Not all hard drives fail the same way. DataCent, a data recovery service based in Canada, has an impressive archive of failing hard drive sounds. If you’re ever in doubt about whether your hard drive needs help, this is your guide. From bad heads to stuck spindles, bad hard drives click, grind, hum, and scratch. It’s almost musical in its regularity. Who will be the first person to string of these samples together into a ringtone or techno song.
Today wrapped up with a talk on recovering data from solid state hard drives by [Scott Moulton]. The talk focused on the differences in data storage between SSD and platter technology. I did come away with a few interesting bits of knowledge. In an effort to extend device life, flash based drives store changed data to a new location, leaving the old data intact until a garbage removal subroutine gets around to clearing it out. Probably the best way to recover data from them will be altering or replacing the controller chip so you can access old data.
Yesterday I caught an interesting talk on recovering passwords from drive images by [David Smith]. He found that he could take a system image, strip out all the strings that were stored by various programs and use them to build a dictionary of possible passwords. By limiting string lengths and matching for known password policies, he was able to further filter his dictionary for likely passwords.