FAQ - Faulty Hard drives, Pendrives, SD cards Data Recovery​

The first thing to do is stop using your device by switching off/disconnecting the PC or laptop or pull out the pendrive (cut power to the device, it is the safest action to preserve your data!). You will have much better chances of recovery if the device is unpowered the moment you realise the files are missing. Next, send us a text message ‘I LOST MY DATA’ on (+356) 79437846, or email us at info@omgdatarecovery.com (without using the drive that contains lost files). We will help you fully to recover your lost files.

Keep the laptop unpowered as the drive may have incurred a mechanical G shock. Such shocks, when beyond a certain tolerance, will damage the drive and the data if powered. Call us on (+356) 79437846 before you repower the laptop.

If the problem is the hard disk, that is our expertise and we will certainly do it. For other faults regarding anything else except the hard disk drive, pen drive or SSD (Solid State Device), we suggest you contact your PC vendor or a PC repair shop. We only do Data Recovery but we’re experts at it.

The hard disk has failed. The noise is the actuator arm unsuccessfully attempting reads and cycles back and forth the movement limits about once per second. Data may be retrieved by replacing the mechanical or electronic part that failed by firmware reprogramming, PCB repair or swap, spindle repair, head stack assembly or platter transplant. Contact us for data recovery.

It can be a multitude of things. Provided that the hard drive is recognised in the BIOS and mechanically sound, a boot failure is most likely a logical fault such as a corrupted boot sector or partition table. Your data may still be intact but inaccessible. Do not attempt to recover with off the shelf software unless you are absolutely sure what you’re doing. Contact us for data recovery.

You may have a electronic failure or firmware failure. Your data is in all likelihood, intact, but the drive must be repaired correctly, or else the drive may be easily bricked. Contact us if you have this problem.

Switch off the drive immediately! Hard drives don’t beep. What you are hearing is most probably the result of a head crash, specifically a very fine high pitched noise caused by the destroyed heads burrowing furrows on the platters at regular intervals with head movement attempting to read. Data is being permanently destroyed on some tracks of the hard disk but may still be intact on others. We can lift data from either side of the damaged area. Certain Maxtor DiamondMax 9/10 family drives may sound a 3 tone melody during a failure. That noise is neither coming out of a speaker but it is produced by the motor on failed bearings and also a high frequency jog by the voice coil. This is a major job but can be done in most cases if switched off early enough. Contact us.

There is a difference between a SPILL and DROWNING. For an accidental liquid spill just follow the notes below. An exception is for drowning in sea water: Place the hard drive in tupperware immersed in the same sea water. This action will greatly slow down the aggressive alkaline corrosion on the media platters. Bring it to lab as fast as possible in the tupperware and we’ll take it from there. For other liquid damage please follow the notes below.

Liquid infiltration is listed here in ascending order of emergency:

1. Bottled or tap water, alcohol, tea, coffee, squashes Submit the drive within 24hrs

2. Carbonated drinks, beer, wine, orange juice Submit the drive within 12hrs

3. All body fluids, semi-solid foods, soup, honey, oil Submit the drive within 6hrs

4. Sea water, toilet water, swimming pool, soapy water Submit the drive as fast as possible

5. Super corrosive acids/alkali, vinegar, hydraulic fluid, battery acid, detergents, drain unblockers CALL US NOW! DO NOT TOUCH WITHOUT PROTECTION! DO NOT RINSE!

DO NOT POWER THE COMPUTER HARD DRIVE! DO NOT USE HAIR DRYERS! They will damage pcbs and erase onboard drive settings!

There is a good chance of recovery as long as the drive has been retrieved as fast as possible and the user …

– Did not power the drive. Powering a drive that has been damaged by liquids may physically render the drive totally unrecoverable due head/media abrasion

– Did not open the drive. Opening the drive in amateur attempt to clean it is another way how to destroy the content.

– Did not change pcb. SATA drives in the vast majority of them have specific firmware data only valid for that particular drive (not model!). Changing the pcb may change drive characteristics, burn the heads and render the drive expensive to recover.

