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External To Internal Hard Drive Platter Swap For Data Recovery


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#1
072707

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If I remove the platter from my failing Maxtor 500 GB external usb hard drive and place it in a 1.5 TB http://www.tigerdire...e...2&CatId=139 will I be able to get my data?

The 1.5 TB drive is an internal drive. I chose it because I assume it will be much easier to gain access to and remove the platter(s). Am I correct in that assumption? I would use an enclosure( http://www.tigerdire...e...12&csid=_25 ) for the 1.5 TB drive.

Does my failing Maxtor 500 GB external usb hard drive have just one platter? How many platters does the 1.5 TB http://www.tigerdire...e...2&CatId=139 have?

Incidentally, I do backup. I have my backups on 2 drives; the 500 GB Maxtor exernal usb and a 250 GB MyBook external usb. A couple Monday's ago, both external usb hard drives failed at, essentially, the same time. If the 2 failed external hard drives only contained backups, then, I would not have a problem. Unfortunately, though, I have some unique information on each of the aforementioned external hard drives as well. The Maxtor's unique information is backed up to the MyBook and vice versa. I never imagined that both external hard drives, of different age, size, and brand, would unmount from my MacBook( Leopard 10.5.7) and fail to remount at the same time.

I have purchased, and spent a lot of time trying, software(Data Rescue 3; DiskWarrior) means of recovering my data, but my attempts were not successful. I emailed Data Rescue 3 support numerous logs, screenshots, etcetera, related to my attempt at data recovery using their software; however, they have been far less than helpful and have not even responded to my emails. I have also tried to use First Aid and Verify/Repair Disk via Leopard's Disk Utility; both attempts were not successful.

I would like to try a new controller card for the Maxtor; however, the one person I found selling a used Maxtor identical to mine is not local and the one supplier I have found selling controller cards does not have one for my particular Maxtor hard drive. If anyone has any suggestions as to where I might get another controller card for a specific external hard drive I would appreciate hearing them.

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#2
SpywareDr

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No, you will not be able to retrieve your data by moving the platters from your 500GB Maxtor into a 1.5TB Seagate.

Before you end up losing access to your data forever, recommend getting Ontrack involved.
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#3
Digerati

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If I remove the platter from my failing Maxtor 500 GB external usb hard drive and place it in a 1.5 TB http://www.tigerdire...e...2&CatId=139 will I be able to get my data?

No. For one, there are several platters. For another, the firmware on the drive's controller board must be identical - it is not. In fact, it is probably not even the same board.
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#4
072707

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... recommend getting Ontrack involved.


I hear you, but putting the drive(s) in the hands of a recovery service is not an option. For one, I can not fathom how, even if inadvertently, a copy of my data would not end up being kept by the recovery service and, from there, end up being acted on by others. For me, the data is too important to have that happen.

No. For one, there are several platters. For another, the firmware on the drive's controller board must be identical - it is not. In fact, it is probably not even the same board.


What if I get a 500 GB internal? I presume it would have only 1 platter. I thought the controller board would be inside the enclosure if I chose to use an internal drive as an external usb drive or, in the computer, if I chose to put the internal inside a computer.


Thanks for replying to both of you. I guess my assumptions were wrong. It is beginning to look like I will have to let the failing drives sit, unplugged and unused, either, until I find a data recovery method I can do myself or until I find the exact same drives used and get a chance to swap controller cards to determine if that allows me to recover my data.

Incidentally, if the firmware, controller card, etc, must match, then, what hardware tools do professional data recovery services use to recover data. I suppose they must employ some sort of "universal" hardware. What would I search on if I were looking to purchase such "universal" hardware.

Edited by 72707, 27 April 2010 - 07:48 AM.

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#5
Digerati

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What if I get a 500 GB internal? I presume it would have only 1 platter

No. Most hard drives have multiple platters.

HDs have a controller board on the HD too - that's the electronics you see on the drives. That is where the drive's own firmware is stored. But sadly - drives often go through several firmware revisions during their production cycle. To make matters worse, drive makers will use factories in China, Taiwan, and Mexico, for example to make the same model number drive - but all three may have a different firmware version. This has caused many headaches as technicians will attempt to swap the boards to retrieve critical data, but not succeed because the firmware is different.

There is more than one controller between the data on the patters and what gets tossed up on the monitor.

what hardware tools do professional data recovery services use to recover data.

Extremely sophisticated equipment - and by that, I mean EXPENSIVE and requiring special skills and training. This is why data recovery (technically, a "forensics" process) is very expensive - it takes highly trained people using specialized equipment.
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#6
Mikeme

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You got a "Clean Room"? This is a joke thread right. I mean you say you are going to try to do something in your own home(ie open a hard drive, and remove the platters and then transfer them to another drive case) that professional with hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, and all the right facilities sometimes cannot achieve. Good luck with that. I mean sometimes you have to know your limitations, and get professional help if the info is that important.
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#7
Digerati

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You got a "Clean Room"?

Good point. In addition to the expensive equipment, training, and skills needed, you need a "clean" environment to work in.
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#8
072707

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You got a "Clean Room"? This is a joke thread right. ... Good luck with that. I mean sometimes you have to know your limitations ...


