Data Recovery, recovering Hard Drive data, RAID data recovery

iPhone Data Recovery Services

Memofix is pleased to start offering advanced iPhone data recovery services.

iPhones are the most popular cell phones on the planet and we tend to trust them inherently. With their amazing cameras we can’t help but fill them with our pictures and videos to preserve our precious memories forever. But unfortunately forever never lasts and many of us have never backed up that irreplaceable data to a computer or the cloud.

So what happens when that iPhone doesn’t power up anymore, or you drop your phone in the ocean while on vacation? Can anyone help get your precious pictures and data back?  YES Memofix CAN!

iPhone data recovery

Memofix has been quietly recovering iPhone data for the last 4 or 5 years. We didn’t advertise it, we didn’t go looking for jobs, but many of our loyal clients just kept requesting it and we just couldn’t say no. Especially when local cell phone repair shops, who’s junior techs are great at replacing broken screens and charging ports, couldn’t handle the more severe problems, like a cell phone with a damaged  PCB or water damage? No one was willing or able to tackle these tougher cases, until now.

Memofix’s iPhone data recovery techs  have been professionally trained in advanced iPhone PCB troubleshooting and board repair using specialized micro-soldering techniques. Our micro-soldering skills and top of the line BGA soldering station allows us to do what your ordinary cell phone repair shop cannot.

Besides the hardware issues, we tackle the software issues as well. Many iPhones become bricked or locked in a continuous boot up loop after attempting to jailbreak or upgrade the iPhone.  Memofix can easily remedy these situations using an array of custom software that allows us to bypass or repair the damaged OS.  Many of these type issues can be solved using inexpensive commercial software like DrFone or Easus, so you may not even need us. 🙂

However, many of these software type symptoms can be misleading and may actually be the result of a hardware issue, even if you aren’t aware that your phone has a problem. In actual practice we find 8/10 of these type issues is actually hardware related.

If the software utilities available on the web don’t work, don’t despair, we can definitely help get your data back. For example, if your iPhone is stuck in recovery mode and cannot be accessed no matter what you try, odds are it has a hardware issue  and the iPhone has automatically set itself into recovery mode until the problem is repaired. Once we solve the hardware problem, access to the phone data is instantly regained.

If we can’t recover your iPhone data, we don’t think anyone can!

For more information on our Smartphone recovery services, visit our website’s Smartphone Data Recovery page. 

iPhone data recovery is not easy nor cheap. Expect fees from $300-$900, and as always, we guarantee we recover your data to your satisfaction, or you don’t have to pay. For a free no obligation quote today, click the button now.

 

 

Who Makes the Most Reliable Hard Drives?

most reliable hard driveAfter losing data, our customers tend be very dissatisfied with their present hard drive and they want to know what we think is the most reliable hard drive.  As we diagnose every type of hard drive failure that exists and on a regular basis, we get to know the problem drives on a much deeper level then your average computer user.  This month we give you our opinion on 3.5″ desktop internal hard drives.  So what would we buy? 

 

The Most Reliable Desktop Hard Drive 

There was a time when there were over a hundred hard drive manufactures. These days, the herd has been thinned considerably and there remains only 3 desktop hard drive manufactures. Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. All three manufactures have made some very good hard drives during their history. And all three have also made some pretty terrible drives at times as well.

Back in 2012 Western Digital bought Hitachi’s hard drive business. This would have left only WD and Seagate selling desktop drives, as Toshiba at the time was strictly a laptop drive manufacture. The global anti-competition rules would not allow the resulting two company monopoly. Consequently, WD was forced to sell the Hitachi desktop hard drive division to Toshiba in order to have a 3rd competitor. WD retained the Hitachi name. Toshiba used the forced sale to jump into the desktop HDD market and began selling Hitachi desktop drives re-labelled as Toshiba drives.  Toshiba has now weened itself off Hitachi’s  technologies and makes it’s own unique desktop drives. WD continues to sell both Hitachi branded drives as well as WD branded drives.  The two drive brands are quite different in design and it appears the Hitachi drives are continuing to use the original Hitachi designs.

 

#1 HITACHI – In our opinion WD’s Hitachi brand hard drives are the most reliable desktop hard drive at this time. Hitachi was the 1st manufacture to introduce helium filled drives and the reliability of these drives continues their tradition of making quality long lasting storage devices.

 

 

#2 WESTERN DIGITAL – In our opinion, the Western Digital brand makes the 2nd most reliable  desktop hard drives. So in fact, WD makes the top two hard drive brands. Additionally, when it come to “recoverabilty”, we feel WD makes the most recoverable hard drives at this time. This is due to the drive’s high level of acceptance of “donor” head assemblies, and the layout of the drive’s own internal operating system.

