Just recently our engineers performed WD external hard drive data recovery that had a catastrophic head crash from being dropped. SERT engineers performed the work inside their certified CLASS 100 ISO 5 work area where all clean room data recovery cases are performed.
Looks can be deceiving
By the looks of it it appears normal. Heads are parked on the ramp. But a closer look revealed the major problems the drive had.
SERT engineers noticed there were sliders missing, and a mangled head. This usually indicates there is going to be platter damage. The end result here is usually unrecoverable data.
SERT set out to locate a good donor, and then to prepare the drive for a head swap.
The first thing that was needed, was to locate the missing sliders so they do not interfere with the new set of heads that will be installed. This will cause the head swap to fail completely damaging the platters even more, making sure the data will never be recovered.
The second important step that must be performed, is cleaning the surface of the platters as there is surely dust and debris that will damage any new heads that are installed.
The drive must be completely disassembled down to the platters in order to accomplish this difficult task.
After cleaning the platters with a special solvent and machine, this is what our engineers found.
One head was discovered in the bottom of the cleansing machine. This means the slider was probably stuck to one of the platters under the top one.
One head was found in one corner of the lid of the hard drive case.
Two more sliders were found in the opposite corner of the hard drive case lid.
This made a total of three sliders found stuck to the top of the hard drive lid.
And a total of 4 sliders found missing from the read/write head assembly. The sliders on heads 3 and 4 were actually stuck together.
In the end the heads were exchanged and SERT engineers were able to access the customers data. We fix hard drive problems of all kinds!