Mechanical Failures:

Mechanical failures are common and result in the hard drive not operating correctly. iCube Development can recover data from mechanical failures.

Mechanical issues are not easy to fix.

Mechanical components are complex and usually require expensive tools and donor parts to fix.

Without working mechanical components, hard drives cannot read information from the magnetic surface of the platters. In order to repair mechanical failures the responsible failed part must be identified and then replaced from a compatible donor.

Heads inside a hard drive can be compared to the needle of a record player. If the needle is bent or broken, the record will not play. The same can be said for the head(s) of a hard drive.

Software cannot fix mechanical components (despite many claims found on the Internet).

A mechanical failure can be very complex. Be wary of anyone or any company advertising low prices. It is not possible to recover data from a mechanically failed hard drive for "cheap". The average cost of a mechanically failed drive which requires donor parts ranges between $800 - $1400. Consider getting a free hard drive evaluation before you try to make repairs yourself.

iCube Development uses a fast recovery process to recover data from mechanical failures.

Typical Failure Types:

  • Head or head stack failure.
  • Surface damage or magnetic failure.
  • Spindle or bearing seizures.
  • Head parking ramp assembly failure.
  • Landing zone failure.

If you suspect your drive has a mechanical failure, do not power on your hard drive. Mechanical failures do not self-repair. Instead, they often get worse.

Typical Failure Reasons:

  • Sudden physical impacts (resulting in the heads breaking, bending, or becoming misaligned).
  • Sustained exposure to high temperatures (resulting in the warping of metal components).
  • Sudden power failures (resulting in the heads not parking correctly).
  • Age (magnets will lose their magnetic properties over time).
  • Manufacture defects and / or poor design.

The myth behind the cleanroom.

A cleanroom will ensure that your drive does not become contaminated.

iCube Development (Calgary) Ltd., uses both a cleanroom and laminar workbenches to perform mechanical inspections and repairs.

  • Density of hard drives is always increasing. As the density increases, disk platters squeeze more and more data in tracks. As a result, the fragility of hard drives has also increased. Hard drive contamination is real. Opening a drive without proper equipment and knowledge will result in data loss - more now than ever.
  • Consider the average size of a hard drive in 2005 was 80GB. In 2022 Seagate reported the average capacity of a drive was 7800GB. Compared to 2005, on the same 3.5" platter any dust, debris, or microscopic contaminant is devastational and drastically impacts data recovery.
  • Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) introduced in 2013 further increases platter density but also increases the complexity of operation. Data loss caused by foreign particulates is substantially increased in SMR drives.

Do not put your hard drive in the freezer.

Why it is one of the worst things you could ever do!

Our Calgary data recovery lab features humidity and temperature controls with 24/7 monitoring.

  • Metals expand when they get warmer, and they contract when they get cooler. Most hard drives are not air tight and a ventilation hole allows for air pressure equalization. Placing a hard drive in the freezer causes the metals to contract and subjects the platters to humidity and condensation which can quickly destroy your data.

Data recovery labs do not charge to drag and drop.

The amount of data you want recovered does not influence cost.

Although a partial recovery is sometimes possible without replacing parts, most data recovery companies will charge you the time and costs associated with replacing the entire magnetic head assembly.

  • The speed at which a hard drive operated in 2005 compared to 2022 is negligible. In 2005 typical transfer speeds were ~80MB per second. In 2022 realistic transfer speeds were ~100MB per second. Data recovery cases take longer because the capacity of hard drives have increased but the speed at which they can be read has not.

Can I Fix Mechanical Failures Myself?

Why did my hard drive fail and can I fix it myself?

No. Due to the complexity of modern hard drives it would be near impossible for the average person to open and replace parts without the use of a cleanroom, specific extraction tools (combs), specialized software, and experience. There are hundreds of models of hard drives, each model has a different method to correctly perform extraction, repair, and / or replacement.


Before you start trying to fix mechanical failures issues yourself.

Attempting to repair mechanical failures without the use of specialized equipment and knowledge may result in the loss of data or the inability to recover data. iCube Development provides this information without warranty and for educational purposes only.

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