Why people pretend to be specialists? Big Problem.

Inexperienced Company Diagnosis on Western Digital My Passport External HDD Recovery in Boston, Massachusetts

Customer's HDD comes out of a 1TB Western Digital My Passport External Hard Disk Drive with SmartWare Encryption Software features (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=940).

Warning: Many people fail to understand the difference between a data recovery specialist and a computer repair specialist. They are totally different things. Very much the same like in the car repair industry, where there is a major difference between an auto mechanic and a transmission repair or rebuild specialist. Take away? When in need, take your device to a data recovery specialist (not a computer repair) for diagnosis and data recovery service.

Internal hdd in the My Passport external was:



DATE: 01 MAR 2011


PCB: 2060-771377-000 REV A

MAX LBA: 1953525168



According to the customer, the external drive fell off the couch while in use by being connected to a Dell laptop. Upon reconnecting the external’s LED light was indicating the device was damaged as it was no longer successful in mounting in device manager.

Suspect company diagnosis:

Apparently the drive was removed from its internal enclosure and test were run on it. Initially, the techs there thought the data on the drive was recoverable and provided the customer a quote. Customer declined the service and requested the drive back to take it to another data recovery service provider.

Data Recovery Guru diagnosis:

We received the USB WD External Drive in previously opened and tampered with condition, without a clean room sticker indicating it was examined in a dust controlled environment, such as class 100 ISO 5 clean room. Since the hard drive had already been tampered with, our technicians opened the drive for further examination in the clean room. Read Write arm was found in the middle of the disks, when it should have normally been parked on the side ramp (https://www.hgst.com/sites/default/files/resources/LoadUnload_white_paper_FINAL.pdf). Lots of dust particles along with disk damage (scratches) were found on the top disk, which were not typical media damage as result of mechanical failure or physical shock, but rather of inexperienced technician HDD mishandling and contamination. Given the years of data recovery experience with the My Passport External HDDs, a recovery on this type of USB interface drive with SmartWare hardware on the fly encryption is more than likely unsuccessful.


We were disappointed in not being able to provide the customer a successful data recovery result. It is unfortunate for uneducated data recovery customers to fall victims to poor data recovery service. Our recommendation is to perform due diligence and ask few questions about the file recovery process the data recovery company performs. Clients should ensure the data recovery technicians at the firm are specialists in this domain and not computer repair, network and or website design and so on. The data recovery process entails a specific type of skillset and advanced knowledge in hard disk drive architecture and design, physics, software and hardware, file system and encryption to name a few.