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Many people are asking if there’re some kind of universal data recovery work flow so that you can follow to get the lost data back. The answer is ‘No’! We have never seen a working flow chart to give you step by step instruction how to recover a hard drive.

You may recovery the data directly by using some data recovery software or hardware; You may remove the password and then get the lost data back; You may repair the drive first using different data recovery technologies or different data recovery tools, these tools are different too, after the drive restoration, you may then use another tool to get the data back; You may need or not need to swap the heads, platters or spindle motors to restore the drive and recover the data. In data recovery, each data recovery case can be different and the most important is that you need to prepare yourself and find the logical way of thinking. The more you know about the tools you are using, the more you learn about the data storage devices you are working on and the more experience and tips you’ve gained, the better the result will be.

Let’s see some examples to explain why:

We had here 4 Maxtor drives. Each one of them had problems in the SA of the HDD and needed to have the modules fixed. To fix modules in Maxtor is standard.

1. Set HDD to safe mode – attach HDD to DR power on and go to load management. Load from file

2. Load your FW donor res file then go to boot operation load your boot cod then load ROM and mods power reset the HDD then after go to load management and load again the res

3. Check the FW that is broken to see what has to be fixed. Find your FW donor files and fix the broken FW

4. When done set the HDD back to master mode and clone it

Well guess what this worked on 2 of the HDD just fine. No issues no problems. One of them it would not work becasue you could never read the plist. The pist had shifted. Now how can I show this in a flow chart. When you lose your plist and the backup copy in your HDD is not good and you can not use it. What do you do. The other drive had so much damage in the SA it was impossible to fix it. After scanning the SA on the HDD there was 356 bad sectors in the SA. As you know the Ulist can only hold 51 defects. Well how can I put this in a flow chart. Impossible.

So you see standard operations is easy to put into a flow chart it is the ones that pop up when you least expect this one. But in all 4 drives I got off data on them. Two were standard recovery issues where the flow chart would of worked for you and 2 of them were not. On two of them it was not so easy to figure away around the plist and also the bad sectors in the SA so that data could be gotten from the drives.

I hope you understand in data recovery there is no one answer or one flow chart that can fix all drives. Each drive has to be handled as a separate case and taken one step at a time. The normal steps are outlined in what to do but if there is a problem and something is so different it is hard to give all the answers to all of this one. As for my plist problem and the shift in the plist winhex worked wonders to make me a new plist to use for my drive. As for SA damage a hot swap using the DC worked to read the data in the data area. But I can not say it workes all the time. I had other drives I tried this on and it failed. Too much damage in the SA to get off data and even a hot swap using the DC did not work for me on this one.

To conclude, there’s not one universal data recovery workflow. If you really want to find some real universal thing, it’s yourself, your brain and your knowledge. Think about it.