SoftJoys Datarecovery


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One more article is translated to English for the Basics section: “Brief description of the design of modern HDDs” by Leonid Taranovsky

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HDD data recovery

Data recovery from a broken HDD is essentially an HDD repair, even incomplete. A disk repair without data loss is usually possible only if its controller is broken. In all other cases only data copy to a properly working device is possible. Main faults of hard drives are: controller malfunction, firmware corruption, head assembly fault, spindle motor fault, mechanically damaged surface of magnetic platters (bad blocks).

Data usually cannot be read from disks with vast damages of the magnet surface. In this case, data can sometimes be read partially. For a limited number of disk models, data also can be read on a special workbench, cost of such operation being quite high reaching dozens thousand dollars. Even on such workbench, data would not be completely read. Data turned into dust are gone for good.

General approach to data recovery is to copy all possible sectors from a faulty drive to a properly working one. Then the created image is being analyzed, and the data is recovered to a proper device.

All operations connected with the replacement of the head assembly, re-arrangement of magnetic surfaces in case of spindle motor malfunction are to be made in a special room with cleaned air, the so-called “clean room”, air in which passes through a multistage filtering that removes dust and impurities. We have such clean room with Cleaning Class 100. That means that 2 cubic meter of such air contains less that 100 dust particles with the size of 0.5 mcm, without those larger. Drive manufacturers assemble their drives at their factories under the same conditions.

A drive opened at home
makes data recovery much harder if even impossible
due to irrecoverable damages of the magnet surface.

Logical damages appear usually due to user's mistakes (necessary files deleted, a disk formatted), running programs like Partition Magic, Scandisk, incorrectly set OS (disabled support for large disks in Windows, for example), faults in the disk systems, RAID incorrectly recovered after a fault, etc. These are the most common fault types, all causes cannot be listed.

It is absolutely impossible to recover data overwritten with another data. If an important file has been mistakenly deleted, the computer must be immediately disconnected from the electrical mains by pulling the plug out to prevent the file from overwriting. Shutting the system down in a regular way (using the Power button in Windows ) will result in writing some data on the disk which may be fatal.

We use a wide variety of existing software to analyze and parse logical structures and file systems. Sometimes we have to create our own utilities for some specific cases. We actively co-operate with professional developers of specialized software to extend functionality of their software. We also make some research in RAW recovery. Our company is actually an ideal place to test and enhance such software. We invite the developers of such software for cooperation and ready to share our knowledge and experience.

HDD data recovery cost

The table lists most frequent typical faults and estimate costs of works for their repair.

Prices are shown as ranges, because it is not always possible to set the final cost immediately.
The work starts only after the initial free diagnosis and when the customer agrees with the cost.

Prices are always reconciled before the start of the work!

It is possible to carry out the work in parts, with partial payment for the work done.

Fault symptomsPossible causeCost, €
HDD platters do not spin,
and BIOS does not recognize the HDD
The HDD controller is faulty250−400
The computer’s power supply unit does not start when the HDD is connected to the system boardA short circuit in the controller250−400
HDD platters spin, but make a clattering noise, and BIOS does not recognize the HDDThe head carriage is faulty,
possibly the magnet surface is damaged
HDD platters spin,
but BIOS does not recognize the HDD
HDD service data are damaged250−600
BIOS does recognize the HDD,
but data is inaccessible
Surface defects, service data are damaged, the head carriage is faulty, logical inconsistency  250−1000
The operation system does not startLogical inconsistency, HDD is re-formatted, checkdisk has worked incorrectly250−600


The cost of shipment is not included into the prices and is to be paid additionally.

Taxes are not included into the prices

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