 

 

#Toshiba Logo3 TOSHIBA – In our opinion third place would go to the new Toshiba desktop drives. We have seen a lot of these but what we have seen appear rock solid. Toshiba’s ranking may climb as we see more of them. Our opinion may also be influenced by our positive experiences with their laptop drives.

 

seagate-new-living-logo#4 SEAGATE – And in our opinion,  stumbling along in last place is Seagate. Seagate has had some exceptionally bad hard drives in the last few years.  1.5TB Seagates of any model are very prone to failing. Additionally there have been high failure rates reported for the 3TB Seagate ST3000DM001 and the 4TB Seagate ST4000DX000. On the positive side, the latest Seagate 6TB and larger drives appear to be very reliable!

 

Please don’t place to much trust in our opinions. We tend to mostly see the bad apples, while the good drives continue to hum along, almost unnoticed by folks like us.

In our next blog post we’ll offer our opinion on laptop hard drives and who we think makes the most reliable hard drive for this purpose. In the meantime, don’t forget to backup you data to a second hard drive as nothing beats having a backup. A backup a day keeps the DR away. ( Data Recovery)

 

For  a free no obligation quote, click the Orange button ->  Free Quote Now

 

Need more convincing,  read our glowing 5-STAR Google reviews ->   

 

 

Benefits and Disadvantages of Solid-State Drives

Solid-state drive

Over the last few years a lot of people have chosen to use a solid-state drive (SSD) in their devices rather than the traditional hard drive. But do the risks of an SSD outweigh the benefits? Find out by reading about some of the advantages and disadvantages below.

 

Benefits of SSDs

Here are a few of the reason that SSDs appeal to most people:

  • They use less moving parts which makes them less likely to experience damage from vibrations, drops, accidents, and other wear and tear.
  • Less moving parts also means that SSDs are much faster, offering instant-load performance.
  • Their lightweight components make them easier to carry.
  • They don’t require as much power to operate as hard drives do, which results in a longer battery life.

While the above may seem great, there are also some downfalls to consider when making the switch from hard drives.

 

Disadvantages of SSDs

Despite some of the advantages of SSDs, you should also consider the following before investing in one:

  • Consumer-grade SSDs are more expensive than consumer-grade hard drives.
  • Due to the unique file system structure of an SSD, data extraction can be an extremely difficult and lengthy process.
  • Because the data recovery process is so difficult and takes so long, it can be quite expensive.
  • The memory chips in an SSD have a limited number of write cycles, which can lead to unrecoverable data loss.
  • If the controller chip, memory cache, or one of the NAND type memory chips has been physically damaged, your data may be completely inaccessible.

If you’re willing to take the risks, you can enjoy all of the benefits of an SSD. However, you’ll have to make sure that you’re prepared for the worst by regularly backing up your files.

 

Worried your damaged drive has resulted in severe data loss? Contact Memofix Data Recovery Services today! We’ll give you a free consultation and let you know if the data might be salvageable.

How Encryption Can Make Data Recovery Harder

glowing lock symbol on circuit board

These days, everyone seems to be concerned with protecting sensitive information from prying eyes. For that reason, encryption software has grown in popularity. However, not everything needs to be that secure. In addition, encryption can make it harder to recover lost data when your hard drive crashes or your laptop takes a fall.

 

What Encryption Does to Your Files

Encryption is a process that transforms and disguises data so that it can only be read by those with the right code or password. In theory, this seems like a good idea. However, when you use encryption, it actually alters the data rather than just hiding it. When you need data recovered from a hard drive, USB, or other device that has been encrypted, the data can be recovered but you will not be able to read the recovered data without the password or the key file that was created with the encryption software.

 

Self-Encrypting Devices

Many hard drives and solid state drives (SSD) are self-encrypting devices (SED), which means that they have a controller chip that automatically encrypts and decrypts all of the device’s data. The problem with SEDs is that there are no decryption methods. If the drive experiences physical damage, the data is lost.

 

If you work in an industry that handles sensitive financial data or has other information that needs to be protected, encryption may be a necessity. If that is the case, be sure to:

  • Back up your data regularly
  • Create a key file and store it in a secure location
  • Record all usernames and passwords in a secure location
  • Use encryption software rather than a SED

Taking the above precautions can help you avoid losing your data.

 

Even if you’re dealing with encrypted data, data recovery can be achieved! At Memofix Data Recovery Services, we have regularly recovered data that was encrypted with Bitlocker, PPG, Safeboot, SafeGuard, SecureDoc, EFS, and other software encryption programs. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

How to Protect Your Hard Drive from Damage

someone holding a hard drive in hand

If you’ve ever experienced a hard drive crashing before, you know how devastating it can be to not know whether your data is lost or can be recovered. In order to help you avoid this traumatizing experience, we’ve outlined a few things you can do that will help prevent damage to your hard drive.

