The world of data recovery is a big mystery for most consumers and even some IT professionals.
This is largely because hard drives themselves are complex devices and their technological specifics are not generally well known.
Data recovery companies thrive on their customers’ lack of information and often get away with charging obscene rates for any recovery, regardless of complexity.
I hope this article will be a helpful resource for consumers and professionals alike.
I provide some basic information about data recovery by shedding some light on how hard drives work, how they can fail, what are the chances of successful recovery and how much the user can expect to pay.
This information will enable the user to make an informed decision when choosing a data recovery company.
A bit about Hard Drives
A computer hard drive stores data on metal oxide platters which spin up to 10000 revolutions per minute. An actuator arm contains the ‘head‘ which reads and writes the data in the form of magnetic charges one millionth of an inch above the surface.
Any given drive can have multiple read and write heads and each head can ‘crash’ independently.
A head crash occurs when the read/write head comes in contact with the platters of the disk (more on head crashes below).
As manufacturers strive to cram more space on hard drives without increasing their physical size, the data gets written increasingly closer together, making for very difficult recovery should one or more heads crash.
The brain of the hard drive is its controller board and this is unique for each individual hard drive. One other detail worth a mention is the service track of a hard drive. This is an area located on the outer part of the disk platter and it contains the drive’s firmware zone.
The firmware of a hard drive is the information used by the computer to communicate correctly with the drive. These are the main components that make a hard drive work, now let’s talk about what can go wrong.