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Xeb's Misadventures as a Data Recovery Engineer - All good things come to an end - Looking for a new gig

post #1 of 264
Thread Starter 
Hello ladies and gents. As some of you may know, I use to be a Mac Tech (would say I was pretty not to beep my own horn). Well? I have since moved onto some MUCH green pastures. Now, I am a data recovery engineer and boy this doesn't get old. Most recoveries are never the same.

I will be posting little stories about various recoveries that are either interesting, difficult, time consuming or all of the above.

Now, rules going forward:

  • Posts will be as vague as possible.
  • I will not offer recovery support or help.
  • This is not a recovery guide.
  • Do not ask where I work.
  • Customer's names (or companies) will never be mentioned. From hence forth all recoveries will simply by referred to as Case 1, 2, etc.
  • Do not ask about the tools I use. If you are looking for one then I can guarantee you will not know how to use them or can even afford them.
  • If you need data recovery, know that I care but have NO sympathies. Please backup.
  • Do not ask about a "how-to". If it has gotten that far then it is already out of your hands.
  • This is not a step-by-step guide to recovery. Please take everything here with a grain of salt.
  • If you need help, ask in a thread and PM me. I will offer what I can.
  • All head exchanges or mechanical work is done in a clean room (ISO 5 Class 100). Yes, I look like someone from HAZMAT.
  • Backup please.
  • If you didn't get the memo on backing up, please see my sig. You know what I am going to say.



PC3000 - The best possible recovery platforms in existence. Has a combo of both complex software and hardware. I can make drives dance in the palm of my hand.

Oh boy. OH BOY! Dis gunna be gud
Case 1
So, a drive comes in. The way we work is that within the first 24-48 hours our company (meaning me and my other fellow techs). Well, one of the first things we do is plug it in and see what exactly the drive is doing.

This one? Well, it is automatically going to be a pain. WD external drives that have USB are a pain. If I need to do a head swap or anything crazy, I must do a PCB swap from one with USB to one with SATA so it can be controlled with the PC3K. A real pain and I MUST use a compatible one. Period.

Well, prior to doing that the first thing we need to know is, "Does it click?". A good recovery tech can usually tell if there is a head issue just based on how the drive sounds and behaves.

Lets plug it in at least? Nope, clicks. Activity light comes up but it REALLY clicks. That is not a good sign. Platter damage? That is why it sounds like to me.

*breaks open enclosure and opens drive.*
Oh... that is why it was clicking...



Yep... What I thought. This drive is DONE. Severe platter damage. I examined each platter see how bad it was... each one looked like the top one. Filter was nearly black as well.

How did this happen? Well, it has been dropped and mishandled lot for one. So, it likely failed after being left plugged in. Head crashed on the surface, picked up material which acted as sand paper and repeat.
Or the drive was clicking the customer kept trying over and over again to get it to work. This is why we tell people to leave them alone. Playing with a drive that is mechanically failed isn't going to fix it. You will likely make things worse or cause the above.

Okay, next one?
Edited by Lord Xeb - 11/30/16 at 5:28pm
 
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post #2 of 264
Subbed. This thread is going to be good and should probably be required reading for everyone.
     
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post #3 of 264
Thread Starter 
Just kill me already
Seagate? Check. SSD? Check. SSHD... Yep.
So, I have a seagate drive here that just got approved. This drive has the following wrong with it:

Dead PCB - Rom swap required to a matching PCB
Likely failing heads but cannot tell
Definitely degraded surface.
Me wanting to kill it.

Will keep you guys updated. Have donor drive on order but it won't be in till next week. Lets see what I have do shall we? Down the rabbit hole we go then.
 
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post #4 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Xeb View Post

Seagate? Check. SSD? Check.

The SSDs work fine, though that could be because Seagate doesn't make any parts for them.

Also, sub-a-dub-dub'd! wheee.gif
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post #5 of 264
Thread Starter 
It is an SSHD... THose things suck...
 
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post #6 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Xeb View Post

It is an SSHD... THose things suck...

Actually, I think they blow. The one I have was rather unimpressive (then again, it's a Seagate).
     
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post #7 of 264
haha! Xeb never fails to make me laugh. I know how you feel sometimes ~_~ (not in depth of the DR you do, though) lol keep it up sonny!
post #8 of 264
Thread Starter 
Really now? Y U DO DIS? 6 3TB drives RAID 5... Dreaded Seagate DM series...
Oh boy. Where do I start. So, my lead recovery tech was evaluating a job and he already has enough on his plate. So, what does he drop on mine? 6 3TB ST3000DM001s in RAID 5 with 2 drives failed. Both have head issues. One has a weak head the other has a dead head. Wonderful.


JK.
Alright, what do we have here?
Drives labeled 1-6. Good.
Drives 1 and 5... nerp. Each drive has 3 platters and 6 heads.
Drive 1 head 1 is weak...
Drive 5 - Head 2 is dead as a door nail. Nothing. Wont even read.

Wonderful. So, RAID 5? Check. 6 Drives? Check. Seagate DM series? Check. Not enough drives to build RAID? Check.

What do we do? Well good thing is that MOST RAIDs these days (when bought pre-built) all have IDENTICAL drives. Hell, even down to the damn preamp. Awesome.