 

Purchasing Considerations

When purchasing a new hard drive, there are a few choices you can make that can help increase the life of your hard drive. Before buying, make sure that you:

  • Choose a solid state drive (SSD): SSDs are more likely to save your data in the event of a crash because they distribute data across multiple memory chips. However, it can be harder—and more expensive—to recover the data with these types of drives.
  • Do not buy used: Most used hard drives are typically older. When you use an older hard drive, they are much more likely to fail sooner.
  • Research the history of a model: If a model is brand new, steer clear. Bad models will generally be discontinued after a few years. In addition, models that have been around for a few years will most likely have addressed any bugs or issues. A model that has been around for a while and has been tested is your best bet.

If you take care to do the above before purchasing, you’ll be less likely to experience problems.

 

Preventive Measures

If you already own a hard drive and are looking to prolong its life, there are a few things you can do to help keep it in working condition as long as possible. Keep it protected by taking the following actions:

  • Separate user data from OS installation: Before you begin using a computer or laptop, make sure to put the OS installation onto a different drive than the user’s home directories. Your device will be less likely to crash because the drive that has the OS installed on it will experience less reading/writing.
  • Protect it from surges: Prevent damage from electrical surges by using a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) or surge suppressor. If the power source is left vulnerable to interruption, you could risk damage to your hard drive, any open files, or the file system. While you may think this is common sense, you would be surprised at the number of people that don’t take this precaution.
  • Make sure it’s well ventilated: Without the proper ventilation, your system is prone to overheat. For this reason, you should keep your devices out of tight spaces and make sure the fans are functional. For extra protection, consider adding an additional fan, if possible.
  • Use an antivirus program: Not only should you install an antivirus program on your computer, but make sure to regularly run scans and keep it updated.
  • Be careful when moving your device: You should always be careful whenever you decide to move your device. Make sure to turn it off and wait until the hard drive has had a chance to stop spinning before you pick it up. If you are using an external hard drive, take extra care not to knock it over while in use.
  • Defrag the drive: If you defrag your device on a weekly basis, you can ensure that your machine doesn’t have to work harder than it has to for optimal operation.
  • Monitor the device: You can use the Windows chkdsk program to check for any errors that the hard drive may have. In addition, you can download an application that can monitor the condition of your hard drive and send you alerts when there is a problem.

By taking the proper precautions, you can ensure that your hard drive has a much longer life.

 

Experiencing issues with your hard drive? Memofix Data Recovery Services can help! We can recover data when other companies choose to throw in the towel. Create a case today to obtain a free diagnostic evaluation. We’ll provide you with a no-obligation quote based on the severity of your situation.

Recovering Unrecognized SD and microSD cards

SD cards and microSD cards are flash-based storage devices used extensively in cameras and phones. You can see the size difference between a microSD card and a full size SD card in the two pictures below.

SD card data recovery micro SD card data recovery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both SD and microSD cards are functionally the same as USB flash drives. Both share similar components including a memory chip(s) and a controller chip to manage the memory device(s). Below is an example of a typical SD card showing both sides of the device with the plastic casing removed. On the left hand side picture you can see two larger memory chips and a smaller black controller chip.

SD card memory chips
Non-monolithic SD Card

SD card circuit side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SD cards can be manufactured as a device comprised of the individual components (memory and controller) like the example above OR they can be manufactured as a monolithic device like the picture below. ALL microSD cards are monolithic devices.

A monolithic device has the controller, memory chips and any other discrete components, combined and built into a single chip or device. It is one piece so you cannot break a monolithic device down into discrete components. To the eye, a monolithic device appears as just a piece of black plastic like the examples below.

microSD card data recovery
Monolithic MicroSD Card

microSD card monolithic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When monolithic or non-monolithic  devices become dead, inaccessible or unrecognized, they require different methods to recover the data.

With non-monolithic devices we can remove the individual memory chips and read the raw data using a standalone chip reader. However, the raw data is “very raw” and still requires extensive analysis to determine the layout of the data and customized software to put the pieces back together into a useable format. Even a flash device with one memory chip requires this rebuilding of the raw data. Some of this complexity is a result of a technique used by flash called “wear leveling” where the device tries to use all the memory cells equally so that no particular memory cell becomes worn out sooner than its neighbours. As a result, many of the storage cells will appear to have copies of the same data, but a closer inspection reveals the contents are older versions of the data waiting to be re-used with new data. Consequently, we must use the raw contents of the device to determine how it all fits together. It is somewhat like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

With a monolithic device, we cannot remove the memory chip(s) as they are all part of the same package. In these situations, we need to remove the plastic coating from the device so that we can visually see and map out the circuitry (see the photo to the right).

monolithic circuit board
coating removed

Then we need to determine how we can connect to this existing circuitry in order to gain access to the memory contents. Some connections for previously discovered microSD cards are shared and available to professional data recovery companies using a web-based database.

