I have always wanted to see how data recovery companies work, and finally I had the opportunity to see it “from the inside”. And no, this is not an advertisement for this company.
After my post about a dead external hard drive, Nikolai Khozyainov, director of R.LAB, wrote to me and offered to give me a tour of their office, and at the same time look at my drive and find out what happened to it.
The first thing that any visitor sees, once in R.LAB, is endless racks with hard drives.
This is not an “exhibit of dead disks”, all these disks are donors. If necessary, heads, boards, motors can be transferred from them to failed disks of clients.
R.Lab tries not to deal with simple cases (when files were accidentally deleted from the disk or the file system crashed). To do this, everyone is offered to download the free R.saver utility from the company’s website and restore everything on their own.
The main activity of R.Lab is data recovery in complex and very complex cases. Here they recover data from hard drives with errors in the service area, unreadable sectors, physically damaged surfaces, with burnt controllers, stuck and faulty heads, jammed bearings, burnt out engines. Data is recovered not only from hard drives.
It is possible to recover Twitter data from SSDs, flash drives and memory cards, CDs and DVDs, and even from floppy disks and streamer cassettes. The main logical problem solved by the company’s specialists is the restoration of “collapsed” RAID arrays.
Work with drives is carried out through the PC-3000 complex, created by ACELab from Rostov-on-Don (you may be surprised, but Russia is ahead of the rest in data recovery and the whole world buys these complexes in Rostov).
Workstation for repairing hard drives with a laminar flow cabinet, in which a stream of filtered air blows from top to bottom. The recording density on modern disks is so high that the condition of the heads can only be diagnosed with a microscope.
A modern hard drive is a very complex device. Due to the ultra-high recording density, each copy of the disk is slightly different from the other, heads from one instance may not work on another. The times when a faulty board from one disk could simply be rearranged to another are long gone: the ROM of each board contains individual parameters of the disk instance, and when rearranging the board, you have to re-solder or re-flash (if possible) the ROM.
The hardest and longest hard drive data recovery took more than three years (!). The most expensive data recovery from a hard drive cost the customer 300,000 rubles.