OMG Data Recovery is a lab that is equipped specifically for hard drive disasters, and we are the only ones in Malta. We chemically neutralise damage under specific lab procedures, restore/replace the mechanical components, repair the electronics, then realign, reprogram, recalibrate the drive prior imaging. Your safest bet to the data is to STOP & CALL. Contact us on (+356) 79437846 or info@omgdatarecovery.com

We can read unstable sectors on drives in lab. However please note that the quality of success of the recovery directly depends on how much the drive was stressed. Stress is the attempt by software and usb connection to attempt to read a faulty drive. If the drive is faulty and ‘hangs’ somewhere along a read (or worse a software scan) then the chances of ruining the drive is greatly increased. Contact us when you can and prevent further damage by keeping the drive off.

The fridge/freezer method (myth) is a hard drive destroyer! It will definitely damage it to the point of destruction if not treated immediately. Why: Hard drives are not sealed. Neither they have a vacuum. The heads need to fly on air molecules. The hard drive lid has portholes to equalize pressure, hence the ability to use it in a laptop in an aircraft. Once in the freezer, water vapour in the air condenses and later freezes, yes inside the drive. Worse still once the drive is taken out of the freezer, it is subject to a second condensing effect as the cold metal alloys hit ambient air. Some people even wrap it in a bag! Even worse! The destruction occurs in 2 phases: First, as today’s heads fly about 10 to 15 nm (1/1000 of a human hair) over the platter at an angular velocity of about 85km/hr, you can imagine what happens when, instead of skimming the surface, they collide with a drop of water! Second, a latent defect will surface in time due to corrosion, imbalance etc. The myth may have worked for 10 minutes in a drive of the 90s when sectors were addressed via a servo head and the materials were in those days subject to expansion and contraction. Today the drives have advanced alloys and more importantly do not have servo heads and surfaces. Unfortunately in Malta there are too many amateurs who read internet myths and employ them dangerously on people’s data without care! We go to extreme lengths to preserve your data. Send us an email if you think your drive has been in the cold hell of a fridge. We can recover from hard drive cold temperature exposure if the user allowed it to warm up slowly (2 hours min) before powering it up.

Yes. Iomega is an enclosure manufacturer like Lacie, Verbatim, IcyBox, Freecom etc. The enclosure has a SATA-USB adapter. The drive inside would be a Seagate,Western Digital, Hitachi, Samsung or Toshiba. You should check the power supply first. Do this once. If you still have trouble, contact us on 79 437846 or info@omgdatarecovery.com

Yes, provided that you have not filled it up to capacity. The empty space might contain partial photos or even whole ones. We can recover those as well.

Yes we can. We have a dedicated lab, special tools, specific procedures, a huge library of drives and access to over a million different types of pcbs worldwide to be able to recover drives with burnt or fried pcbs. Please note that only old drives used to work with common pcbs. Drives manufactured around 2002 and after cannot have their pcbs swapped. Each drive pcb belongs to that drive only. This is due to minute manufacturing differences between each different drive of the same model. Exchanging the pcb may also damage the drive. This is due to parameter differences within firmware which may even burn the heads. The best and cheapest way to recover your drive is to contact us without attempting recoveries that may damage the drive further.

Yes we do. Flash media such as SD cards, Pen drives and Solid State Devices (SSD) store data differently than hard drives. Logical failures, when the computer sees the media but cannot read it, are recoverable by software. Physical failures on the other hand is a different process. The data is stored in memory chips that are controlled by a controller chip. Most often than not, the removable media become unrecognisable due to a controller failure. In this case we remove the memory chip and read it through special hardware. The data is read would be scattered. We then use specialized software to rebuild and reorganise the data blocks into a file system where from we copy the files back on another media.

Contact us! We can recover those photos albeit partially. If neither Windows Picture and Fax Viewer nor Windows Picture Manager nor any other application can display the image, it is because the data necessary to uncompress the image is incomplete or gone. Our algorithmic software however attempts recovery by iteration and most often than not manages to recover a very high percentage of the corrupted images.

