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By: Guy Fanse

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Monday, 14-Mar-2016 09:49 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Don't Use Currys Data Recovery

My son has a Seagate expansion 5tb. Currys knowhow team said it was irreparable and have apparently changed the heads. It was clicking and am unable to connect to a computer.

The Curry's Knowhow data recovery team are very poor. Their technical competence in data recovery is negligible and their success and repairing broken hard drives is very low. This is because the Knowhow team at Currys is staffed by people with very little expertise: they are really there to provide a simple troubleshooting service for a variety of PC and electrical problems. This is demonstrable in many ways - you only have to listen to the Knowhow staff talk to understand that their skill levels are very low. They may be able to swap out a faulty computer screen or sort out a warranty issue on an electronic item but data recovery is way beyond their skill set.

For any sort of hard drive issues, be it repair or file recovery, please ensure you use a skilled and trusted data recovery company. Data recovery companies provide specialist services in hard drive repair and recovery. The good data recovery companies have been providing services for years and the fact that they are still in business demonstrates the competency. An example skilled and respected data recovery service in England is the Data Clinic who have been trading for over 15 years and have a good track record in recovering data from any type of hard drive or mobile phone. Comparing the technical skills of a company like Data Clinic and Curry's Knowhow reveals a huge gulf: Data Clinic can recover files in virtually all situations from all things and Curry's Knowhow can't recover the data from practically anything.

So if you find you have a problem on one of your hard drives, don't use a service like Knowhow, instead choose an expert data recovery service like Data Clinic.

Here are some example customer enquiries where you should use Data Clinic and avoid Currys:

External hard drive, Seagate Freeagent desktop.
Mechanical failure diagnosed by clicking sound suggesting faulty head. Initial problem was inaccessibility of drive – PC did not recognise drive, on attempting to use on different laptops clicking sound was noticed. Would like to know if you'd be prepared to try recovery and costs.

My hard disk WD my passport was broken 3 years ago. took it to a lot of repair shops and all told me that the data can't be retrieved. I still have it and can't through it. it fell on the floor hard and since then it didn't work. I was wondering if there is a new way to recover data or is it still hopeless!

Also, something I forgot to mention earlier, you usually only get one shot at recovering the data from a hard drive, so resist the temptation to ask a friend, a PC shop or Curry's for data recovery, they'll just screw your drive up.


Monday, 29-Feb-2016 09:37 Email | Share | | Bookmark
HP HDD Failure

"I have one HP hdd that has failed, I am not 100% as to the problem, it may be unresponsive or a moving part has failed. I also have one SanDisk USB drive that has stopped working, it will not respond/computer will not register it when it is inserted."

It's unlikely that your HP HDD is actually made by HP. They did toy with the idea of becoming hard drive manufactures in the 20th century but decided not to. Instead, your hard drive will most probably be a Seagate or Western Digital that HP have 'badged' to make it look like one of their own. So are you looking for an hdd repair service or a data recovery service? For hdd repairs you can try http://data-recovery-tips.co.uk. It's a site that goes into rather a lot of detail and it may be that the stuff on it is too advanced for the problem you have. For general hdd fault troubleshooting I recommend http://risc-group.co.uk, it's rather a new site but it has lots of troubleshooting information on it, including what to do with a hard drive that has failed.


Monday, 21-Dec-2015 08:28 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Considerations When Dealing With Computer Evidence Investigation

One of the major elements that impacts the human factor in the forensics process, other than the actual capability of the the staff member, is the burden of proof associated with the task at hand. The level of proof required from some criminal cases can be significant due to the concept of the proof having to be beyond reasonable doubt. Anecdotal stories from law enforcement investigators indicate that the drawing out of the analysis phase of often a methods employed by defence lawyers to slow down the process of the prosecution of a case. This is in stark contrast to a civil investigation or a data discovery task, which may hinge on the location and recovery of a single file from media on which there may be literally hundreds or thousands that relate to the same incident. What matters in these cases is that the sought behaviour or evidence has been found and it is not the depth or severity of the incident that is important since often only one exposure is severe enough.

Investigating computers for evidence a and digital forensics as a whole is a time sensitive enterprise and consists of a number of computer resource intensive tasks that are governed by the finite nature of the machines they run on. Tasks such as keyword indexing of hard disk drives or the cleansing of the same consistently push modern hardware to it's finite physical limits, which sadly often fall short of the theoretical limits. A paper by Valli and Patak (2005) that examined the secure erasure of hard disks indicated that the times taken were impacted by both the CPU speed and RAM in terms of available RAM and also the physical configuration of the system. Little argument exists that the speed of the task is heavily dependent on the processing capabilities of the hardware your purchase. Essential a pound or dollar saved a purchase time can amount to tens of thousands lost over the lifetime of a system as the result of losses or delays. Therefore it is critical when you are setting up a laboratory to you the fastest available systems and to review their performance on a timely basis.

The selected equipment should also be on the approved vendor listings for whatever operating system you will be running. If it is not certified, do not purchase it, since you are already introducing a polemic point. At all times you should be using certified drivers with associated digital certificates for peripherals such as videos cards. By using certified drivers, you are eliminating risk and also building your machines to known standard or performance criteria.


Tuesday, 15-Sep-2015 06:49 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Hard Drive Repair

I work in IT myself. I was given an external hard drive from a member of staff. The sata 3 port had broken off the WD drive (we get a few of these at work but we can usually take the drive out, remove the card interface and plug the drive into a computer and recover the data). In this case the port was direct onto the hard drive PCB. I bought a donor PCB from the US swapped the Flash chip's over as instructed by the donor drive website, after swapping the chips over the drive is still failing to initiate. I feel I have tried all I can with the drive now, I'm pretty sure that the drive is sound but would just need the PCB sorting so the drive can be accessed again.

Sounds easy doesn't it? but retrieving the files from one of these pesky drives is a lot more difficult than you'd think. First up I learned that the donor PCB has to be an exact match - it's not just a matter of making sure you get the same model number. You've got to match all the other codes on the hard drive as well and try to get a drive made as near to the date as the other to give yourself the best chance of success. This knowledge was garnered from the http://data-recovery-tips.co.uk/ web site which is a goldmine of useful information about how to repair hard drive and restore their data.

After sourcing the correct spare, it's a matter of swapping the flash chip across. Simple you might think but I'll bet you didn't know you have to use a specially low temperature to remove the chip and resolder it to the new board? Using a normal soldering iron will destroy the data on the flash chip and once this is gone, so it your data. So, make sure you use the proper 'data recovery' soldering iron (example: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Weller-WHS40-Temperature-Solder-WELWHS40LT/dp/B000X1T0RK).


Wednesday, 6-May-2015 09:12 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Wow, the Site it Back Up Again :)

Well for those of you who visit my blog you'll see that I haven't posted for a while - this isn't through lack of trying - it seems that the Fotopages web site has been down for months, fortunately when I check today it's back up, so I'm taking this opportunity to all my readers to say "Hi! - please don't go anywhere, I haven't been able to post recently because the site has been offline.".

There's a lot that has been going on since my last post back in September 2014: I've got my own NAS hard drive running a RAID 6 configuration across 8 disks - this means that if two of the hard drives fail I'm still OK. I'm using RAID 6 because the last time I used RAID 5 I lost a lot of my data due to my server room overheating. Perhaps I'm being over cautious, I know server rooms don't overheat in general but what price does one put on their data ??

Additionally another new data recovery company has emerged - this one is called Datlabs and the URL is http://www.datlabs.co.uk/. Watch this space to see if they're any good or not, I'll send some faulty hard drives their way and see it they can fix them. A Spanish site has appeared too: http://de-recuperacion-de-datos.com/

Court news is there's a lot of CCTV evidence that's causing a backlog in police cases. It seems the likes of Data Clinic's CCTV recovery service at http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/cctv-data-recovery/ is one of the best out there and is being used a lot by several UK police forces.

So, now that this site seems to be working again, expect to see some blog posts soon


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