Data Recovery Services

Mike Whalen mikew at
Wed Jan 20 18:26:24 CST 2016

On January 20, 2016 at 5:06:19 PM, Eric Christopherson (echristopherson at wrote:

It can work. But I remember reading that each PCB keeps track of bad 
physical blocks; if you transplant the PCB from another drive, you might 
end up with a different set of bad blocks beings saved. 

I still haven't gotten rich enough to use his services, but I've talked 
to this guy named Scott Moulton, who charges $50 evaluation fee + $750 
per drive. He also teaches classes on doing it yourself (for big bucks). 
His web site is <>. 
I’ve worked with Scott Moulton. He’s reasonable compared to some vendors. YMMV, but I find him to be extremely helpful. You can email his firm and they will talk over options with you before you send the drive in. The $50 does not obligate you to anything (other than the $50).

I can’t recall exactly what he told me but many modern drives have a chip on it that would need to be moved to a donor PCB in order to spin up the drive. I want to say there is some encryption involved the the chip provides. It’s been too long since I received that email from him and I can’t find it.

Also, it’s worth doing a little bit of Googling for modern drives and problems. I got _very_ lucky one day with a drive which was known to have a firmware bug in it that would occasionally lose its ability to determine the drive size. With help from the web, I was able to rig up a USB-to-TTL converter, connect to certain pins on the drive, then access the firmware shell and repair the drive. I don’t want to give any indication that this was easy. It took quite a few days of trying. Not only did it involve the converter, but there was a process where you’d insert paper between certain PCB contacts and the hard drive to interrupt the spin-up process as that was your window to get access to the firmware. But it actually worked and I was able to image the drive and move the contents to a new drive. 

So put the model number into Google and see if you can find a common failure that has a fix. 



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