Eliot and I caught Scott Moulton’s talk on Hacking Hard Drives for Data Recovery. You can catch his slides here – but most of the content was in the talk. It was a great walk through of hard drive technology. Some interesting points: 85% of the time, software recovery is successful. 10% of the time, replacing the controller board succeeds. So, 95% of the time you can probably recover your data fairly easily.
Scott showed off a peltier enhanced drive sled for keeping a drive cooled for optimal operation/recovery conditions. He even got into replacing drive heads. If you’ve ever gutted a drive, you’ll know how fragile those heads are. You can actually fold a postit note to keep the heads apart and tranfer an arm with heads from a donor drive to get your drive working again. The difficulty of the operations seem to increase exponentially as the number of platters increases.