Failing HGST Hard Disk Hereford

“Been considering buying a new computer for a long time and paid the price as it failed. Thanks for the hard work in recovering my documents and photos.”

Nigel Ryan, Hereford

A 1TB HGST hard disk drive arrived at our laboratory from Hereford. The hard disk from was examined by our hardware data recovery specialists who found no faults with the controller board or the read/write heads.

Our hardware engineers were able to secure a sector-by-sector image of the drive which was a long process as there were many unreadable bad sectors encountered. On the first scan approximately a million sectors were unread, with further scans made in an attempt to patch as many sectors as possible. At the end of the patching process, the number of unreadable bad sectors was reduced to approximately 30 thousand.

Part of the hard disk manufacturing process is to include a spare area on the platter into which bad sectors are swapped after they are encountered. This is because over time hard disk drives will slowly start to develop bad sectors, and by swapping them out to the spare area, allows a significant increase in the drive’s lifespan. Eventually the spare area will become exhausted, at which point any bad sector encountered cannot be swapped out, and will be presented to the computer.

Our data recovery specialists examined the secured image of the disk, which revealed that the partition table sector was unreadable. A search revealed a single 1TB NTFS file system contained on the drive across which the bad sectors were spread, some affecting the file and directory metadata. The file system was analysed and found to contain approximately 730GB of data comprising operating system and program files, photos, office documents and other assorted user files. A scan of the files revealed that most of the bad sectors were affecting system and program files, with only about a dozen office document and photo files which were damaged.

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