Question Looking for a comprehensive course or book on harddisk repairing

Aug 18, 2019
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Hello,

I would like to repair my harddrive by myself, and as is learn a lot about electronics and everything that make an harddrive work. So, I have been looking for a course online, and the only one I found was really pricy (5000$) and I cannot afford it.

So, do you know any book, reference, serie for tutorials in order to learn how to repair an harddrive (whatever the cause is) ?

Thanks all

Aymeric
 
If you are referring to Scott Moulton's 5-day (?!) Data Recovery Expert course, then you will be surprised to know that it devotes only two pages to electronics, and these pages are written by someone who knows almost nothing about the subject. For example, in those two pages he wrongly identifies two TVS diodes (one is a 5V diode and the other is 12V, but he mixes them up), and he incorrectly refers to them as TVS resistors. Elsewhere he refers to an IC and speculates (correctly) that it may be involved in motor control.

That said, most problems with hard drives involve heads and media. PCB problems are rare (mostly due to user error).

Hard drives also suffer from "firmware" problems, although not in the usual sense. Some of the firmware is stored in "ROM" on the PCB, but most is contained in a hidden, reserved area on the platters (System Area, SA). This firmware consists of numerous modules, some of which are especially vulnerable to corruption, eg SMART, defect lists. This is because these modules are frequently updated. If a head becomes "weak" or unreliable, then any data that it writes to the SA will be prone to errors. Subsequently when the drive powers up, it will be unable to read these damaged modules, with the result that it will not come ready, ie the user area will be inaccessible.

In short, 99% of data recovery professionals know almost nothing about electronics. PCB problems are solved, either by snipping shorted TVS diodes, or by replacing the PCB and transferring the ROM. That's something that any junior technician can do.

As for books on the subject, I'm not aware of any. Data recovery is a very secretive business.

You might like to read these articles:

New to Data Recovery ? Where to Start ?
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=176

The hard drive -- a computer-within-a-computer:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=2600

newbie info, from and for newbies :) About firmware, SA, etc:
https://forum.hddguru.com/viewtopic.php?t=6562

Tutorial - Linear and Switchmode Regulators used in HDDs:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=231

HDDs from the inside articles:
https://hddscan.blogspot.com/2010/11/hdd-from-inside.html
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=16

Datasheets for SSD and Flash Drive ICs:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=100&t=1577

As for a clean room ...

DIY Clean Chamber - update:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=78&t=1003
http://web.archive.org/web/20150521062919/http://pcbusinessguide.com/forums/index.php?topic=85.0
 
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Aug 18, 2019
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Thanks both for your response, especially fzabkar for all the content you provided.

No I was not talking about Scott Moulton course, I would have to redo a research on Google to find the one that I was reffering to if you want, but it was a course 100% online, with a virtual lab etc (in the same way as OCSP courses if you know them). Anyway, the links you provided looks very interesting, and I will look into it, but I already have the impression that "hard drive science" is kept secret by the constructors, and that maybe I won't find a real comprehensive book about it.

Regards

Aymeric
 
Aug 18, 2019
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Hard to say. As I did not know anything, I opened the harddrive outside a clean room (I could already see dust to deposit on the surface :/), and I noticed that the head of the harddisk was at its place, so this is not the issue.
 

DSzymborski

Glorious
Moderator
Hard to say. As I did not know anything, I opened the harddrive outside a clean room (I could already see dust to deposit on the surface :/), and I noticed that the head of the harddisk was at its place, so this is not the issue.
Since you've already seen dust on the surface, it's more or less a moot issue at this point.

This is the environment in which you can open a hard drive.



You don't see a lot of material about repairing physically broken/defective hard drives for the same reason there isn't a lot of material on how to perform heart bypass surgery on your relatives at your house. This is delicate, careful work.
 
Aug 18, 2019
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Actually, only 4 or 5 grain of dust had time to deposit on the surface before I closed it. Anyway, I could also go to a store and have it repaired, but I like to learn new tech skills and also I don't want them to have access to my datas.
 

COLGeek

Cybernaut
Moderator
Actually, only 4 or 5 grain of dust had time to deposit on the surface before I closed it. Anyway, I could also go to a store and have it repaired, but I like to learn new tech skills and also I don't want them to have access to my datas.
That is 4 or 5 grains too many. Just something to be aware of. Good luck on your learning endeavors.
 

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