Family Photo Album - Destruction on A Platter

Family Photo Album - Destruction on A Platter

 “What went wrong? I followed all the steps in the video. Why do I not have my data?”

Talking to people that have experienced this is the toughest part of my job. It’s tough because this never needs to happen and is completely preventable. It just takes understanding that there are times when things truly are best left to a professional. One of my recent encounters with a young mother who had ALL of her children’s photos on her home computer. She has two children, ages 2 and 5, and couldn’t live without these photos. So, I began asking questions to assess the situation.

The hard drive was a pretty typical Western Digital 1 TB external drive. So, I ask: How did you first notice that there was a problem? Did the drive fail during use? Did she attempt to access the drive and discover that the data was inaccessible? Was the drive making any unusual noises?

As she was attempting to answer my questions, she was relaying them to her husband. She told me that her husband heard the noises and would have him describe them to me. Her husband said that the drive had been making a buzzing/beeping sound and I informed him that his description indicated that the drive had stiction (read/write heads become stuck to the platters), which is normally caused by a sudden power interruption. This causes the read/write heads to land in the data area instead of moving back to their designated landing area.

This was a very good thing as the data is almost always recoverable from this type of failure.

So, I begin explaining the recovery procedure and tell them that even though the heads are very delicate in modern day hard drives, and there are usually some damaged areas, the data is almost always recoverable. I continue my inquiry about when the drive failed and, as always, asked what recovery attempts, if any, have been made. And this is where the story goes sideways….

It seems that he had always been mechanically inclined, so he starts researching and viewing YouTube videos. (I’m sure that you can already see where this is going.)

He saw a video and read articles that diagnosed the problem as a defective electronic board (created and posted by the people who conveniently sell their services for this repair). So being fairly handy at fixing things, he decided to remove the board and send it to them. After paying shipping charges and a $50 fee for the service, he re-installed the board and discovered that was not the problem after all (there was nothing wrong with his original board).

OK, back to the internet and more YouTube videos. Aha! Another video with more supporting articles that indicate the heads are stuck to the platters. I’m fairly adept at repairing things so I’ll just watch this video and do it myself…. Again….

Please do not get me wrong, there is a lot of great information on the internet.

I do a lot of research there and I have seen these videos. The adage “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing” has never been more true than as it relates to these videos. Every video that I have viewed on hard drive recovery is based on a small kernel of truth. By the same token, almost every video that I have seen either leaves out vital information, promotes very dangerous techniques, or has outright false assumptions based upon miniscule slivers of fact.

I digress and apologize for the rant; back to the story…

The husband opens the drive and voila!, the heads are stuck to the platter just as the video said they would be.

“I’ll just move the heads back to the landing area, close everything up, and copy my data. J. I just saved a boatload of money.”

Feeling very proud, he replaces the cover and screws, hooks the drive up and was goes to copy their data, only now the drive is making a scratching noise and is clicking. The computer could not detect the drive. “What went wrong? I followed all of the steps in the video. Why do I not have access to my data?” When he re-opened the drive, he noticed scratches on the platter surface and felt a very uncomfortable feeling, a creeping sense of dread… 

Here is where story unfortunately ends. By attempting what looked like a very simple solution, he destroyed the photos of his children’s early years. Look, I understand the desire to save money. I understand the desire to not hire someone else for something that you think you can do yourself. But some things need to be left to professionals.

Carolina Data Recovery your family photo recovery expert.  Call us @ 704-536-1717 anytime between 6AM-9PM, 7 days per week for a free data recovery consultation.

“What do YOU have to lose?”


Tags: Digital Photo Recovery, Digital Picture and File Recovery, Recover Photos from Hard Drive, Digital Picture Recovery, Family Album Recovery, Family Photo Recovery, Family Photo Recovery Expert


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Client Reviews

“We had a hard drive failure at work, and we didn't have a backup. We went to Ron for a free analysis and he verified there was an issue within 15 minutes. We've never had to deal with data recovery before, and he was willing to answer any questions. He got our data restored to a new drive within 2 days. Would definitely recommend.”
– Seth Allen
“I thought I had lost the last 15 years of my life in pictures, but they were able to recover them! Such a relief! Worth every penny!”
– Shannon M.
“These guys/gals are really great. Ron was very professional and stayed in communication thru the entire process of our clients Data Recovery.”
– David P.
“The short: Calling Ron and his team was the best decision I could have made. Words like kind, respectful, prompt, and attentive come to mind. The long: My NAS crashed. I thought I lost my entire digital life. Forget about the files and documents one accumulates and all the music, I had 30 years of family pictures, some of who are no longer with us. I was in tears. I took my NAS to a big box store where I was given very robotic service by their "geeks" and was told it could cost me thousands of dollars, it would take at least a month (but I could leap to the front of the line for an extra $100) to even find out IF it was recoverable. I decided to look for someone local and thank God I found Carolina Data Recovery. Ron was able to confirm that the data was recoverable within 48 hours and had my data back to me within 72 hours. Beyond that, Ron took time to walk me though the process and listen to my concerns. Realizing I was a mess, Ron spent an hour on the phone with me explaining what I need to do going forward to ensure that this never happens again. Backing up your data IS important - hard lesson learned. I hope to never be in this situation again, but have comfort in knowing that Carolina Data Recovery has my back. ”
– M. Patel
“Great service! Great company! After bringing my computer to three other companies - all who said my data was lost and gone forever - Carolina Data Recovery found and restored it as easy as 1 - 2 - 3. After all the ups and downs and horrors of computer problems, I'm so glad I found a place to go!”
– Anne Fiala
“Carolina Data Recovery saved the day! I had an external hard drive that contained all of my personal information and pictures over the last 3 years. This hard drive had crashed leaving me in a world of panic. Carolina Data Recovery specialists were able to fully recover my lost information, keeping me updated throughout the entire process. I highly recommend Carolina Data Recovery for all your data needs! ”
– J. Hawk
“Great company with fantastic service! My laptop was causing me terrible issues and I was terrified that all of the valuable data that was stored on it was gone forever. I went to several different companies for help with no solution to my problem. I finally found Carolina Data Recovery and they were able to recovery all of my data that I thought I had lost forever. Friendly staff and great recovery time. I highly recommend this company! ”
– C. Haynes

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