Damaged Hard Drive with Fingerprint Contamination

A client recently lost data a portable hard drive due mechanical failure. The external portable hard drive was contain the only copies of data the customer needed and had data going back years with multiple computers worth of information back to 2005. The drive was a Seagate External Backup Plus Portable Drive 1TB 2.5″. The exact model of the Drive was ST1000LM024.

Initial Failure and Fingerprint Contamination

The client did not realize the hard drive was physically bad and needs to be operated in clean room environment with specialized recovery tools and technology. The client had opened the drive, damaged the casing and left a fingerprint oil on the top platter.

The drive  had stuck heads.  Since the drive was opened outside of a clean room the recovery was much more complex and time consuming. The client did not know about the screw hidden under the cover and the top cover of the drive was bent while trying to pry it open. The read/write heads were also failed. I previously covered why it is such a bad idea to open a hard drive in this article.

Retrieving the Customers Files

A decontamination and cleaning of the fingerprint took place before attempting a recovery, then donor parts were sourced and the drive was recovered. The data was cloned to a new USB 3.0 1TB hard drive for and returned to the customer.  The total process for the decontamination, sourcing of parts, and retrieving the files took about 6 weeks.  After completion, the files were checked to make sure they were not corrupt and they were checked for data integrity.

Results were 99.99% Data Extraction

Overall, ~52,000 files were on the drive and all but 140 were recovered, non of the problem files which were needed by the customer. Then end result was 99.99% of the files were recovered and 100% of the files the customer needed were recover.

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Drive: Seagate External Backup Plus Portable Drive 2.5″ ST1000LM024 2013

Capacity: 1TB

Recovery Percentage: 99.99%

Clients Response: The client was amazed the outcome, professionalism and they can proudly give a recommendation for my services.