Yes we can most times. Contact us on info@omgdatarecovery.com

CHKDSK with the command line option /f uses a destructive method to recover data ie it writes the ‘lost chains to files’ on free space which may contain past data, including the files you actually lost. The files are written as filennnn.chk where nnnn is a number. Unfortunately we find that using chkdsk creates more problems and sometimes even further data loss and data recovery becomes more challenging and expensive. We can recover data from CHKDSK issues. The user, on realising data loss should always power down the system immediately and contact us on info@omgdatarecovery.com

We also do Western Digital HDDs. Other companies wrote them off because certain WD drives are notoriously difficult in certain recoveries. We will recover file system issues, firmware issues and PCB board (electronics) repair. However, certain other repairs that involve head stack or platter exchange involve a much higher cost on certain WD drives. This is because WD, unlike other drives, loose critical alignment during the operation. Although it is doable, it will be more costly than others due to the difficulty, instruments and time.

So is your data! Once the lid is opened the disks and head components are subjected to a multitude of hazards including dust that will damage heads and obliterate data, finger prints that will make paste on the disks obliterating more data, static electricity from the fingers burning the chip that amplifies electrical signals from the heads (pre amp). Lastly, a turn of the platter screws causing a platter movement of even 1 micrometer (about one hundredth the width of an average human hair) will render the data completely unrecoverable for ever. You can use the platters as a mirror, a coaster or a frisbee!

Yes of course. It’s free. We will let you know an estimate of the costs. Just contact us and optionally we will collect the hard drive in Malta for a small fee that is refunded after recovery. Or have it sent to us. For onsite analysis a small fee is incurred.

Yes. Call us and we will give you a step by step guide while on the phone. If you are really stuck, either bring the laptop/desktop to us in Lija or alternatively, we will come and remove it ourselves for a small fee.

Do not just throw it away! You have three options with us:

a) We will wipe your data securely from the hard disk for a fee

b) You can donate the hard disk to us for spares and we will wipe it securely for you – FREE + one free logical recovery within a year.

Of course! For a small fee we will use our high speed data systems to transfer or clone your drive.

Yes, but be prepared that some of the files may be overwritten by the re-installation of Windows.

Of course! The majority of cases we receive in fact have passed through some previous attempt of data recovery but resulting in further loss of data and higher challenges for us to recover the data. Prices will go up after failed attempts by third parties to recover data. We will assure you that we will keep the prices quoted if you followed our basic 3 item checklist that is to 1) SWITCH OFF THE POWER immediately you realise the data loss 2) CONTACT US immediately. Unfortunately the more attempts by third parties at data recovery, the costlier it is to recover. Therefore to keep costs down please switch off and contact us on (+356) 79 437846 or info@omgdatarecovery.com

This is one of the worst situations that can happen to a relatively recoverable hard drive. Friends amateur technicians who are not data recovery engineers with dedicated labs costing several hundred thousand euros, should not attempt opening the hard drive. Several faults will occur that will mask the original fault including dust particulates, static, finger grease, heads/platter alignment etc, rendering data recovery difficult, costly and even perhaps writing it off. Hence it is our policy that we do not accept opened drives from the general public. We will only accept such drives for forensic cases.

The pendrive suffered corruption of the file system or a physical failure of the controller chip. In both cases, the data may still be intact and we can recover it. It is important to gently pull out the pendrive as soon as you think it suffered a fault and contact us on (+356) 79 437846 or info@omgdatarecovery.com

DO NOT press Y to format. Your files will be recovered only if you switch off the computer and call us. The drive failed to recognise a valid file system and hence is asking you to format. We recover from these types of faults. Contact us immediately on (+356) 79 437846 or info@omgdatarecovery.com

If you think you can pull it out slowly, do so gently and try extracting it by pulling from the connector nearest to the USB port. Contact us for recovery as your data may still be 100% intact.

The pendrive suffered a physical fault of some sort and we need to analyse it. Do not attempt to uncover the circuitry, solder anything, physically push the chips etc. You may permanently damage the data. If you have data still on the pendrive we can recover it. It is important to gently pull out the pendrive as soon as you think it suffered a fault and contact us on (+356) 79 437846 or info@omgdatarecovery.com

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