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Quick Guide: External Hard Drive Data Recovery
If ever you have lost data on your computer, whether it’s records that you have created for your business, information you have gathered over the years, or worst of all, photos, particularly precious family photos that can never be recreated.
This is why data recovery services do so well and providing they are good at their profession, will have constant work for years to come. A work colleague for the college that I teach at part-time had this very problem. It seems that one of his students removed the data cable and must have applied a lot of force as the port became dislodged from the circuit board. That’s what he told me anyway 🙂
It wasn’t difficult to diagnose as the cable held loosely from the drive and showed obvious signs of being disconnected.
It seemed like a simple solution –just reconnect the USB 3 port back onto the circuit board.
I’m sure you would agree that things are rarely as simple as they seem.
Simply by running my fingernail around the plastic case lid, all the clips were easily released.
The hard drive itself was covered with an aluminium foil, to both protect the drive and provide protection from unwanted EMI. This was peeled off to access the drive.
Next, the port was examined and seemed to be ready to be soldered back onto the circuit board. The traces on the circuit board appeared to be in good condition.
I should have looked more closely!
The pins on the port had been torn off and were still attached to the circuit board. All was not lost. The traces on the board were clearly still in good condition and it was just a matter of replacing the port with a new component and hopefully, the data could be retrieved.
Once the new port arrived through the post, my mistake became obvious.
Fortunately, with liberal amounts of flux and a steady hand under a LED magnifying glass, the port was placed and soldered in place. This took several attempts, since it was very hard to get the pins to accurately line up with the circuit board traces. When soldering at this level, bridging between pins can be a real problem. If you draw the solder away from the component toward the end of the pins, bridging becomes less of a problem.
Using a digital microscope makes it easier to see any poor connections, bridges, or where pins and traces have not met correctly. Even though the soldering wasn’t necessarily pretty, all the connections appeared in good condition. Of course, it doesn’t matter how good the soldering is, the most important requirement is data retrieval.
After connecting the USB cable to the computer and drive, that knot in your stomach slowly releases when you see the light on the drive start to flash. More importantly, when the drive is recognised by the computer and all the data shows up in the folders!
After reassembly and further testing, the drive was handed back to the now relieved customer. He was advised that he should back up this drive so that no data would be lost if any future problems arose.
If you are interested in this repair, you can see a video on my channel following the link below:
This article was prepared for you by Mark Rabone from Australia.
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Note: You can check out his previous repair article below: