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I received a 160gb Fujitsu hard drive from a client which had a damaged PCB , it later turned out that the drive was  from an early macbook which had been dropped in salt water while it was still running. When I first received the drive it was not clear exactly what computer  the drive originated from.

The first job was to find replacement electronics that closely matched the original drive and you could not simply go on the PCB number. For the best chance of a successful PCB swap with fujitsu drives it was necessary to match as closely as possible the following;

PCB ca26343 b84304ba
PART No CA06820-B39800AP
Fw 07FEBC-0081001C

I was fortunate to find an exact match for the PCB and obtain a complete drive from San Diego , see picture below ,  this then could enable a possible head swap if necessary for data recovery

donor drive used for data recovery
s. Now that we had a good match we could then move the ROM chip from the water damaged patient to our working PCB. For reasons unknown the  original 160gb drive was reporting a size of 2tb after swapping the ROM chip but we could still manage to image the drive and find that this had come from a mac computer. The HFS filesystem was however broken which is not unexpected.

The corrupt file system could not be repaired  with either the Mac disk utility or the Mac Disk Warrior utility. The users account folder was completely missing so I now had to perform a raw data recovery. A Raw data recovery involves bypassing the drive’s file system ,  in this case  HFS,  and scans the drive sector by sector looking for file signatures for files such as jpegs , word docs , mp3s   etc.

I use R-Studio in the first instance for finding file signatures  but in addition also use Active File Recovery Professional as I feel the latter performs better at this task.  After running both programs and feeling that I have recovered all photos , documents, music and videos that were possible. The client informed me that he was looking for a lot of videos from his camera and one in particular that he could remember was of a plane flying over the boat he was in.

As you can see in the picture  below I was successful

data recovery of image

Strangely enough I didn’t have to go to expensive products to find the missing videos they were in fact recorded in an early Qucktime video format called mdat which is not used much for distribution purposes any more. The only tool that could find these files was a FREE TOOL called Photorec.

Photorec is a free tool but has the ability to find more, picture , video formats them any pro tool.