However, if the database does not contain details on the “to be recovered” device, the entire mapping out process can be quite tedious and can take anywhere from a 5 days to 5 weeks. Once the circuitry layout has been determined, we can use that information for future data recoveries from the exact same device. The bad news is that very few SD or microSD cards will share the exact same layout.

reading a monolith IC
Monolithic Adapter PCB

 

Having determined where we need to connect to the device, we now must tediously solder wires from the adapter board to the device. Then we are able to use a chip reader to connect to the adapter and read off the memory contents. Finally, we need to figure out the data layout as we do with the non-monolithic devices and ultimately recover the data. To the left is a picture showing our connections to access the memory devices on a monolithic SD card.

 

 

 

Our typical fees for recovering data from unrecognized SD cards that are non-monolithic range from $500-$1200.

Unfortunately due to the massive amount of work required, our fees for recovering data from an unrecognized monolithic SD card or microSD card are even higher. Expect fees in the range of $1200-$3000.  depending on whether we have existing layout information for your particular device.

As always, our evaluations are free and our work is guaranteed to make you happy or you don’t have to pay a nickel. To send us a new case now, please click here.

 

 

 

 

FREE Pickup Service for the Toronto GTA

 

Do you live in the Toronto GTA and don’t have the time to package, ship or deliver your hard drive or other storage device to Memofix?  We can help!

Memofix now has a free pickup service for data recovery cases originating in the Toronto GTA. Initially, this service will cover, Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Markham, Vaughan, Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke and the rest of Toronto. 

Memofix_Delivery

Memofix will pick-up your storage device from your home or work and deliver it to our recovery lab by 2pm the next day. Choose either the morning pickup window of 9am -1pm OR the afternoon pickup window of 12pm-4pm Monday through Friday and our driver will arrive within that window of time. Our drivers also carry proper packaging for 1 hard drive. Other devices will need to be prepackaged for the driver.

Requesting this new pickup service is very easy. When creating a new data recovery case you can simply choose to have your hard drive or other storage device picked up. You will need to confirm the pickup address, contact phone number and a 4 hour window when you will be available to meet our driver. You can even add special instructions, ie. meet me in the lobby of my office building.

Are you outside the Toronto GTA?  … Memofix hopes in the coming months to roll out our unique pickup service to other major and not so major city centres across Canada, so stay tuned for updates.

 

 

 

Looking for a Hero?

Memofix Data Recovery Services, a division of Memofix Hitech Services Inc. is looking for a talented data recovery specialist to fill a permanent position at our data recovery lab in Concord, Ontario. If you have a passion for problem solving, an unquenchable lust for knowledge and really enjoy helping people and businesses recover their irreplaceable data, we may have a home for you.

As a data recovery technician, you will join our team of proven data recovery professionals in our quest to become the most technically capable data recovery service company in the world. To become the greatest, we are looking for experts in many areas. We need skilled hard drive surgeons experienced in resuscitating damaged and crashed hard drives. We need PC3000 masters with in-depth knowledge of hard drive system areas (secret OS of the hard drive). And we need file system specialists with an intricate understanding of the various operating systems as well as a thorough understanding of RAID variations and rebuilding techniques.

If you have post secondary education in computers and 2 or more years of experience in the areas listed below, we want to talk to you;

  • Diagnosing and identifying hard drive problems.
  • Diagnosing and repairing of defective hard drive PCBs including NVRAM transfers.
  • Identifying defective heads and replacement techniques in a cleanroom environment.
  • Dealing with seized spindle motors.
  • Transplanting of disks into a new body and motor.
  • Using the PC3000, Data Extractor and other specialized hard drive tools.
  • Specialized techniques such as individual head imaging.
  • Performing hard drive hot swaps with a system area compatible donor drive and PCB.
  • Identifying, repairing and rebuilding file system structure damage in FAT, NTFS, MAC and Linux type operating systems.
  • Identifying striping schemes and pertinent parameters in various flavors of RAID.
  • Repairing and Rebuilding RAID arrays physically and virtually using various software tools.

Memofix offers competitive salaries, equal opportunities, a full benefits package, and a wonderful work environment for all of our employees.

If you have the skills, aptitude, and desire to join a team dedicated to becoming the best at recovering the world’s data, please send your resume to me at davidf@memofix.com.  Please reference “Hero Ad” in your email subject  line.