Why, in my opinion, ridicule me or, in my opinion, try to make yourself look cool with an "edgy", irreverent, answer that seems, to me, mostly intended to win you laughs at my expense?

Honestly, you do not know, specifically, what I have. Maybe I do have a spare 100k lying around that I would use to purchase recovery hardware. Try giving me specific names, brands, etc., of data recovery equipment that I can search on like I asked, if you actually know any, instead of, in my opinion, ridiculing, trying to get laughs, and look cool. And if you are not on this thread to answer the forum user's questions, then, why are you on this thread at all? Further, you certainly do not know my limitations, or how rapidly I can learn anything, so, please, speak for yourself.

Instead of trying to impose limitations with which you may be familiar on someone else or make a forum user, who you probably do not know at all, look, in my opinion, like a buffoon, by using phrases such as "This is a joke thread right" and "Good luck with that", why not try saying nothing at all.

I mean, really, what purpose did it serve to say, "This is a joke thread right", other than, in my opinion, to try to win yourself laughs and make yourself look cool at my expense. Further, I would presume there are forum rules prohibiting "joke threads".

To me, it is getting to the point where a person can not ask a simple question on a forum for that purpose, like I have here, without, at least, one person showing up trying to demonstrate to the world how brilliant they are, as measured by how many people they can get to laugh at you.

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#9
Mikeme

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In case you haven`t noticed this is an open forum. No ridicule involved in my reply(sounds like thin skin to me), just trying to shake a little sense into someone who says they need the info on their hard drive in the worst way, and doesn`t seem to be listening to the voices of reason. Well, by trying to physically take apart your drive, and transfer the platters to another drive in an attempt to access your info, you are dooming any chance of trying to retrieve your info. As you can tell, you have already spent $$$ on rescue software without any reward. That should be an indication that software is not the answer, and that professional physical hard drive recovery help is required(you got an extra 100k laying around, use it). That said, do as you wish, it`s your info.

Edited by Mikeme, 27 April 2010 - 05:33 PM.

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#10
deggitt

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interesting !!!!.......engineers vs technicians maybe !!

http://www.harddrive...atter-swap.html


i don't think that i would attempt it though.
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#11
SpywareDr

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Wikipedia: Data recovery - Recovering data after physical damage
http://en.wikipedia....physical_damage

Wikipedia: Cleanroom
http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Clean_room
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#12
deggitt

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Hi, You didn't explain what you meant by " failing ". Have you run MAXTOR diagnostic utility ?, if you have what was the result ?


Platters are generaly of standard manufacture but you can't swap between different makes of drive & hope that they will work as
a section of the disk is, i belive, reserved for firmware/setup information particulare to the manufacturer & poss. the model.
Even if you overcame this the head alingment is critical & without the right expertise unlikely even though the firmware includes
some setup code.
If you want to try have a word with a data/drive repair company or Maxtor/Seagate tech. engineer.
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#13
mikeloeven

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you dont need a clean room all you need is a plexiglass box with an air filter they are just as good but less expensive to set up. i used one when i replaced the cover on my harddrive with a clear one oh the things we do to make our [bleep] look cool. also i have a ancient 20mb harddrive that has been running for about a year with no cover on it and blowing it off ocasionally is all you need to do. the biggest risk of death for a harddrive is fingerprints on the platter. but before messing with the platters first check to see if the heads are stuck in place alot of the times these drives can be fixed with minimal data loss simply by pushing the heads gently onto the parking rack. of course youll have some bad sectors from when the heads actually hit the drive but you should be able to pull some of it off with a tool like ontrack's easy recovery software altough this can sometimes take days or even weeks depending on the number of bad sectors and the size of the disk. but yeah as they said dont actually try moving platters between drives this will almoast always end in tears
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#14
Digerati

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also i have a ancient 20mb harddrive that has been running for about a year with no cover on it and blowing it off occasionally is all you need to do.

Note sure that's a valid point. A speck of dust on today's platters probably covers 20mb of data! But I agree completely about fingerprints.

Nevertheless, running with the case open is one thing. Disassembling the drive to remove the platters and then precisely install them into another drive, without damaging the platters, heads, or arms would be a major feat - regardless the technician's skills.

Why, in my opinion, ridicule me or, in my opinion, try to make yourself look cool with an "edgy", irreverent, answer that seems, to me, mostly intended to win you laughs at my expense?

@072707 - I think you are being a bit oversensitive. No one is ridiculing anyone, and whenever anybody tries to "look cool" - it's pretty obvious to everyone, except perhaps those new to tech forums.

Honestly, you do not know, specifically, what I have.

Well - perhaps that's where you should have been specific - instead of making everyone guess.

The problem with finding hardware to assist you in recovering data directly from the platters is there is no industry standard dictating what goes on inside the drive - only how it mounts in, connects to, and communicates with ATX Form Factor cases, PSUs, and motherboards. There is no universal drive platter reader as every platter is manufactured differently, depending on the maker (including trade secrets), density and firmware, among other things. And there are easily a couple dozen drive makers - each with many products. I'm not sure you could buy capable forensic analysis equipment for $100,000. I suspect it would cost much more - and why this type recovery is a "professional (and costly) service".

