Storage problems

What may be wrong with my data storage device?

Data may appear to be lost or inaccessible because of the variety of reasons. To better understand what may have gone wrong, refer to the top ten data recovery scenarios below:

Physical sector damage

A sector is the smallest unit of allocation for disk type media. A sector, for most all disk type media, holds 512 bytes of data although the sector and all of its components is actually larger than that. There are many sectors on a hard drive, for example, a 40 gigabyte hard drive will have approximately 80 million sectors available to store data. A single unreadable sector can corrupt an entire database.
Sector damage can be caused by several different things. The most common of which is head bounce where the heads have actually touched the surface of the media. Another is media degradation wherein the magnetic media itself is fading and losing its periodicity. Due to file system fragmentation, all possible sectors must be read from the drive and sometimes can take a while; we need your patience here.

Corrupted system track area

The system track area of a hard drive is data that is written by the manufacturer and works in conjunction with the logic control circuitry. This area starts at track minus 1 through about track minus 6 depending on the make and model.
If the system track becomes corrupted, the drive can show symptoms of physical failure on many levels even though it is a logical problem. It is an extremely complex area of the drive and often very difficult to diagnose and repair. We must manually reprogram this system area in order to gain access to the files in the data area.


Failed Head Rack Assembly

The Head Rack Assembly (HRA) is the latticework that supports the read/write heads; there is one head per surface. Attached to the back end of the assembly is a voice coil positioned between two ferrite magnets. Energizing the voice coil will drive the read/write heads to the location on the media for reading or writing.

When this device fails, the drive will typically make a clicking sound. The only choice here is to replace and realign the failed HRA with one that matches it from a “donor” drive. This transplant procedure is performed in a clean room environment by highly skilled engineers. This procedure does not fix your drive for you to reuse but instead enables us the chance to acquire the raw data (sectors) from the drive. If we have a good sector dump from the drive and the file system is not affected, then we will be able to see the folder and file structure that you were used to seeing and recover your data.


Failed logic control circuitry

The logic control circuitry for a hard drive is actually a small computer that has many components and many functions. Components for this small computer are similar to the host computer that the drive functions with. It has memory, firmware, and a CPU. Some of the functions performed are things like maintaining constant spindle RPM, Head Rack positioning, keeping track of media errors and much more.

When this device fails, the drive may make a clicking sound, not spin at all or may cause your computer to not even power on. This failure can also, and typically does, cause damage to internal drive components. The only choice here is to repair the unit or replace it with one that matches it from a “donor” drive and then transfer the original flash memory contents. This procedure does not fix your drive for you to reuse but instead enables us the chance to acquire the raw data (sectors) from the drive. If we have a good sector dump from the drive and the file system is not affected, then we will be able to see the folder and file structure that you were used to seeing and recover your data.

Failed Spindle Motor Bearings


Bearing issues can cause problem that range from induced noise into the subsystems all the way to being completely frozen. The latter is a very complex procedure requiring the media stack to be transplanted into a “donor” drive.
Bearing issues are caused by normal wear, overheated host computers and impact seen commonly in tipped over external drives.

The transplant procedure is performed in a clean room environment only by highly skilled engineers.

Corrupted File System – Data Recovery Services


file system for a computer hard drive is needed to arrange the drive and keep track of where data is written. The file system has many components all of which are critical. It will consist of a boot sector, partition table, MFT or FAT or super block, etc.

The most important component of a file system is the table that is used to keep track of all of your files and their fragments. The NTFS file system uses an MFT (Master File Table) and the FAT32 file system uses a FAT (File Allocation Table), they are similar in their function. When they become corrupted, unreadable or overwritten, a fragmented file could be lost forever. We must try to repair your file system, at least to a point, so that our recovery tools will work with the volume.

Failed RAID array data recovery services

A RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Drives) has many different levels and can be fault tolerant or not. For example, a RAID 5 array, which is very common, is fault tolerant because of the parity information that is striped across the members. If one drive fails, the parity is calculated and the data is retrieved. If two drives fail, the RAID collapses.
RAID level 0 is also a striped schema but is not fault tolerant because it does not use parity information. RAID 0 is implemented for performance only. There are many levels of RAID and all descriptions are beyond the scope of this document.

Initially, we must acquire images from each of the members of the array. This separates out physical issues and gives us working copies. Depending upon the level of RAID, we must read every sector of every drive in order to insure a quality recovery. Sometimes this requires rebuilding drives in order to acquire the needed raw data. Once we have all the raw data possible, we analyze the patterning of the data and merge it back together, and if all is well, we will produce the logical structure that you were used to seeing and copy the data to a stable media.

Physically Damaged Flash Memory Data Recovery Services

This damage was caused by something that you may already know of and is visually apparent. If not, we do know that these devices are very sensitive to static discharge and high humidity. There are many types of Flash media and many applications for them. Mainly they are used in cameras, cell phones and portable “Thumb” drives (USB).

When these devices fail due to physical problems, they will not be recognized correctly by the host appliance. They must be disassembled and repaired or the Flash chip/s removed from the PCB and read on special equipment in order to recover their contents. This is a very complex procedure as most devices today contain more than one chip. The schema used to link these multiple memory chips together can be extremely difficult to reverse engineer.

