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December 21, 2018 By Monique Stoppa

How to recover a WD 40NMZW-11GX651 4TB after a power failure?

Data recovery case study: External hard drive  with a capacity of 4TB

A client came to Creative IT with a WD external drive in order to get the data from it. The hard drive was connected to a laptop when a power failure occured. After the power returned to normal, the laptop turned back on but the hard drive wasn’t detected. Our task was to try to find out where the issue was and what solution was needed to retrieve the lost information.

Steps to repair the drive and recover the data

Since the hard drive is a USB drive, we couldn’t have access to the service area which needs to be fully functional in order to have read and write access to the storage area of the drive. We needed to solder a SATA interface connector to modify the drive from USB to SATA (see images). After that, we were able to go into PC-300 utility, unlock techno mode access to repair the damaged modules on the drive and were able to have access to the data area of the drive. We started to image the sectors and got 90% of the drive. After imaging all the sectors of the drive, we mounted the task as a virtual drive read only and used R-Studio to scan the virtual drive. Once done, we were able to get most of the files with the structure. The rest of the files were done in a raw recovery on PC-3000.

A raw recovery is often the last resort when a drive is badly corrupted and all other options have failed. It consists of a scan of all the sectors of the drive in order to recover traces of the lost information.
After the raw recovery, the customer has to go and reclassify all the folders and 350,000 files in the correct way.
This project was a pure salvaged data process given the fact that the beginning of the drive surface being physically damaged, a critical area of the drive as this is where the map is.

Summary of the steps to recover the data of the WD 40NMZW-11GX651

Step 1:

Remove hard drive from USB case

Step 2:

Desolder hard drive PCB board

Step 3:

Solder SATA connector on PCB board (see illustrations)

Step 4:

Connect SATA cable to SATA interface that was soldered to PCB board

Step 5:

Open PC-3000 utility, unlock techno-mode access in PC-3000 tools.

Step 6:

Scan modules and repair them.

Step 7:

Create a head map.

Step 8:

Copy all sectors to work area of PC-3000 (we are copying all the sectors from the faulty drive to our hard drive in the task).

Step 9:

Quick analysis in data extractor to see if we can see the structure.

Step 10:

Mount task drive in data extractor after the scan was completed.

Step 11:

Run R-Studio, select the virtual drive task and scan sector by sector.

Step 12:

R-Studio was able to see a structure and we were able to see all the files.

Step 13:

Raw recovery in order to get as much data as possible.

What’s needed to carry out data recovery on a WD 40NMZW-11GX651 after power failure

Data recovery of this level is a highly skilled task. No recovery software can do this type of recovery. You need the tools and experience in order to modify the drive and electronic skills to do extremely precise soldering. Basic knowledge of computer isn’t enough. Learning PC-3000 and its utilities is also key to success. Creative IT also has a professional certified clean room to open drives in a safe and secured environment.