Again, if you want to do it yourself, your best bet is to try to find an exact replacement drive - with the same firmware version.

Going back over this thread, in your opening statement, you said,

The 1.5 TB drive is an internal drive. I chose it because I assume it will be much easier to gain access to and remove the platter(s).

This statement suggests a misunderstanding of how different sized hard drives are made, or the difference between internal and external drives. First, it is very likely a 500Gb drive and 1TB drive look exactly the same inside, with the same number, shape and size of platters. The difference is how dense the data can be stored on the platters. The 1Tb drive will use magnetic particles that are much smaller in physical size - therefore packing many more in the same amount of space. The way (direction) the particle is oriented determines if a 1 or a 0 and how those are laid out on the platter can affect density (capacity) too.

The is absolutely no difference between an internal and an external drive. The terms "internal" and "external" only refer to where the drive is mounted, in relation to the computer. Inside the computer case is internal. Outside the case, the same drive is mounted in an "external" enclosure.
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#15
072707

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In case you haven`t noticed this is an open forum.

Your, in my opinion, disparaging and quite unnecessary comments, as I previously alluded to, AND, as outlined, probably in detail, in geekstogo.com forum "Terms Of Use" are the issue. Are you attempting to justify your, in my opinion, abuse by saying this is an open forum so you can harass and abuse anyone you like. Try reading http://www.geekstogo...81#entry1817281 and, then, try section 4 of the 'Terms Of Use" and continue reading from there.

No ridicule involved...

I could say I have had a few hundred patients who denied the truth. At least; however, they were in a setting intended to treat their problem.

Denying the truth does not change the truth. Hypothetically speaking, you can say you are not Mike, but, instead, Johnny Knoxville, for the next 25.358 years. Nevertheless, you will not be Johnny Knoxville at the end of that time period. Maybe you will, however, manage to convince some that your behavior is consistent with what the public has come to expect from Johnny Knoxville.

...No ridicule involved in my reply(sounds like thin skin to me)...

Your statement makes no sense. Surrounding a word, or phrase, with parenthesis while adjacent to another word, let us call it x, is, by more than just convention, intended to give further definition to the word x. In fact, the word or phrase in parenthesis should, in the strictest usage of this structure, be interchangeable with word x. Thus, you appear to be saying "No ridicule involved in my sounds like thin skin to me". That makes no sense.

...just trying to shake a little sense into someone...

I can say that it is not difficult for me to identify the classic replies used by abusers and bullies of all kinds. Once they realize they are recognized for what they are they, sometimes, try to convince their victim(s) that they are helping them. I do not recall asking, in this thread, ANYONE to "shake a little" ANYTHING. Further, I would expect the predominate number of this forum's users would appreciate an answer to their question, or no response at all, as well, as opposed to some other forum user deciding to "shake" something into them. Try reading http://www.geekstogo...81#entry1816881 and http://www.geekstogo...31#entry1817031 and http://www.geekstogo...81#entry1817281 if you are confused.

...invo on their hard drive in the worst way...

Again, you are not making sense. What is "invo"? I did not say anything in this thread about a "worst way". You are not making sense.

...listening to the voices of reason...

Again, you are not making sense? Is "voices of reason" a musical group, or something. Is that like "voices of U2" or "voices of Genesis" or, maybe, "voices in your head"? When I was typing my previous responses in this thread I was not listening to any music, but what would that have to do with this thread anyway?

...do as you wish...

Ultimately, why would I do otherwise?

...do as you wish, it`s your info.

Of course it is my information. Has it taken you all this time to realize, or acknowledge, that simple FACT?

...No one is ridiculing anyone, and whenever anybody tries to "look cool" - it's pretty obvious to everyone...

Of course they are. I would not, however, expect those in their "in crowd", or their "buddies", to acknowledge that fact anymore than I would expect Hit***'s cohorts to acknowledge their own bad behavior.

This statement suggests a misunderstanding of how different sized hard drives are made, or the difference between internal and external drives.

I do not recall, anywhere in this thread, saying I understand how hard drives are made. If that were so I would not have asked the very SPECIFIC questions that I did when I began this thread. Indeed, if I understood how hard drives are made, prior to starting this thread, I, probably, would not have started this thread.

As I have done many times in the past, I ask specific questions regarding a task or situation I am faced with of others I believe may be knowledgeable with regard to the subject matter. I then make MY OWN DECISION as to how to proceed. I have, like others of my "caliber", used this process numerous times. Once I have gathered significant information regarding what is involved with a task I have seldom failed when I have chosen to take a specific course of action. Further, where my course of action has not resulted in success I do not spend my time being further troubled by the matter.

...ridiculing... ...tries to "look cool"

I would not have asked the questions I did in this thread of just one source(forum) anymore than I would risk putting all my liquid assets in a single bank. I have asked, virtually, the same question elsewhere and, ESPECIALLY with regard to one particular user who has posted in this thread, I have not quite encountered the irreverent, abusive, dismissive, remarks I have encountered on the geekstogo.com forum.

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