Welcome to Our Hard Drive Gallery

We have collected pictures of hard drives from some of the data recovery cases we received from our clients during past years. Regrettably, some of these hard drives arrived to us in a condition where data recovery was not possible due to the severe mechanical damages.

We are providing some pictures with our comments for your review and educational purposes. We believe this will help you understand how fragile hard drives are. We urge you to be careful with your laptop or desktop computers, as well as external hard drives.

Regular backups will save your data in case of the hard drive crash.


1.8 laptop hard drive
laptop-hard-driveThis is a 1.8 inch hard drive from a laptop computer that came in with a head crash.
Same size of drives are now used in digital camcorders and other devices. Data recovery of such media is challenging due to the size of the components our engineers must work with. This was an interesting and rather challenging project with the successful outcome.


 


WD My Passport hard drive
laptop-hard-driveDent on a disk platter from WD My Passport hard drive.
Photo taken with Digital Microscope with 90x magnification. One of the read\write heads was hanging on the head arm after the impact. This drive fell on a floor. You can see the dent and micro dust particles that are not visible without the microscope.



Another Western Digital My Passport 2.5" hard drive
wd-my-passport-hard-driveWD My passport disk platter that came in with the scratch resulted from a head crash. Customer dropped the drive from about three feet.
Digital Magnification to 90x.
We were able to recover required data before drive failed completely.
This is why we suggest not to exhaust hard drives and take them to the experts right away.


Seagate server based SAS hard drive motor replacement
sas-hard-drive-recoveryReplacing seized spindle motor on Seagate SAS hard drive.
The motor of this SAS drive rotates at 15000 RPM. Minor vibrations would cause the heads to be instantly destroyed.

We use special tools that allow us to properly remove platters from the motor for platter transplant procedure..


Seagate SATA hard drive
seagate-hard-driveThis is a Seagate SATA hard drive. White filter has black dust on it. It is an indication of a scratched platter on one of the bottom surfaces. We had to disable read-write head for one of the surfaces. This hard drive was professionally cleaned before new set of heads was used. A lucky client! We managed to recover most of the family photos for this customer from 3 out of 4 surfaces. It was well worth the effort!


Toshiba laptop hard drive
toshiba-laptop-hard-driveThis Toshiba laptop hard drive was an emergency project.

Drive failed while an accountant was finalizing a year-end for one of the businesses in Ottawa.
Despite the scratch on the top platter, we were able to successfully recover 90% of the required data from this failing hard drive. Another lucky client!


Damaged read-write head from Western Digital
hard-drive-read-write-headDamaged read/write head from Western Digital 3.5 inch hard drive.

You may notice some tiny scratches on the element.

That is enough to distort the airflow between the head and the disk platter while rotating at 5400 or 7200 RMP.

Picture has been taken in the lab with 90x Zoom.


Read-write head from WD hard drive
laptop-hard-drive-head-damageThis is the second head from the same Western Digital hard drive.

This head has been completely damaged and is no longer usable.

Reasons for such damage is either an impact, accumulation of dust, wear and tear.


Hitachi Deskstar 3.5 inch hard drive
laptop-hard-driveThis illustration clearly shows that the media is beyond recovery due to the complete damage of the surface of the hard disk drive's platters.

It's a complete see-through example of how the damaged heads can completely scrape the surface of the platters.

 


Hitachi laptop hard drive
hitachi-laptop-hard-driveAnother Hitachi Travelstar 2.5 inch laptop hard drive.

Same problem as the hard drive above.

Damaged read-write heads completely scraped the surface of the disk platter.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Laptop hard drive
scratched-laptop-hard-driveA deep circular scratch of the surface of the disk platter of a laptop hard drive.

Due to the damages, it was not possible to recover data from this hard drive.

 

 

 


Maxtor hard drive with severe platter damage
maxtor-hard-driveA severe damage of the surface of the disk platter from the Maxtor hard drive.

This hard drive was brought in after another lab who claimed they could only recover 50mb of data.

There was no disk surface left to work with.


Old Quantum hard drive
quantum-hard-driveOlder Quantum hard drive with many circular scratches all over the disk platters.

This hard drive came in unrecoverable.

 

 

 


Seagate hard drive
seagate-hard-driveA five platter Seagate hard drive with another deep scratch near the spindle motor.

 

 

 

 

 


Hard drives and vise do not go together
laptop-hard-driveA hard disk we received after another company demonstrated their "unique skills".

Unfortunately not every company cares to own proper recovery tools, thus results are on the picture.

Motor was seized on this hard drive and someone "not so professional" tried rotating it by clamping the spindle by either vise or pliers, scratched the spindle motor so bad, pieces of aluminum were found all over the drive.


Toshiba laptop hard drive
toshiba-hard-driveShattered platters of Toshiba laptop hard drive.

Client insisted that the drive or laptop was not dropped.

Cause remained a mystery.





Western Digital 3.5" hard drive
wd-hard-driveDamaged hard disk platter of Western Digital hard drive.

This hard drive came out of a dropped external hard drive.

 

 

 



Western Digital 3.5" hard drive
western-digital-hard-driveSame hard drive as above. Closer look.

You will notice the filter is completely dirty, as it collected the dust that was scraped from the platter by the damaged heads.

 



Western Digital 3.5" hard drive
wd-hard-driveAnother Western Digital hard drive is beyond recovery.

A number of deep scratches all over the surface.

 

 

 



WD external hard drive with scratches
wd-hard-driveOne more Western Digital hard drive whish is beyond recovery.

Another external dropped hard drive came out of Western Digital MyBook external drive.

 

 


Western Digital hard drive read-write head configuration
wd-hard-driveOn the left is the Western Digital drive we received from a customer.

On the right is an identical (or supposed to be) donor drive. Unfortunately, hard drive manufacturer decided to change the configuration of the heads on this drive and remove the top head while label on both drive was 100% identical, and therefore it must be a 100% match.


WD hard drive. Different platter quantity.
wd-hard-driveAnother Western Digital hard drive. Same problem as described above; however in this case it's even more interesting - one drive has two platters while another one three.

It was also supposed to be a 100% match according to the label on the drive.


WD external hard drive with scratches
wd-hard-driveOne more Western Digital hard drive whish is beyond recovery.

Another external dropped hard drive came out of Western Digital MyBook external drive.

 

 


Hard drive disk platter under microscope. Dust.
disk-platter-dustVery high magnification at 90x Zoom.
Example of the hard drive platter exposed to air in a regular room.

Dust sticks to the platters like magnetic particles.

A full of dust hard drive is a candidate to a potential hard disk crash and platter scratch.

Data recovery companies that perform mechanical work without the use of special equipment and clean room stations risk loosing their client's data forever.


380Mb Mactor hard drive
maxtor-hard-driveAn old 380Mb Maxtor hard drive with five disk platters weights about 6 Lbs; however it failed only after celebrating its 23rd birthday.

This hard drive was manufactured by Maxtor in 1985, in Japan.

 

 


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