The story of an electric scooter, a steel fabricator and data recovery from a Toshiba hard disk

A structural designer for a steel fabrication company recently contacted us who experienced a rather unfortunate data loss event. He had been using his Acer laptop in his van to access his Strumis steel fabrication design application before visiting a site. He got interrupted by a phone call, closed the lid of his laptop and placed it on the passenger seat. The phone call ended and he drove off. However, 15 minutes later, when traversing a busy intersection an electric scooter sped off the footpath veering directly into his path. This necessitated some hard braking. This caused his Acer laptop to take flight into the van’s footwell as Mr. Speedy Gonzales scooter driver disappeared down the road.

With much trepidation he opened the lid of the laptop. The screen was ok, but they system had now turned itself off. He powered his Windows 10 system back on only to receive the message:

“Your PC couldn’t start properly. A required device isn’t connected or can’t be accessed”

Upon multiple restarts, this message came up repeatedly. He took the laptop to his company’s IT support department who could not access his files either. They recommended Drive Rescue.  

Diagnosis

Our diagnostics revealed that one of the read-write heads had failed. This problem was not helped be the fact that the laptop was switched on during the fall.

“A hard disk that is on when it falls will cause more damage”

The user was very unlucky in this case because, at the time of the fall, their laptop system was still on and hard disk was still spinning. A hard disk that is on (i.e. spinning) when it falls will always incur more damage. This is because the disk-heads will literally crash into the disk platters damaging themselves and in worst case scenarios scouring areas of the platter which hold data. If the laptop had been switched off before the fall – the user might not have needed a data recovery service at all. This is because, for most modern 2.5” and 3.5” S-ATA hard disks, when the disk is turned off the disk-heads are safely parked on the drive ramp. This is like a special “safe” area where heads can park when not in use.

Data recovery from (MK7575GSX) 750GB Toshiba hard disk

In another sense, this user was extremely lucky as platter damage was minimal. In our Class-100 clean room, we used a customised “head-comb” designed for the “MK” series of Toshiba disk, to gently remove the damaged Head Disk Assembly (HDA) from the chassis. Here extreme care must be taken to avoid any contact that the heads or HDA might have with the platters. Once removed, we inserted a new exact-match HDA locking it into place with the security pin. Once the main chamber was closed, we imaged the disk slowly.

The resulting recovery was very pleasing with 97% of files (Word, Excel, .JPEG and .BSWX Strumis files) being recovered. Months of steel fabrication designs for new building projects across Ireland were reunited with their thrilled creator. And hours of painstaking drawing reconstruction work were saved.

Drive Rescue, Dublin Ireland offer a complete data recovery service for Toshiba 2.5″ and 3.5″ hard disks. We have successfully recovered from models such as the MQ01ABD050, MQ01ACF050, MQ01ABD100, MK3275GSX, MK5075GSX, MK5059GSXP, DT01ACA200, DR01ACA050, P300, L200 (500GB, 1TB and 2TB Mobile Hard Disk), X300 and most models of Toshiba Canvio USB external disk http://www.datarecoverydublin.ie