data recovery

data recovery – whew! that encompasses quite a bit of territory. from iphone data recovery to flash drive data recovery, computer hard drives that have failed. in this line of work, i can’t think of any other part of my job that can be so high pressure, yet so rewarding if successful. most times we are dealing with information that is very very important. i’ve personally recovered years of photos, videos from baby pictures to information that have helped people in court cases such as divorce to criminal prosecution. on one such job, we were able to recover over 30GB of data from a broken flash drive used by an undercover narcotics detective that had snapped in half. there was information on there from informants to local gang related activity – we were able to recover it all – confidentially.

some data recovery jobs are technically harder than others. other’s are more familiar and easier to access the data than others. all jobs come with a certain amount of pressure.  you are holding in your hands memories, that if the job is done correctly, will be preserved. if you make a mistake, they could be gone forever. and may times, the damage is so severe that nothing can be done. but you never know until you look.

one such case, involved a young woman who had a sudden stop in her vehicle and her laptop crashed into the floorboard from where it was resting in the passenger seat. this macbook had her flashdrive still loaded into the USB port and had cracked this flash drive in half. we have dealt with cracked flash drives, but this damage had cracked the data chip inside clean in two. we contacted a specialist and he concurred that nothing could be done. this drive contain the only copy of her dissertation/thesis that she had spent the last two years of graduate school on. all gone.

data recovery hattiesburg

there are times that we have had to outsource our jobs when we find that we are not able to complete the job in house. in those cases, we have relationships built with individuals/companies that have specialized in those certain areas that we have vetted and used to help us get to that missing data.

some jobs involve the community on a national and international level. there was a story of two young boys that were sailing and were missing. the boat turned up several months later and a salt encrusted iphone was found inside the boat. talk among our repair community revolved around data recovery options, but we all know how bad salt water can be to electronic devices.

i have other friends who have helped recover photos from relatives who have passed away. very high pressure data recovery situation. priceless photos and videos that could either be gone forever, or recovered with a bit of skill and luck.

one of the jobs that i got on my desk was an iphone that had several years of photos and information that had never been backed up – not to the icloud or to any computer. each time the client updated his iphone, he had just transferred his data from the old iphone to the new iphone. and ultimately ended up with an iphone 6S with 128GB of data storage capacity. years of photos and data – photos of his children, business files and information – all locked up.

the phone had no apparent visible damage – none. outside or even inside. it was just dead. but he had let me know that he had spiked it after a disappointing call during a football game. now he had a case on it and there are no moving parts to an iphone like with older computers, so the damage was not readily visibly apparent. but something was broken or disconnected, but what?

this begins the process of discovery and elimination. you begin to eliminate the easiest and least intrusive choices before digging deeper and possibly making the situation worse. nothing more frustrating than adding to the problem by moving too quickly.

the normal, simpler things are checked buy substituting “known good” working components to see if something changes. nothing did. now a tricky thing with electronics is that you can actually have a working device, but it may not be visibly apparent that it is actually on. you may have a screen that is dead, but still get a vibration or an audible alert or hear ringing. this phone was dead dead dead.

so when the least obtrusive methods don’t work, that’s when we begin to dig deeper. and digging deeper is destructive to a certain point. so care is taken to do this digging so that we don’t create any extra problems or destroy the tentative thread that is still connected to our precious data.

when we are dealing with a component level issue, we need to be able to see the components. so we remove the motherboard from the chassis and remove the shielding over the components. all of this takes time. it involves a large amount of heat as well. certain temperatures are used and areas avoided or shielded to avoid problem spots. once we have the components exposed we can then begin some tests.

we first look for shorts on the various power and data lines on the device using schematics and boardview software to identify those pathways. i eventually discovered a line that was shorted. one method to get to your data is to relieve (remove) the short. sometimes just removing the component will allow the phone to then begin to boot, while other components need to be replaced.

now that i found a line that was shorted, i needed to discover which of the varied and many components on this line were the culprit. this could be one component or several, but we don’t know which one. if one component is shorted, the entire line will be shorted. this doesn’t mean that the entire line is bad, just that one spot could be the problem for the entire line and the phone not booting.

one such way is to patch into the line and inject a limited amount of power using an external power source. also known as a DCPS or direct current power source. this allows an almost unlimited amount of power combinations. to attach the DCPS we need to find a logical point to patch into the line and so a point was chosen and we got the line soldered onto one of the components.

data recovery hattiesburg iphone

i try to take photos of important steps, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, you pass some moments by. in this situation, i had begun to inject some power, and a certain area of the board began to heat up. excitedly i removed the component and retested to see if the short had been relieved. it was still there… very frustrating. at this point i took a video.

to see where components are heating up, we apply a freeze spray to the board to see which areas defrost the spray quicker than others. as you can see from the following video a certain area will begin to defrost quickly. the trouble was, the component in that specific spot had been removed. and if you look very closely, you can see the heat emanate from one of the two pads that the missing component had been attached to. as soon as i complete the circuit, you can see a very shiny silver dot appear through the frost. now this was very puzzling to me and it took me a bit to finally figure out what was actually going on. because with the component removed, there shouldn’t be any heat emanating from that spot.

an idea popped into my head and i got out my ruler and measured the point exactly where the heat was emanating from. then i turned over the motherboard and measured out the point on the opposite side. i then compared this spot with the schematic and board view and determined that indeed there was a component on this side that was still a part of this pathway that we had been testing. i set up the camera, refroze the board yet again and looked very closely at the place i was expecting to see something.

and sure enough… right there was the culprit!

data recovery iphone hattiesburg

this was a very exciting update to the data recovery problem. actually identifying a short on this line. next step, to remove the component. now this component is very very tiny and is located right next to a very critical part of the iphone and any damage to this area could stop us in our tracks.

data recovery iphone hattiesburg

but we managed to get the component removed safely and checked yet again to see if the short had been relieved and YES! no more short!

put it back into the chassis to see if we have life and YES! the apple logo appears.

data recovery iphone hattiesburg

quickly, we access the iphone and begin the process of downloading the data. (there is my trusty hockey puck again – lol)

data recovery iphone hattiesburg

data recovery iphone hattiesburg

this client had over 100GB of information that we were able to recover. not only were we able to recover all his photos and videos, we were able to do a complete backup of his phone along with all of his contacts and other data.

a successful process. job well done. personally rewarding as well as financially. each job is different. it seems that no two are alike, but the satisfaction of being able to bring the client back together with their information is a great feeling unlike any other job that i do.

so if you have some data that you felt was lost. maybe even something that some other tech has already looked at. leave me a message with details and photos if needed and i will look it over and discuss it with you. all information and data recovered is kept confidential and treated with respect.