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Sweethaven Data Recovery Tips

  1. How Do I get in touch?

    TRC Data Recovery Ltd can be contacted in the following ways:

    Head Office and Postal Address:

    TRC Data Recovery Ltd
    Sheffield Business Centre
    Europa Link
    Sheffield
    S9 1XZ

    Email Contact
    Emails to: support@trcdatarecovery.com

    Via Telephone:

    You can phone us on 0800 955 3282 alternatively you can also call:

    Sheffield: 0114 358 3486
  2. What are your Hours of Business?

    TRC Data Recovery operate during the hours stated below, however, we are always reachable for emergency enquiries outside of normal business hours, just send us an email or leave us a voicemail and we will get back to you

    Monday - Friday 09:00 am to 05:00 pm - Out of hours response to enquiries.
    Saturday - Sunday 10:00 am to 3:00pm - Out of hours response to enquiries.
    Public & Bank Holidays Use our online contact form

  3. We have a hard drive that will not spin

    This type of failure can fall into several categories but the likely cause will be either:
     
    ·      The electronics have failed
    ·      The motor bearing assembly has seized
    ·      The head preamplifier has blown (this does not apply to all drives)
     
    What actions can be taken?
     
    This is complex, most traditional wisdom points towards swapping the PCB with a compatible donor; this is bad practice. The primary and overriding reason is that, contrary to popular belief, swapping a PCB from a drive of the same model will not work on any drive produced within the last 10 years (and for most manufacturers this applies to significantly older drives too).
     
    Modern hard disk drives are produced en-masse as cheaply as it is possible to. As a result of the above and the ever decreasing tolerances. This leads to drives that are produced imperfectly and then adapted to their specific tolerances in the factory. These adaptations are recorded in the ROM of the PCB, without the correct adaptations, the drive does not work

  4. The hard drive is clicking, ticking, grinding or otherwise noisy

    These symptoms are a clear indication of a mechanical failure with the drive, the drive should be powered down immediately. Repair outside of a clean room will not be possible.
     
    It cannot be stressed enough, noise = damage. If this damage is due to a bent head assembly, head crash or platter damage, keeping the drive powered on will only exacerbate the problem and lead to further unrecoverable data loss.

  5. Data is suddenly missing, files have been deleted or a drive has been formatted

    Key to maximizing the recoverability of data is preserving the integrity of the media. Every drive that you might want to recover in this way needs to be preserved against accidental logical damage. Attempting to run Chkdsk, attempting to repair files in-situ or trying to run a recovery directly on the source media can all create, modify and potentially destroy the very data that you are trying to save.
     
    It is recommended that a sector level clone of the media is carried out to a different medium, this way TRC can later assist if the problem turns out to be more complex than it originally appeared.

  6. A drive spins and seems to be healthy but it is not recognised

    There are many causes for this, most likely this is due to a corruption of the drive’s firmware or potentially a failed read/write head. This kind of issue requires a lab recovery, contact TRC Data Recovery for advice.

  7. A drive reports errors, bad sectors, cyclic redundancy check or Chkdsk attempts to run

    This is a common problem, perhaps the single most common failure hard disk drives face. Sometimes the problem is less severe and data can be accessed despite the bad sectors. When this is not the case a data recovery service is required. The following tips should minimise the risk of data loss:
     
    ·      Never run Chkdsk – contrary to popular belief it does not ‘fix’ bad sectors, in fact what it does do is make things a lot worse, see here for more information: http://trcdatarecovery.com/articles/chkdsk
    ·      Do not repeatedly try to access files that are inaccessible, they will not become accessible by magic however, you do run a very high risk of the drive’s condition worsening.
    ·      Do not run any bad sector repair utilities, these utilities are normally DOS based and do not actually repair anything, they simply ‘encourage’ the drive to remap the bad sector for a good one from it’s reserve bank. If the bad sector exists within a file, this will result in data loss.
     
    IMPORTANT: lots of bad sectors on a device may indicate weak, unstable or even individual failed read/write heads. Not all drives with head faults click (as used to be the case), if some of the heads are working the drive might ID and be partially accessible.

  8. We have been called to a server or RAID failure where multiple disks are involved

    Firstly it is important to observe the following:
     
    With the server powered off, mark the position of each disk in the array, this prevents confusion later and will be highly important if data recovery is required later.

    Assess the RAID type and whether any disks have failed, remember:

    - RAID 5 has a redundancy of 1 drive
    - RAID 6 has a redundancy of 2 drives
    - RAID 1+0/0+1 redundancy varies depending on where in the array the failed drives are – contact us for free assistance
    - Has the end user tried anything? If so, what?

    If a rebuild has been attempted and it has not worked, something is wrong, do not consider additional rebuilds or operating system repairs, this is risky.

    If the array contains critical data that has not been backed up, before taking any actions, talk to a TRC engineer, advice is available to Sweethaven for free by calling 0800 955 3282.

  9. We have a failed NAS, what can be done?

    Firstly, we would recommend avoiding the official support of the NAS manufacturer. Often the advice provided by the first support tiers is to update the NAS firmware. Doing so can and often does, destroy a portion of user data.
     
    The reason is that the firmware upgrade will often format the user data area when a problem is encountered. Whilst this should not overwrite the user’s data, it does present a massive problem for data recovery.

    Most NAS units have an embedded Linux OS and use either XFS or EXT4 as the file system for the user data partition. These file systems are hierarchical in nature, once the top levels are overwritten, the original hierarchy can no longer be retrieved (in most cases). This means that an large, fragmented files may no longer be retrievable within a reasonable price/timescale. It also means that file names and folders are (for the most part) irrecoverable.
     
    This is not a technology limitation of TRC, this is the way in which the file systems work and there is no magic solution or technique, which can deliver a perfect recovery following this kind of scenario

  10. We have a hard drive that has been dropped, what can we do?

    Professional assistance should be sought in each and every case of a drive that has received an impact of any kind. If you are unable to backup the user’s data, even if the drive seems to be working fairly well, recovery is almost certainly going to require a clean room.
     
    If the user data is accessible, whilst we do not recommend it, if you are going to attempt a backup, waste no time and start with the critical areas first. Do not attempt to copy everything, this will likely fail and you may be left with a dead drive and only data that your client is not interested in.
     
    At the first sign of unhealthy noises, or the drive disconnecting from the OS – power down and call TRC

  11. We have a failed external hard drive, should we remove the internal drive?

    The answer to this is both yes and no:
     
    On the yes side: - Drives are more stable when accessed via their native interface, USB/firewire/Thunderbolt etc add a layer of translation into the mix which can cause problems if the drive is in a poor state
     
    On the no side: - Many modern drives are encrypted and the data is inaccessible through the native interface. For this reason you should always retain the original enclosure and check with the client as to whether it was ever inside an enclosure, if yes, you should try to secure this
     
    If you need assistance or advice on the subject of external hard drives, contact a TRC engineer on 0800 955 3282

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