Data Recovery from Hard Disk Drive

The four categories of hard drive failures:

Usually, are two kinds of failures, logical ones and mechanical ones, but there are actually four categories of hard drive failures:

  • logical failures: a corruption of the file system, often due to the presence of bad sectors, but not necessarily
  • mechanical failures: damaged read heads, headstack assembly stuck on the platters, a.s.o.
  • circuit board failures: damaged caused by overvoltage, a faulty electronic component, a.s.o.
  • firmware failures: some unexpected state of the hard drive's inner software.

Additionally to the four kind of hard drive failures listed above, one can also mention the ancillary failures that don't come from the hard disk itself, but from an accessory such as a defective converter enclosure, as it it sometimes the case with external hard drives (USB, Firewire, …). This is a benign problem that we can economically remedy for you.

1st case, accounting for about 50% of hard disk failures :

Logical failures

They result from a corruption of the filesystem, usually caused by the presence of defective sectors.

When are they likely?

When the files are no longer accessible, but the hard drive has not received any shock.
Associated symptoms
  • The computer abruptly turns off / Blue screen
  • The HDD does not respond / The computer is "frozen".
  • The hard disk drive is unusually slow.

Typical characteristics

  • The hard disk rotates without emitting any particular noise.
  • The hard drive is detected by the BIOS.
  • The hard drive is usually detected by the disk manager.
  • The file explorer cannot list the files or is like "frozen" when trying to list the content of some directory.

Data recovery rates for logical failures

  • competitive pricing
  • guaranteed price
  • no hidden fees
Click to know the price
Please click on the button matching the total capacity of your hard drive:
≤ 250 GB 320 GB 500 GB 640 GB 750 GB
1 TB 1,5 TB 2 TB ≥ 2 TB (()

2nd case, accounting for about 30% of hard disk failures :

Mechanical failures

This is a hardware damage inside the hard drive.

In about 90% of cases, a professional repair can recover most of the data. In about 10% of the cases, the disk has too many scratches and the price of a data recovery might be excessive in regard of the percentage of data which could be recovered.

When are they likely?

When the hard drive is no longer detected, neither by the Disk Manager, nor even by the BIOS. Very often after a shock such as a fall, but not necessarily.

Typical characteristics

  • The hard drive makes a rattling sound (click, click, …).
  • The hard drive starts, spins, and then goes off.
  • Unusual noises are heard inside the HDD.
  • The hard drive is not detected at all, neither by the disk manager nor even by the BIOS.
  • The hard disk emits a kind of sizzle but does not seem to turn: there is no slight vibration of its enclosure.

Data recovery rates for mechanical failures

Diagnosis29.— CHF
Donor Hard Drive50 to 150 CHF (4)
Cleanroom repair750 to 850 CHF (5)
Total829 to 929 CHF
+ supplies if anySee available supplies

(4) Unlike most of our competitors, we offer you the diagnosis. In order to prevent abuse, the free diagnosis is limited to one data carrier per client. For each customer, the counter is reset at any firm order, so you can take advantage of the free diagnosis multiple times.

(5) Estimate. Non-contractual price. Donor hard drives must meet many criteria. They are sought in specialized HDD banks such as, and, as well as in partner labs, or on generic market places such as Ebay. We seek the donor for parts in your best interest, taking into account the emergency level.

(6) Estimate. This is in no way a firm offer, but an order of magnitude. An offer will be made on a case by case basis.

3rd case, accounting for about 10% of hard disk failures :

HDD circuit board failures

Failures caused by a damaged electronic circuit board of the hard drive represent only about 10% of cases. In the most common case, they arise from an overvoltage that the circuit has experienced.

When are they likely?

  • When the wrong PSU was connected to an external desktop hard drive (typically a 19 V instead of a 12 V)
  • Sometimes after a liquid damage to the computer
  • When after being powered on, the HDD is not spinning at all (no vibration, even slight) and does not emit any sound.

Typical characteristics

  • The circuit board sometimes gives off a smell of ozone.
  • The hard drive is completely silent.
  • The disk doesn't spin : no vibration is perceived when holding the drive in hand.

Data recovery rates for circuit board repairs

Such repair done by us usually costs around 200 to 300 CHF, depending on the price of the donor circuit board, how urgent and how difficult the repair is.

In rare cases, the damage to the circuit may have been caused by an internal mechanical problem of the hard disk, in which case a mechanical repair, which is more expensive, should be envisaged (with your prior agreement).

4th case, accounting for about 10% of hard disk failures :

Firmware failures

It can happen that a hard drive is in a blocked state, that it has become invisible or difficult to access, without however that mechanical components have failed. Indeed, when an unforeseen event occurs, the disk can enter a state that had not been planned by the manufacturer.

Data Recovery labs have knowledge of bugs that are specific to some hard drive series.

When are they likely?

- When the hard drive has not received any particular shock, when it is invisible or very slow and belongs to one of the following product ranges :

  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12
  • Western Digital Elements
  • Western Digital MyPassport
  • Maxtor Diamond Max.22

- When the hard disk displays a zero or wrong capacity in the disk Manager.

Typical characteristics

  • A Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 or 7200.12 is no longer detected.
  • A WD Elements or WD MyPassport has become very slow, unstable, or is even no longer detected.
  • The disk manager shows the drive with zero capacity or wrong capacity.

Data recovery rates for firmware failures

Plan a budget of 400 to 700 francs for such data recovery.

Data lost because of human errors

Accidental events, like hard drive formating, the accidental deletion of files or overwitting a file with a wrong version, represents about 15% of all the cases entrusted to us, but this is not a failure of the data carrier. These cases are similar to logical failures, but the cost of a recovery may be higher when special efforts must be deployed to find specific files. Feel free to contact us.

In summary

This page introduced you to the categories of hard drive failures and our data recovery rates in each case.
Making possible a basic pre-diagnosis or your hard drive by yourself, it allowed you to accurately determine, or at least to estimate, how much recovering your data through our service would cost you.

However, keep in mind that each case is unique, and that nothing replaces the experience. For instance, a hard drive emitting a clicking noise will not always require a mechanical repair, even if that is true in the vast majority of cases.

The inspection of your hard drive will determine precisely what needs to be done.

Feel free to call us at +41 (0)78 626 54 33 at office hours UTC+1 (Central European Time).


Bd du Pont-d'Arve 28, 1205 Genève  • 7e étage • Tél. +41 78 626 54 33