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Firmware Failure

A hard drive's firmware allows it to operate correctly, and when an HDD boots up, it needs to immediately access firmware on its platters and controller board. If the drive does not have access to its firmware due to platter damage or electronics issues, it cannot boot. Rebuilding damaged firmware requires specialized equipment and years of engineering experience.

Firmware Failure

Firmware failures can cause significant corruption and permanent file loss if left untreated.

Common symptoms of hard drive firmware failure include:

  • Drive Does Not Boot, Mount or Recognize
  • Inaccurate Drive Model Number in BIOS
  • Visibly Damaged or Burnt Circuit Board
  • Inaccurate Drive Capacity Listing

Secure Data Recovery Services' engineers have decades of combined experience with all hard drive brands and models. We draw from an extensive knowledge base when treating firmware failures and can recover data from most drives within a few days, and we offer 24/7/365 services for data loss emergencies.

In most cases, hard drives with firmware failures are completely recoverable. While firmware damage prevents normal data access, our engineering teams can bypass damaged areas or repair firmware with proprietary tools. If you believe that your hard drive has a firmware issue, contact Secure Data Recovery Services today to set up a free media evaluation.

What Causes a Hard Drive Firmware Failure?

Hard drive firmware failures can occur suddenly after an electrical event, circuit short or power supply failure causes extensive damage to a hard drive's logic board. Logic boards typically contain a relatively small but important portion of the hard drive's firmware on a dedicated chip. If this chip is damaged, it will need to be safely replaced by an experienced data recovery engineer.

The firmware on a hard drive's platters (also known as the disks) can also sustain damage, usually due to a severe read/write failure in which the hard drive's actuator heads come into direct contact with the platters. This can cause permanent damage to the hard drive's firmware tracks, but skilled engineers can sometimes rebuild the missing data after repairing the read/write heads.

It is important to note that modern hard drives have drive specific firmware created during the manufacturing process to map bad sectors and other important disk information. Because of this, applying a firmware update or other general fix will not allow you to access your damaged hard drive's data.

Recovering Data from Hard Drives with Damaged Firmware

To fix a hard drive with damaged firmware, engineers need to first treat damaged internal components in a completely sterile environment. We operate a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom that removes harmful contaminants, allowing our engineers to replace damaged actuator heads and other HDD components without risking permanent media damage. Visit our Cleanroom page to view our Class 10 ISO 4 certification documents.

Secure Data Recovery Services also has specialized repair equipment that can edit firmware microcode. Our engineers can effectively work with hard disk firmware and PCB firmware to restore functionality to off-track read/write heads. This allows us to regain access to the Logical Block Addressing (LBA) sectors of a hard drive, which contains all of your program data and user data.

After performing physical repairs and firmware repairs, we make an error-free clone of your hard drive. Our engineers work with this clone for the rest of the data recovery process, preserving your hard drive in a working condition and preventing subsequent HDD component failures.

Finding a Certified Secure Data Recovery Provider

In addition to our Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom certification, Secure Data Recovery Services holds a number of security credentials. We always treat recovered data carefully to prevent unauthorized access. Secure Data Recovery Services was the first data recovery company to earn a SSAE 18 Type II Certification.

Our security certifications include:

  • PCI Security Certification
  • SAS 70 Certification
  • SSAE 18 Type II Certification
  • Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) Member
  • General Services Administration (GSA) Contractor Schedule

Visit our certifications page for a detailed description of our credentials. Unlike many other data recovery companies, Secure Data Recovery Services offers full access to certification audit reports and related documents.

Steps to Take After a Firmware Failure

Because a hard drive's firmware directly affects physical drive components, you should not operate a failed hard drive. Do not attempt to recover files with data recovery software; your drive cannot boot properly with damaged firmware, and no commercial data recovery tools can effectively bypass hard drive firmware issues.

Secure Data Recovery Services offers free media evaluations for all types of hard drives. We can test your drive in our laboratory to provide a detailed diagnostic report with a price quote and a turnaround estimate. When possible, we will also include a list of recoverable files with our evaluation report

To set up a free media evaluation or for more information, contact our 24/7 customer service line today.