Data Recovery of the submerged HDD

Artem Makarov aka Robin

I got the order of data recovery of four identical Maxtor 6E080E0 Sabre 2 storage discs. All the discs were installed in different computers of the large insurance company, and all of them had the same problem - the office was flooded, and discs had closely got acquainted with water.

Maxtor Sabre-2Maxtor Sabre-2 Discs

Initially the decision was to dry discs up and switch computers on as usually. The first disk at power on was recalibrated, defined in BIOS, and at the attempt to load OS the rattle started. The further experiments were stopped, and stores were taken together and brought to my repair shop.

During diagnostics I found out the following. As moisture got inside the hermetical unit, after its subsequent drying a thin coating was formed on the plates. At the power on of one of disks (the rattling one) plates were accelerated up to the necessary speed, the head were hit away the parking zone and got into the plates coating area. Taking into account that heads fly above a surface of plates on the air cushion support with a clearance of a millimeter fraction presence of dirt in this clearance almost instantly puts head mr-elements out of action. It just happened.

The coating on the caseThe coating on the case

Consequences of submerge are well visible even outside of discs, in the photos I showed oxides of water and the coating on the case.

Oxides on metal partsOxides on metal parts

Well, that the client had enough wit not to start other disks (a rare case, as a rule the customer, feeling enough skills and habits, tries to repair everything with the help of a soldering iron and flat-nose pliers all by himself), otherwise it should be necessary to search for donors on MHA change in all discs.

For restoration of the data from a hard disk which has undergone the effect of submerge, first of all, it is necessary to clean plates and heads of the coating. Cleaning is made with the Ontrak special solution containing less than 0,3 % of water (Ontrak that created a highly popular EasyRecovery), with the subsequent plate centering. It is strongly not recommended to start a HDD after submerge. Especially if you need the data on this disc.

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