This week we had a Seagate ST1000LM035 with numerous media defects. We suspected that the HDD had been dropped like many mobile drives from this Seagate family. We opened the device in one of our clean bench workstations and immediately noticed something different, three heads! In the past these 1TB drives were typically a single platter device with 2 read/write heads. One head for each platter surface. In this case we found a 2 platter device with 3 heads. The top platter surface was not in use (In 2018 the 3 head 1TB is very common).
With the right tools and technique we removed the heads for inspection. Once we determined they could be cleaned we performed some precision head cleaning under a microscope. Yes! We were successful in recovering most of the user’s data and we used the original heads.
tip: If you drop your portable hard drive you should avoid the urge to turn it on. I know that might be difficult but it is your best chance for recovery. Be sure to inform your data recovery specialist that your storage device was dropped. If you can’t resist the urge to power up the hard disk drive, one more time, then listen for any mechanical noises or chirping and turn it off instantly if it does not sound normal.