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A frequent response I receive from customers when I try explain the Data Recovery process is “I don’t care about the Hard Drive I just want the data back”.  Unfortunately much of the time the reason for the data loss is damage to the hard drive and that the only way of retrieving the data is to repair/revive the hard drive so that we can recover the data.

A discussion of common types of damage will help illuminate this point.

data recovery head assemblu

head assembly for data recovery

Head Assembly

The head assembly which has an arm which spans the shiny magnetic surface of the magnetic platter. The data we are trying to recover is contained on the surface of the platter and is extracted via the read/write heads at the end of the arm of the head assembly. If any part of the head fails it usually means we need to replace the head assembly with an exact identical. Typical cost currently is $1200.

There is also a motor which spins the magnetic platter if this fails replacement from an identical drive is required with a typical cost of $1600.


data recovery hard drive pcb

pcb used in data recovery

Hard Drive Electronics

The picture above is of the electronics of the Hard Drive and which controls the motor , head and transfer of data. These commonly fail from power spikes and brown outs and when these fail we need to replace the PCB ( printed circuit board) with an exact match and transfer the BIOS firmware either by software transfer or desoldering / soldering the BIOS chip , see pciture above, from the dead PCB to the replacement. Typical cost is $300 -$350.

Successful replacement of these parts does not guarantee that our data is still intact and coherent. There may well be other damage and further repairs may still need to be performed. I cover this in the next blog in this series.