The complexity, cost and success of data recovery depend on the cause of the failure and extent of the damage.  The following failure categories are described below.

Logical Failure:
$150 – $350

Media Issues
$150 – $350

Electronic Failure:
$150 – $350

Firmware Corruption
$200 – $350

Physical Failure
$300 – $500 + parts

… plus 13% HST.

Logical Failure
Media Issues
Electronic Failure
Firmware Corruption
Physical Failure

$150 – $350
$150 – $350
$150 – $350
$200 – $350
$300 – $500 + parts

 
 

plus 13% HST.

 

 
 

⁕  Prices shown are for drives up to 2TB.  Add 10% per additional terabyte for larger drives, e.g., for 4TB drives add 20%.
⁕  Prices for backing up or transferring user data from drives that are healthy (but unreadable because of Windows problems) are posted in the Computer Repairs section.

Failure Categories

Logical Failure
The drive is physically healthy but the data is inaccessible. Causes can include: the drive has been reformatted or Windows has been re-installed (or restored to factory default) over user data that hasn’t been backed up, the user or a virus has deleted or overwritten files, or the file index has been damaged or corrupted. Data recovery software is usually successful in recovering the user data if you immediately stop using the drive.

Media Issues
The drive has developed “bad sectors,” which cause read errors when Windows tries to access your files. Probably the most common problem, it is usually due to deterioration of the magnetic recording on the drive media but can also be due to weak read/write heads. We use data recovery hardware to clone the failing drive to a new one, from which the user data is then recovered using data recovery software. The equipment uses advanced techniques to maximize the amount of data recovered. Success is generally quite high.

The media may also have been damaged by a “head crash” (damage of the media by contact with a read/write head) caused by dropping or bumping the drive while in use, or by a broken read/write head. This is a physical failure and data is not recoverable from physically damaged media. However, data may be recoverable from the undamaged platter surfaces by disabling the read/write head of the damaged surface.

Electronic Failure
The printed circuit board (PCB) attached to the hard drive has failed or been damaged, typically because of a power surge. Most PCB failures can be fixed by repairing the PCB or by swapping it with one from a compatible “donor” drive and transferring the drive-unique information from the original PCB to the donor PCB.

Electronic failure can also occur in the preamplifier that is part of the read/write head assembly inside the drive. The preamp can’t be repaired, so data is recovered by swapping the drive’s read/write head assembly with compatible donor parts in a “cleanroom” environment.

Firmware Corruption
The “firmware” that controls the drive’s operation is damaged or corrupted. It is stored mainly on the media platters and partly in components on the PCB. Repairs are complex and accomplished by issuing commands from a console and/or by using hardware specifically designed for firmware repair.

Physical Failure
Failure or “stiction” (adhesion to a platter) of one or more read/write heads, or seizure of the drive’s spindle motor. Repair involves freeing the heads, replacing the head stack assembly, or transferring the head stack assembly, platters and PCB to a donor chassis in a clean room environment.

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