:
The symptoms of the failure describe a weak head, but this was far from a straight forward recovery. Firstly we converted this is a SATA drive using a compatible PCB [these drives don’t have a SATA interface, instead they feature a USB interface hardwired onto the drive’s controller board], this then gave access to the ROM and the firmware. This drive was suffering from the well known ‘Slow Responding’ firmware failure which was the first thing we fixed. Upon testing the sectors we noticed that H1 [head 1 – one of the read/write heads inside the hard drive] was reading, but very poorly.
As the customer was after specific data, we cloned the $MFT area and recovered as much data off the 3 working heads before we conducted a head change.
I then set about reading the MicroJog information to find a compatible head donor, luckily we had one that wasn’t the best for the other heads but perfect for the failing H1. Heads 0,2,3 were fully cloned and then the head change was conducted, the remaining data areas where then cloned – we managed a perfect clone.
The data was then recovered to return media.
Problem with a WD10TMVW ?
Do you have a problem with a Western Digital WD10TMVW hard drive? Perhaps you are experiencing the same symptoms as the drive above or maybe the drive has failed in a different way? There are lots of ways a hard drive can develop problems – contact us for help and advice.