Data Recovery, recovering Hard Drive data, RAID data recovery

Laptop, Notebook, & Netbook Data Recovery

Toronto GTA, Ontario, Canada.   Data recovery from laptops, notebooks and netbooks is not that much different then recovering data from desktop systems.  The most noticeable difference lies in the size of the storage device or hard disk drive being used by each computer. Most modern desktop computer systems uses a larger 3.5” HDD or hard disc drive while a typical laptop or notebook style computer will use a smaller 2.5” HDD. Additionally many newer notebooks and netbooks are starting to use SSD or Solid State Drives. This discussion will focus solely on hard drives.

While most people assume it’s tougher to recover data from a smaller 2.5” laptop hard drive versus the 3.5” desktop drive, it is actually the opposite in most circumstances. When data is lost due to a physical or mechanical issue with a hard drive, our historical statistics clearly show that 2.5” laptop or notebook hard drive owners have an almost 10% better chance of seeing their data again versus 3.5” desktop drives owners.  In my previous life at another recovery company, this same statistic also held true. Hmm … seems strange, especially when I see some data recovery service companies adding a surcharge for dealing with laptop hard drives.

So why are we more successful with 2.5” hard drive recoveries? First 2.5” hard drives sustain less damage when they do crash and second they are more accepting of standard data recovery procedures.

Laptops, notebooks, netbooks AND 2.5” hard drives are designed to take more physical abuse then your typical desktop computer or hard drive. By design and virtue of their tiny mass, 2.5” hard drives can absorb anywhere from 3-5 times as much shock as a typical desktop drive. Portable computers also use shock absorbing mounting brackets to further isolate the hard drive from any external bumps or drops. These damage saving features decrease the severity of damage due to crashes.

Laptop and other portable computer manufactures are also concerned with decreasing the energy consumption and heat dissipation of their products. Fortunately, both of these pursuits provide additional benefits for preserving your data. For example, most laptops save energy by spinning down the hard drive when the laptop is not used for a predetermined period of time. And because hard drives are much more susceptible to damage when they are spinning, this energy saving feature can really save data. 2.5” laptop hard drives take it even a step further and use ramps to lift the heads physically off the disk surface when the drive is spun down while many 3.5” hard drives continue to land the heads on the surface of the disks or platters. Once again an energy saving feature that helps prevent damage to the disk. And there is also some validity in the argument that saving energy creates less heat which in turn causes less drive failures.

Laptop, notebooks and netbook drives are also much more tolerant of data recovery techniques. Head xplants or the process of replacing a bad head assembly with a good head assembly is one of the more commonly used data recovery techniques, but because each hard drive’s head assembly is ever so slightly different and the hard drives electronics were tuned to work specifically with the original head assembly, xplants are often not successful.  However this procedure is much more successful when attempted between two 2.5” hard drives versus between two 3.5” hard drives.

Because 2.5” hard drives are principally used in portable devices that  by definition will operated while the user is mobile, they are designed to deal with harsher conditions and recover from a larger range of off track data situations then a typical 3.5” hard drive. Consequently they are more accepting of new heads with their slight differences. You can compare it to a racing car and a jeep. The racing care is tuned for high performance and is capable of going very fast and taking corners at incredible speeds as long as the road is smooth. But when the road turns too dirt and mud the racing car gets stuck.  On the other hand, the jeep may not go as fast but when the road gets rough, it’ll keep on going.

Media damage, whether disk or platter damage, head crashes, or rings forming on the disk are always a problem. And once again, we find 2.5” hard drives are just more tolerant of damage. As a method of preventing damage in the first place, 2.5” hard drives fly the heads at a greater height above the disks then 3.5” hard drives. This allows a laptop or notebook drive to take more physical abuse or impact without having it’s heads coming into contact with the disk surfaces. This design also allows them to float above damage that would impede the positioning or even damage the heads of a typical 3.5” hard drive and thus giving us a much better chance of recovering data.

So even though your laptop hard disk drive may be smaller then it’s big brother the desktop drive,  it’s still the leader in data loss prevention and the better drive to be using should you ever need the services of a professional data recovery company, like Memofix Data Recovery Services.

… David Foster

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