Deleted or overwritten data


If you have repartitioned, reformatted or deleted data from the drive. In these situations we must scavenge the drive for all possible data.

The yield of good versus corrupted recovered files is dependent upon a few things such as the condition of the MFT, FAT or Inode Tree (where they overwritten?), the amount of new data written to the drive after the fact, and how often the drive was de-fragmented. For example, a drive that was freshly de-fragmented before the accident may yield 95% good files. A drive that has never been de-fragmented may yield 95% corrupted files. In any case, the scavenging routines must be run to get anything back. This is the only type of drive recovery procedure that cannot be guaranteed…we will get everything possible.


Hard drive media damage

Media damage is caused when the read/write heads punch through the air bearing (created when the drive spins up) and contacts the surface of the platters. When this happens, the heads scratch the surface destroying needed information for the drive to work at all, not to mention destroying your data.

This photo represents severe surface damage. In this particular case, the drive did not shut down after the initial failure. The drive continued to spin and Head Rack assembly continued to traverse the media causing the mottled look that you see.

Your drive may be no where near this damaged but any visible concentric scoring of the media renders the drive unrecoverable.

What should I do if I suspect my drive has failed?
Shut down the computer to avoid further damage to the drive and your data. Send your drive to a professional recovery company with a clean room environment. Alwasat Gate Data Recovery has state-of-the-art clean room facilities at all Lab locations. If you value your data, please read our “The Do’s and Do Not’s of Data Loss” section.

How much is the recovery going to cost?
Each recovery case is different, and the cost is based on the complexity of the problem. Choose a recovery company that will take the time to examine your drive and perform a full diagnostic before they attempt to recover your valuable data. Alwasat Gate Data Recovery offers a free diagnostic evaluation and a “No Data – No Charge” policy.

Should I ship my drive or can I visit your office and drop it off?
For your convenience, Alwasat Gate Data Recovery has 4 Labs and numerous Service Centers across the US. Whenever you are ready to start the free diagnostic evaluation of your media, call us at 877-304-7981 and bring your storage device to our nearest location. You can rest assured that your device is in the hands of top professionals. If you prefer to ship your media, just email us or send it to our Lab .

Who will work on my data recovery case?
You’re trusting your data to someone you have never met before and possibly only spoken to on the phone. Don’t be afraid to ask for qualifications and the number of years of experience of the engineers who will perform the recovery. Each of Alwasat Gate Data Recovery’s engineers has a degree in Computer Science and/or Electrical Engineering.

What is the company’s history?
Alwasat Gate Data Recovery has been in the IT business for more than three decades and employs the most experienced data recovery engineers. If you are going to get your data recovered, don’t deal with unnamed individuals hiding behind an anonymous website. Use a company that has a reputable name and has been in the business for a number of years.

Can you offer any references from past clients?
A reputable and trusted company should offer references from a wide range of clients. On the Alwasat Gate Data Recovery website, you can find testimonials provided by well known businesses and top government agencies we have retrieved data for. We also have an impressive list of Corporate Business Continuity Program partners.

What is your success rate?
Don’t be fooled by exaggerated claims of a 100% success rate. Data recovery can be a complicated process with inherent physical and logical limitations that determine what can actually be done. Even if a sales person sounds convincing, it doesn’t mean that engineers know how to handle complicated recoveries. Alwasat Gate Data Recovery has a proven track record of 95%+ success and often recovers data other companies can’t.

Will you outsource the recovery?
Alwasat Gate Data Recovery does not outsource recoveries. All work is done in house by our data recovery experts. Not all companies claiming to offer data recovery are actually capable of doing all types of recoveries. Always ask if their location has a clean room and tools to do the recovery in-house. You don’t want your valuable data traveling from one company to another and your storage device risking further damage.

What happens if I don’t get my data back?
Alwasat Gate Data Recovery is committed to ensure total compliance with the industry standards and offers a “No Data – No Charge” policy. With our company, on standard rate pricing, you will not be charged if we are unable to recover your data. Some companies will charge you for the recovery even if they are unsuccessful. The fact is you shouldn’t pay for a recovery if data isn’t recovered.

Will I be contacted before any major work is done?
You should be contacted during all steps of a data recovery process and be notified about any and all recovery costs. After the free evaluation of your device is done, Alwasat Gate Data Recovery will contact you with an all-inclusive cost quotation. If you decide to proceed with the recovery, we will assign your project to the next available engineer. We also offer online project tracking to keep you informed along the way to insure you are aware of the current progress of your recovery.

How will my data be returned to me?
Many companies have an additional charge for a return media. Alwasat Gate Data Recovery will return your data on a free external hard drive, flash drive, DVD, or even your own media if you request.

Why should I choose Alwasat Gate Data Recovery over another company?

  • More than three decades of experience
  • Industry leading research and development team
  • Partnerships with major hardware and computer manufacturers such as Western Digital, Hitachi, Dell, and Acer
  • Unsurpassed success rate and the fastest turnaround time in the business
  • All precautions are taken to ensure secure and confidential data processing
  • Member of the Certified Fraud Examiner Association and the High Tech Crime Investigation Association


To help you get your lost data back feel free to call us :

mobile : +973-33217825

Office: +973-77170102