serving hattiesburg and the surrounding area.

(columbia, petal, purvis, sumrall, laurel, USM, jcjc, jones county, lamar county, forrest county)


failed seagate hard drive

data recovery from a failed 2008 seagate hard drive. this hard drive had been looked at previously from another place without success.

data recovery from a failed seagate hard drive. this hard drive had been looked at previously (2008 apparently from the sticker) from another place without success. the customer indicated that they had payed a couple hundred dollars already for this service. disappointed, but yet still hopeful that maybe one day the right place could recover the data. so here we are, 11 years later. what treasures could be recovered from this failed hard drive?!

failed seagate hard drive

i plugged the hard drive into my recovery harness and almost immediately i smell something burning… i quickly disconnected the drive. this was an interesting sign. smelling something burning with electronics can’t be a good thing, right? or can it?!

failed seagate hard drive

one of the things i do to track problems with electronics is look for shorts, or also known as shorts to ground. some shorts are very mild and hard to pinpoint. i have to use freeze spray and connect directly to the line and induce some amps to allow the damaged part to reveal itself. for a more in depth description, you can view one of our other blog posts here.

other shorts are more intense, and i do believe i had a very intense short to ground here. i hook back up to the harness and applied power and this time i placed the palm of my hand to the hard drive’s motherboard and felt something burn my skin. HOT! VERY HOT! one of the most intense hot spots i have ever felt. i quickly pinpointed the area and unplugged again.

failed seagate hard drive

after looking closely, i determine that this was a diode. this is a component that only allows the flow of current in one direction. and it was shorted to ground, or shorted. the idea of a repair is to first relieve the short and if needed, to replace the component.

now schematics for certain things are not widely available and after digging around, i determined that i would not be able to find one quickly. i remembered that i have many many old hard drives and began to dig into my collection to find another one from seagate, from a similar drive. i had several to pick from.

failed seagate hard drive

i found a similar drive and removed the diode from both drives and after review the diodes more closely and referencing some datasheets, i replaced the diode from the failed hard drive with diode from the donor.

failed seagate hard drive

now for the moment of truth… will relieving the short allow us access to what’s locked up inside? files, photos, etc – who knows what this drive holds. the ability to be able to view images and dusty memories long thought lost. let’s plug it back into the harness.

yes!!!!!!! we have access to the data… almost 106GB’s! that’s a lot of data… we were able to pull it all down and tuck it safely away for the customer’s view pleasure. i love data recovery!


i finally got to deliver the data in person. the customer began to scroll through the folders and photos the i had recovered on her large imac and landed on a folder that sparked her interest. a folder containing some photos that she had not seen since 2007 – 12 years ago.

what i saw, were images of a young, happy couple with their brand new recently born baby daughter. photos with happy smiles all around, sprinkled with some earlier ones of the mother in the later stages of pregnancy. a photographic record of the arrival of a new member to the family.

this happy family we were looking at was the client’s daughter, son in law and the new grandbaby. a group of photos that had been taken approximately 15 years ago. the granddaughter was now 15 years old and many had been taken the day of her birth.

we ultimately landed on a photo of the happy father with a wide grin, holding his brand new, newborn infant daughter in his arms. a young man of about 20 years old.

as we looked at this photo, the client began to tell me the deeper story of what we were looking at. the photos now in front of us were the only known photographs of the young baby and her father together, as his life was lost in a tragic auto accident, just a few short weeks after these photos had been taken. photos thought long gone due to the failure of that hard drive. photos that the young wife thought she would never see again. photos that the young granddaughter had never seen and would never have been able to see, if i hadn’t recovered this data.

yet here we were, looking at these precious photos. small windows now open to the past. like we had stepped into another room to a happier time. a link to their history. no longer lost.

the client, though happy to have the photos recovered, also lamented about how to let her wounded daughter know that these photos had been recovered and were now available. a raw, thinly knit wound as tragic as losing a spouse would be deep, and from what i understood, not yet fully healed. one wonders if certain kinds of wounds can even ever fully heal. from what she said, under the surface, it was still fresh and that depression could easily well up when memories were revisited, even after so many years had passed. and here was a fresh batch.

i didn’t have an answer for her.

later, as i reflected, i felt that those memories were going to be a painful, yet ultimately healing part of their journey on the road to recovery from that tragic loss of life. the photos would mean something different to each of the people bound to those images. i guess everyone deals with loss in a different way. and possibly depends on what stage they find themselves in. one day, the memory may be too painful, yet desperately needed on another. having that option seems to me to be best.

i’m glad to have been a part of being able to have provided that option.

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