Off to the clean room.
An hour later...


Guess what? Drive 5 which use to take baout 2 minutes to stop clicking and get ready only clicks for about 15 seconds. w00t! The other drive? Just readies up like a boss. Even better? The one with the weak head is imaging at full spead. The other one is protesting but I have it reading backwards. The drive right now is spilling its last remaining data (already imaged off the good surfaces). How good is the clicking one going? Well, a lot better than you a night after a frat party.

Once all the bad drives are imaged (and I image the good ones for insurance) I have to reconstruct the RAID. However, I need to find the RAID parameters. Good thing there are tools at my disposal. No, you are not going to know what is used. Trust me though, this is going to take about 18 hours to find them... e-e. That does not include extracting the data. Guess the FreeNAS I built when I first came here is going to be our best bet. 32 2TB drives in ZRAID 2 with 4 hot spares anyone? (yes, I do have volume replication enabled so it is fully backed up).

And people whine and moan how much it costs to recover. Now you know why.
Edited by Lord Xeb - 11/17/16 at 11:21am
 
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Gsvlip Dudyrm
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post #9 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Xeb View Post

Really now? Y U DO DIS? 6 3TB drives RAID 5... Dreaded Seagate DM series...
Oh boy. Where do I start. So, my lead recovery tech was evaluating a job and he already has enough on his plate. So, what does he drop on mine? 6 3TB ST3000DM001s in RAID 5 with 2 drives failed. Both have head issues. One has a weak head the other has a dead head. Wonderful.


JK.
Alright, what do we have here?
Drives labeled 1-6. Good.
Drives 1 and 5... nerp. Each drive has 3 platters and 6 heads.
Drive 1 head 1 is weak...
Drive 5 - Head 2 is dead as a door nail. Nothing. Wont even read.

Wonderful. So, RAID 5? Check. 6 Drives? Check. Seagate DM series? Check. Not enough drives to build RAID? Check.

What do we do? Well good thing is that MOST RAIDs these days (when bought pre-built) all have IDENTICAL drives. Hell, even down to the damn preamp. Awesome.

Off to the clean room.
An hour later...


Guess what? Drive 5 which use to take baout 2 minutes to stop clicking and get ready only clicks for about 15 seconds. w00t! The other drive? Just readies up like a boss. Even better? The one with the weak head is imaging at full spead. The other one is protesting but I have it reading backwards. The drive right now is spilling its last remaining data (already imaged off the good surfaces). How good is the clicking one going? Well, a lot better than you a night after a frat party.

Once all the bad drives are imaged (and I image the good ones for insurance) I have to reconstruct the RAID. However, I need to find the RAID parameters. Good thing there are tools at my disposal. No, you are not going to know what is used. Trust me though, this is going to take about 18 hours to find them... e-e. That does not include extracting the data. Guess the FreeNAS I built when I first came here is going to be our best bet. 32 2TB drives in ZRAID 2 with 4 hot spares anyone? (yes, I do have volume replication enabled so it is fully backed up).

And people whine and moan how much it costs to recover. Now you know why.

 

Data recovery costs so much because recovery techs like this guy waste their work time posting on computer forums instead of doing work :P  You are probably the guy who also takes 15 minute bathroom breaks 6 times a day...

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CHILZ - Lan Rig
(17 items)
 
CANARY - Main Rig
(16 items)
 
CADILLAC - HTPC
(14 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-4570s Asus H97M-Plus AMD R9 280 G.Skill RipjawsX 16 GB (2x8) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
250 GB Samsung 840 240 GB Kingston 3 TB USB 3.0 Drive Custom Loop 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 10 Preview BenQ GL2450 Filco MajesTouch2 Ninja PC P&C Silencer Mk III 600 W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Fractal Design Core 1000 Mionix Castor Monoprice XXL JL Amps + Custom Morel Bookshelf speakers 
Other
Scythe Kama-Panel 3 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX-8150 @ 4.6 GHz Fatal1ty 990FX Pro 9800 GTX+ 512 MB G.Skill Ripjaws X 1866 CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
120 GB OCZ Vertex 3 1 TB WD Black 5x 120mm + MCP350 + EK Supreme HF + MicroRes Windows 8 Consumer Preview 
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2x Dell U2212HM Logitech G110 Cooler Master 850W Silent Pro Cooler Master 690 II Adv. 
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Razer Death Adder 3.5G Staples Gel Cushion Asus Xonar DG + Senn. PC333D 
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Q6600 Acer X1800 ATI 5670 2 GB Kingston 
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2 TB WD Green Asus BD-R Windows 7 Home Premium Sony 50" LCD 
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post #10 of 264
Why would you not take bathroom breaks on the clock? "Boss makes a dollar, I make a dime, that's why I poop on company time." It's only logical.

Also with the advent of smartphones you can entertain yourself.
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Triumvirate
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Osmium
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For Sale: [FS] Z97 system: Xeon and RAM
$160 (USD) or best offer
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Corsair Dominator Platinum - 2x8GB Crucial M500 - 960GB Samsung 840 - 250GB WD Scorpio Blue - 1TB 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Hard Drives & Storage › Xeb's Misadventures as a Data Recovery Engineer - All good things come to an end - Looking for a new gig