Blog

5 Items You Had No Idea We Could Recover Data From

Nobody likes to learn a lesson the hard way. If you’ve ever been burned by data loss, you’ve probably had the idea drilled into you to always have backups of your backups so that you don’t have to go through the pain of losing something irreplaceable. Whether it’s cherished family photos, that album you’ve been pouring your heart into for the last year, or the crucial client list for your business, there’s countless types of data that can be nothing short of catastrophic if they’re lost.

So while it’s true that you should have multiple physical and digital backups of anything you’re serious about keeping, accidents happen. Sometimes you forget to update your backup, or sometimes you think that the odds of something going wrong are so slim that it’s not a concern. Whatever the case, you’ve found yourself with a malfunctioned hard drive, flash drive, or mobile device with your precious data trapped inside. You might be thinking that all hope is lost, and that you need to buckle down and get to work on recreating your lost files from scratch. 

However, when it comes to top-of-the-line data recovery services like TeraDrive, you would be shocked by what can be salvaged. Here are the top five items you had no idea we could recover data from.

1. Voltage-damaged hard drives

Although solid state drives are becoming more and more common, hard disk drives are still some of the most common ways we see data being physically stored. One of the most common reasons for the failed hard drives we work on at TeraDrive is a power supply spike. This can happen from static electricity or even an electrical storm in the area. 

Whatever the case, a sudden irregularity in the power supply to your hard drive can lead to serious damage. Ideally, a power spike will damage the printed circuit board, or PCB, rather than any internal part of the drive responsible for storing your data. Most PCBs are equipped with certain fail-safe devices which are meant to take the brunt of a power surge without causing further damage. This is usually either in the form of fuses, which will redirect excess electricity to your computer’s ground, or diodes, which will open when a surge is detected and prevent the electricity from affecting the rest of the drive. If one of these fail-safe measures has been tripped, then they’ll remain in this failed state even after the power levels have returned to normal. It’s also possible for damage to occur to the PCB even with these measures in place, since they may not always work quickly enough to completely protect the rest of the device.

If the affected hard drive is inside of your computer, you may find that the computer will no longer switch on, or that it will turn on for a moment before switching off again. If it’s an external drive, the internal platter may not spin when you plug it in, since it’s no longer receiving power. Although these are actually protective measures to safeguard your computer and drive from further damage, it can be a stressful moment to realize your drive has been ‘fried’ by a power surge. 

Fortunately, TeraDrive has extensive experience in recovering data from hard drives after a power surge. When you bring in your drive, we’ll quickly diagnose the entire device for any damage, and determine which components are responsible for the failure. From here, we get to work on fixing the PCB or adopting a new one, while configuring it to work with the failed drive, all in order to reunite you with your data as soon as possible.

2. Soggy smartphones

If you’ve dropped your phone in the bathtub, the ocean, or even a pitcher of beer, it might seem like the end of the world. Suddenly, you’re regretting not springing for the waterproof case, and painfully lamenting the loss of all your photos, messages, notes, and contacts. However, don’t lose hope! TeraDrive has successfully recovered all manner of data from phones suffering from moisture damage, including photos and videos, as well as any data stored in your apps such as texts in Whatsapp. 

The most important thing in ensuring a complete recovery of files from your water-damaged smartphone is to act quickly. Once water enters the circuitry, corrosion can spread quickly, destroying components piece by piece. 

When you bring your phone to TeraDrive, we assess the best course of action depending on the type of phone, the state it’s in, and how long it’s been since it was submerged. We employ a few methods, including the chip-off procedure, where we carefully remove the phone’s memory chip from the circuitry to access the data directly. If you’re able to get your soggy smartphone to us quickly enough, we can confidently say you have strong odds of recovering most, if not all, of the data within.

3. Burnt hard disk drives

One of the most extreme physical failures that can possibly happen to a hard disk drive, fire damage is no joke. It’s certainly easy to take one look at a scorched drive and assume the files inside are a total write-off, but you might be surprised. 

Although it’s one of the more challenging data recovery scenarios, TeraDrive has had a high success rate with at least partial recovery from burnt hard drives. When we receive a hard drive that’s been retrieved from a house fire, for instance, we start with a thorough analysis. From here, we can determine what parts of the drive are likely to be salvageable, and then get to work. Depending on exactly what type of conditions the drive was exposed to, we will focus our efforts on carefully desoldering, removing, cleaning, and transferring key parts of the drive. Sometimes, even if the drive’s printed circuit board (PCB) is burnt beyond a hope of recovery, information can still be retrieved. In short, you might be surprised at what can be recovered from a burnt hard drive.

4. Corrupted solid state drives

A far less tangible issue than any physical failure with a hard drive, solid state drives, or SSDs, are most likely in need of data recovery after a logical failure. Perhaps your SSD has simply reached the end of its life cycle, and quit on you unexpectedly. Maybe it’s been improperly removed from your computer one too many times. Or perhaps it’s been fried by a rogue power surge. Whatever the case, a corrupted SSD can be a very frustrating situation. However, you shouldn’t give up on your solid state drive. Bring it into our recovery lab, and our technicians will get to work on data recovery with our proprietary software developed in house. 

5. Water damaged flash drives

If you’ve left your USB stick in your pants pocket before running through the washing machine, you might be wondering if you’ll ever see the contents on it again. It’s true that water condensation poses a huge risk to circuitry of any kind, including what you’ll find in your typical flash drive. Although submerging the drive in water will certainly do the trick to wreck the internal components, even leaving it exposed to extremely high heat can lead to gradual build up of condensation inside, causing a physical failure that can make a home recovery nearly impossible. Thankfully, TeraDrive has the tools and the know-how to extract the data off of your water-damaged flash drive, and return it back to you safely. Just make sure to check your pockets before laundry day next time!

If there’s anything you take away from this list of surprising data recovery scenarios, it’s that nothing is truly ever lost. No matter how hopeless the situation, there’s almost always a possibility of at least recovering some, if not all, of your data. If you think you’re in the midst of an unfixable data storage item, we’re always looking for a new challenge – so call TeraDrive today!

Comments? Send us an email