2Taking a First Look Before Digging In
3Removing and Registering the Dead Drive
4Recording Disk Specifications
5The Data Recovery Process Begins
6Copying the Data to Kroll-Ontrack’s Servers
Each drive is attached to a custom-built computer and the data copied to the servers at Kroll-Ontrack. Because this is a RAID 5 system, data is stored separately for each drive. Once the data is copied into the servers, the four disk images are combined into a virtual array, and then virtually reassembled. Once this is done and the data is reassembled, then it’s copied to another disk drive large enough to hold everything. Had my drives been physically damaged, the clean room would also be the place where the data would be recovered from the non-functioning drive. Fortunately, that wasn’t necessary for my recovery operation.
7Recovering Data From Failed Drives Requires Physical Intervention
Engineers such as Peter Brown can recover data from a failed drive by opening up the drive and either repairing the failed components or removing the drive platters so they can be read using another hard-drive enclosure. Engineers use the tweezers to work on the small components inside the drive enclosure.
8Kroll Handles Tougher Assignments Than Mine
9Successful Data Recovery After Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster
This hard disk was installed in the Space Shuttle Columbia when it made the flaming re-entry that destroyed the spacecraft on Feb. 1, 2003. The shuttle’s pieces were spread across a swath that reached from Texas to Louisiana. This drive lay in a dry lake bed for six months. When it was found, the staff at Kroll-Ontrack said that it looked like nothing more than a lump of burned metal. Note that the heat was so extreme during the disastrous breakup of the shuttle that the solder holding the components melted, allowing them to come free, as was the case with the chip shown here. Despite the extreme heat, the impact and being exposed to the environment for six months, 99 percent of the priceless scientific data contained on this drive was recovered.
10The Magic Happens in the Clean Room
This is the clean room at the headquarters of Kroll-Ontrack in Minneapolis, where the toughest recovery jobs happen. The engineers seem to be able to recover data from nearly anything.