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Disk Recovery Case Studies

A dog's dinner
Late one afternoon, a phone call was received from a distraught customer who required data recovery from a couple of diskettes. The data related to an important presentation. The customer was asked the nature of the problem and eventually confessed that the diskettes had suffered some 'physical damage'. The problem related to one of his four-legged canine friends who had chewed the diskettes!

The damage to the disk cases was severe, with large tooth marks evident on the surface of the disks. Eventually both disks were imaged with only 15% sector damage and the FATs (File Allocation Tables) were rebuilt. All the files were successfully recovered and restored to the grateful customer.

Credit card monster
The customer was a well-known credit card company whose last few hours' transactions, for which there was no backup, were stored on the failed system. It was a NetWare Server and RAID array in one large, very heavy metal box, containing 18 x 2.5GB wide SCSI drives and weighing nearly 200Kg.

There were three failed drives amongst the remaining batch of eight drives. One of the drives had suffered component failure on its electronics assembly, the other two had serious HDA (head/disk assembly) problems which needed work in the cleanroom. Using our database of drive components and technical knowledge we worked to correct the faults on the drives so we could take images.

When we finally finished, all 18 drives had been imaged with a total sector loss of just seven bad sectors. The total good sectors imaged that night was just under 88 million! The customer's valuable data was safe.

Flying low
Having flown numerous times on business without a problem, our customer was surprised to find that his Toshiba laptop wouldn't boot. On contact with us, he finally mentioned that it had travelled in the cargo hold of a plane. We had a nagging suspicion that it had probably not only been thrown around by the baggage handlers but also bounced its way down the carousel!

Luckily for him, it had not been swipe damaged by any x-ray equipment at the airport. Our hardware specialists opened the head disk assembly and found there was some speckle damage, confirming that it had been bounced around as the heads had dented the actual platters. Following a successful headstack swap, the drive was imaged and we found 112 bad sectors, of which we were finally able to read 86. The customer vowed always to take his laptop as hand luggage from then on…

Tape Recovery Case Studies

Accounts critical!
It was Easter Saturday and we had a critical tape data loss which another data recovery company had failed to rectify. Within about four hours of receiving the first tape we had several hundred megabytes of data from it. The tape was poorly recorded and had many areas where the recording had broken up.

The customer had a set of around 35 tapes in this condition which we also needed to look at. By 6am on Sunday we were recovering data from seven DAT tapes and had extracted images of each of the disks in the RAID.

A few hours later, most of the physical data had been recovered. The areas of missing data were being re-processed to attempt to extract additional data from the tapes. However, the data of major importance was from the accounts system. About 48 hours later we were still working on reading data from the damaged areas of the tapes. By the end of the following week all the data had been successfully recovered – no mean feat considering the huge amount of data involved.

Sinking ship
A seismic survey ship far away in a distant sea sent us a 3590 tape. It contained the results of a number of geological surveys as part of a search for oil, but also contained a media flaw right at the start. If the data could not be recovered they would have to send the ship back out to sea to repeat the tests – a rather costly operation!

The IBM 3590 drive is one of the fastest tape drives around. The 40kg monster is capable of storing 10GB of uncompressed data on a single cartridge and transferring that data at up to 9MB per second. At the heart of this mechanism is a read-write head which records 16 data tracks at a time.

Gaining control of these various systems, finding the undamaged data on the tape and then persuading the drive to read it, was complex. However, after much perseverance all the important data was safely on one of our systems, and we could call for a courier to take the data back to Singapore.

All flooded out
A business continuity firm had a customer with a big problem. A firm of automotive engineers had archived their important drawings and documents in a locked fireproof safe in their basement. Sadly a flood had filled the basement with water and fine silt and the engineers found that their archives and backups were soaked through and the media was coated inside and out with a thin layer of sediment.

In total over 40 tape and optical cartridges of various different formats had been affected, and some of the tapes had started to dry while still in the safe. Each tape was extracted from its cartridge and installed in a special cleaning rig which removed any sediment. Once clean, the tape was then placed in a brand new cartridge assembly so that the data could be read.

After a few hours, we were able to return the recovered files and folders on a total of 26 CD-ROMs and the engineers were grateful for the return of their archives.

If there is any DATA, anywhere ON your DISK or TAPE, it can be RECOVERED

In short, our expertise is your reassurance: your data is in the safest hands, anywhere.

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