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What is Data Recovery?

Despite enormous technological progress, computing devices remain pretty fragile.

While a malfunctioning motherboard is a cause for exasperation, it takes no more than an hour to swap it out, install new drivers, and everything is back to where they were. 

Storage media (HDDs, SSDs, USB, and any other) are a different matter altogether. Replacing is not enough since you also need to retrieve the data from the old one.

Data is invaluable and the drive probably contains mission-critical emails, financial budget, marketing plans, SEO reports, and even code for a new app.

If you are meticulous and run an automated backup every hour, that is easy. 

But most don’t.

Hence, data recovery from malfunctioning storage media has become an essential service that anyone might need without warning.

But how do data recovery services work? Before we answer this, let’s talk basics. 

Types of Data Recovery 

Data recovery is of three categories.

Obviously, how data recovery services work, differs in each scenario. 

1. Logical Problems

It happens mostly due to:

  • Accidental Data Deletion
  • Accidental Formatting
  • Accidental Partition Deletion/Merger
  • Malware 

2. Physical Problems

These include damage to the hard drive due to dropping from height or liquid spillage.

More precisely, physical damage to a hard drive actually means:

  • Scratched Platter
  • Damaged Read/Write Head
  • Malfunctioning spindle
  • Motor Problems
  • PCB Problems
Hard Drive Recovery


3. Firmware Problems


Firmware runs the hard disk. It is a mini-OS. If it is corrupt, it is tough to retrieve data.

How do data recovery services work in these three scenarios?

  • In case of logical problems, data recovery software can access the lost data and export it to an external device.
  • In case of physical problems, you need expert and professional data recovery service
  • With firmware problems, the firmware has to be reinstalled and then the disk can be read (if other physical parts are functioning).

If there is physical damage or firmware corruption, then you need Stellar Data Recovery Service.

DIY Data Recovery for Damaged Hard Drive – Worth Experimenting?

It is understandable. You fire up your laptop to prepare a presentation for the meeting tomorrow at the bank.

The device takes several minutes to boot and files will not open.

You run around in frustration, google “how to repair a hard drive at home” and try out a few “tricks” from self-proclaimed “experts” on YouTube and Reddit.

Worst of all, you entrust it to the local laptop repairperson. Nothing can possibly damage your HDD/SSD more.

  • Never attempt to put into action tutorials learned from the internet.
  • Never attempt “tips and tricks” such as freezing the hard drive for 12 hours.
  • Never let a local repairperson open your hard drive and fiddle inside.
  • Never run pirated software or use software of dubious value to recover data.

You will damage the hardware further. Perhaps it was 15% broken and could be fixed with 3 hours of work, but now it is 80% broken and would need 10X time.

The inside of a hard disk has very little scope for error. Disk read/write heads move with clearance as small as three nanometers (the average virus is between 12 and 200 nanometers).

The mere act of taking it apart would introduce dust and kill the drive permanently.

You need an expert from Stellar Data Recovery Services to recover data.

How do data recovery services work at a Stellar lab?

We explore that next.

How Do Data Recovery Services Perform?

  • At the base of all recovery services is a simple premise.
  • Unless a drive will intentionally erased (overwritten by zeroes) the data always remains.
  • What is lost is the navigation to the file and its mention in the file table.
  • Complex algorithms can read the binary data made of 0s and 1s, extract it, and reconstruct a file. It is time-consuming and needs the attention of a team of experts.

As stated before, with logical deletion, you can install and run the Stellar Data Recovery Software and it will retrieve data.

If the hard drive is damaged, it is a different matter altogether.

  • Experts from Stellar Data Recovery Services will open the hard drive inside a Class 100 Clean Room, the largest of its kind in India.
  • State-of-the-art Class 100 Clean Room means the lab has fewer than 100 particles larger than 0.5 microns per cubic foot. Air intake passes through HEPA and ULPA filters and the indoor environment is always at optimum temperature and humidity.
  • They diagnose what is wrong, e.g. read/write head, motor, PCB.
  • The damaged part would be repaired using spare parts from Stellar’s collection of 15000+ dead hard drives.

We are not into repair and we should not make any comparision of data recovery with repair.

Suffice it to say, we enjoy a very high rate of success and global businesses are among our top clients. 

Success Rate for Data Recovery Service at STELLAR

"We have a 90% success rate with the world's best technology."

You need to understand that a lot depends on the damage done to a hard drive before it is brought to us.

If we can, we shall restore the drive to a state where the data can be read and retrieved.

But if the drive has suffered much in the hands of a layperson, then it is beyond recovery.

What prevents data recovery in the other 10% cases?

  • Recovering a hard drive with bootlegged software can result in data erasure.
  • Due to constant attempts at ham-handed recovery, bad sectors may spread.
  • Opening the hard drive outside a clean room effectively “kills” it.
  • For some models, spares might be unavailable.
  • Grave physical damage, e.g. dropping an external hard drive down a flight of stairs, might limit recovery.
  • A drive that has been completely immersed in water because of floods etc. might be beyond help.
  • Any surface oxidation (e.g. caused by remnants of cleaning fluid) of the platter can render it irrecoverable.
Click here to read our success story.

Do's and Don'ts of Data Recovery



Switch off the device once you suspect damage. Never carry out repairs by yourself. 
Handle the damaged drive carefully. Never trust local “technicians”.
Download Stellar Data Recovery Software if there is logical deletion. Do not open the storage media.
Consult our expert by phone for the next steps.  Do not trust dubious software.
Send the drive to Stellar Data Recovery Services in case of firmware/physical problems. Do not believe in unclear DIY advice from the internet.                                                               

Do data recovery services really work?

Of course, they do. 

Professional data recovery is a scientific, repeatable, and robust process. This includes:

  • Diagnosis
  • Logical repairs
  • Physical repair and part transplantation
  • Cloning
  • Data verification 

Remember this. Professional data recovery experts work very differently from data recovery amateurs working in a cabin. When you engage professionals, your data recovery is 80% likely. If you experiment yourself or let an amateur experiment with your drive, the chances reduce to 10% or less. Read More about data recovery process.

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