Dropped WD Passport and Recovering SMS/WhatsApp Texts – Help & Advice

This week we look at a problem on a dropped WD Passport Ultra hard drive, and examine the possibilities of recovering WhatsApp and SMS messages from two phones for use in court.

WD Passport Ultra Data Recovery

“My Western Digital Passport Ultra 500GB took a fall from around 40 cm height, and now the drive could not be detected on computers. When we plugged it in, we could still hear the spinning sound & without any clicking sound. The LED indicator was also lit, but not detected by computers whatsoever.

We’ve tried to bring this into several Data Recovery Service Points just to have a preliminary diagnostic, and most of them are around 80-90% confident that it is having a head problem/ failure.

If it’s really a head problem/ failure, I would like to ask 2 questions for Data Clinic:
– what would be the price range to recover the data?
– in many cases of head problems that you’ve ever worked on, what is the percentage of success that data is recoverable?”

Thanks for your question regarding the data recovery of your Western Digital Passport Ultra 500GB, even though you are not hearing the clicking sound that hard drives often make after they’ve had a fall, the chances are still very high that your hard drive has some sort of head fault. (The ‘heads’ are the parts of the drive that read and write data to the ‘platter’ where the data is stored. They are delicate and often damaged during a fall). This results in the drive not responding and the data on it no longer being accessible.

Data Clinic are normally able to recover data from situations such as this and to retrieve the data in this case it will be necessary for us to replace the damaged heads of the hard drive with compatible parts from a working donor drive. We have a large library of compatible spare parts already in stock, sometimes though we have to source the parts worldwide if we don’t have them in house. The cost of a spare part can vary considerably between anything from £70 up to £350. Also, the cost of spare parts is borne by the customer and is non refundable. There’s no guarantee that getting the spare part will equate to the data being recovered. Getting the spare part means we can swap out the broken part and replace it with a working one, but sometimes there is further damage to a hard drive – for example, a scratched platter or similar which prevents the recovery. Situations like this are rare, but they do exist. The cost for the standard Data Clinic data recovery process is between £350 and £500 ex VAT.

Retrieve WhatsApp and SMS Data

“1) I have an iPhone 5s 16gb which I use everyday.
2) I may have deleted SMS and Whatsapp messages from 2-3yrs ago. I do not have any backups in the cloud to recover from.
3) I want to see what can be recovered from the phone, if any.
4) What is the likelihood that you will find anything? and what can I expect to pay?
5) I would also like to recover anything I can from an old Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, android phone.
6) This is for a court case so it’s important that I get a full response on cost and likelihood of recovery and possible next steps.”

Thanks for your question. Any recovery cases that are likely to be used in legal cases need to follow certain guidelines that allow the acquired evidence to be admissible in court (see our page at computer-data-forensics for more details).

One problem I can see is the amount of time that has passed since the events took place. If the devices have been in use in the meantime there’s a high chance that the data you are looking to recover has been overwritten by subsequent use. But, if the phones have not been used much, or at all since the events the chances of recovery are very good. We have a number of techniques at our disposal to retrieve the information you seek – read more about what we can do on our iPhone data recovery and Android data recovery pages. The cost of this service to produce data admissible in court begins at £495.