Data Recovery from Solid State Drive (SSD) and Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

Published: 07th April 2010
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Solid State Drives (SSD) are slowly replacing Hard Disk Drives (HDD)and a suitable example can be placed from the wide range of options we find when we go out to purchase a new laptop computer. These choices are now on desktops as well.

Although, the choice between SSD and HDD laptops are available but the demand for SSD laptops are slowly overlapping HDD which eventually shows that Solid State Drive (SSD) will successfully lead the market in the near future. And with this, data recovery for your hard drive will be more complicated and expensive because data recovery for SSD is a complex process and cost is likely to be higher than older versions of HDD's.

On the other hand, still many users are unaware about the real difference between these two drives and their advantages or disadvantages. Even though, we come across various Storage Drives every day but we hardly wonder whether it is a Solid State Drive (SSD) or a Hard Disk Drive (HDD). I don't think it is surprising that people are unaware of Data Recovery and its wide possibilities even from wrecked and dead drives. I didn't know about data recovery until I completely broke my Thumb Drive and lost all my high school pictures last summer.

Well, if you are among those who haven't faced such tragic stories of data loss or don't know if Data Recovery is possible even from physically or logically dead storage drives then I suggest you become familiar with your Storage Drive and something about Data Recovery; if you are using Storage Drives then you are always a probable victim of Data Loss.

Hard Disk Drive:

Hard Disk Drive are an enclosed disk drive that contains one or more metallic disks for data storage. These drives are non-volatile in nature and have ability to store digitally encoded data on a rapidly rotating magnetic platter. Even though, these platters are made up of glass or aluminum alloy but we can find a thin layer of magnetic material used on the surface of these platters which ultimately helps in the data storing process.

Hard Disk Drive (HDD) were introduced in 1956 by IBM as a data storage device with a simple motive to maintain their accounting but later the need of huge and reliable storage device led this simple Hard Disk to a complex and more advanced form like: RAIDs, NASs or SANs etc.

The undeniable need of huge storage devices among business organizations and individuals not only compelled the IT industry to produce storage devices with great flexibility and enormous storage capacity but they also had to find a better clarification in case of sudden and unpleasing drive malfunction or data loss. Hence, Data Recovery Companies like: eProvided emerged to be the solution when data loss strikes.

Characteristics of Hard Disk Drives:

•Hard Disk Drives (HDD) contain moveable parts like: rotating magnetic platters and moving heads which make HDD weak or sensitive towards any physical hurdles.

•Platters used in Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are coated with magnetic materials. Hence, they should not be exposed to high magnetic fields.

•Hard Disk Drives (HDD) need more energy to run as compared to SSD's.

•In Hard Disk Drives (HDD) the computer searches around the rotating disk for particular data which can be time consuming.

•Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are cheap and affordable.

•The mortality rate, speed and reliability is low on Hard Disk Drives (HDD)

•Data Recovery is (in most cases) simple and easy.

Solid State Drive:

Solid State Drives have been marked as a revolutionizing memory device in the field of the IT industry and among data storage lovers. The Drive being non-magnetic and non-optical but a solid state semi-conductor promises faster access with better physical flexibility towards extreme temperature, shock and unnecessary physical vibrations.

A Solid State Drives are a high performance plug-and-play storage device that have no moving parts and contain DRAM or Flash Memory Boards which are designed to resist the unnecessary physical vibrations and shock so to provide trouble free performance even in an uneven environment.

These SSD are designed with a CPU to manage data and are amazingly faster than other conventional rotating hard disks. Thus, they are highly recommended for server systems where time is crucial.

Characteristics of Solid State Drives:

•Solid State Drives (SSD) have no moving parts, consists of flash memory chips (NAND Wafers) so they have less possibilities of physical damage.

•With no moving parts there is less energy expended which means longer battery life.

•Solid State Drives (SSD) are not damageable by magnetic fields.

•In Solid State Drives (SSD) computers can pull up the data immediately instead of looking around on a spinning disk.

•Solid State Drives (SSD) are more expensive as compared to regular Hard Drives.

•Compared to Hard Disk Drives (HDD), Solid State Drives (SSD) have smaller mortality rates and are more reliable.

•Data Recovery is complicated on SSD.

Data Recovery from Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD)

Data Recovery for Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD) can be categorized under two headings: Tier I (Physical Failure) and Tier II (Logical Failure). No matter if your storage drive is HDD or SSD, if they need Data Recovery Solutions then they either need Tier I or Tier II data recovery.

Data Recovery for HDD is easier and is less time consuming. Whereas, in SSD, due to the complicated but advanced processes of data storage; data recovery is tough and sometimes impossible. The primary difference is that standard platter based HDD's can be recovered through mechanical means, whereas SSD's require special technology and algorithm understandings for the individual memory chips and software to try and rebuild the data.

According to eProvided, Hard Disk Drives (HDD) greater in size then 500 GB's can take a few hours or less for recovery whereas a 64GB SSD could take more then 24hours.

Data Recovery for Hard Disk Drive (HDD): eProvided

Logical Damages (Tier II):

Logical damage is commonly caused by power issues (too much too little, loss of power, power surges, etc.) because this prevents your data and file system structure to be completely written in your storage medium. A physically damaged storage medium can also lead to similar issues. In both, the file system remains in your storage drive in an inconsistent state and needs proper data recovery support to restore and restructure the data.

A few malfunctions that can be seen in your storage medium after logical damage: drives reporting negative amounts of free space, infinitely recurring directories, the clicking behavior of your hard drive's read/write head etc.

Physical Damages (Tier I):

Data Recovery for a physically damaged drive has no other solution then the need for a Data Recovery Company. But, still there are many ways to prevent such accidents. A physical stress in a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) can lead to larger problems then in Solid State Drives (SSD) and this simply makes the data recovery process more complicated.

Data Recovery for Solid State Drive (SSD): eProvided

Logical Damages (Tier II):

Data Recovery for Solid State Drive (SSD) has always been a complicated process. A logically damaged or cracked Solid State Drive (SSD) has some possibilities with data recovery software but there are some risks as well.

Many well known data recovery companies have claimed that using illegitimate and free data recovery software can harm your storage device and your data severely.

Furthermore, a recent market study has shown that data recovery software which is designed for Solid State Drives (SSD) is usually found ineffective and inadequate. Thus, it's far better to consult a data recovery company like: eProvided then to risk your data and drive's life span and integrity.

Physical Damages (Tier I):

Solid State Drive (SSD) manufacturers claim devices can still operate even after being dropped from two- level buildings but this is not true in every situation. A physically damaged Solid State Drive (SSD) has, in most cases a definite need for a Data recovery company and experts like eProvided.

A physically damaged drive involves various recovering techniques. These techniques are practiced depending upon the drives physical instability and type of physical damage. Some recoveries are somewhat easy with a well established data recovery company and replacement parts are on hand in the thousands.

eProvided has approximately 100,000 parts on hand and the stockpile grows daily. Specialized disk imaging procedures are used and every readable bit undergoes a deep recovery to piece back every one and zero on the device, including error checking.

Hence, the data recovery techniques and cost could vary; some devices seen at eProvided are in more than 15 pieces, with NAND wafers also cracked in more than two parts, still success in recovering the data is possible. eProvided founder Bruce Cullen states "we are also developing a process to get inside NAND wafers and put them back together internally at the microscope level" Thus, using software for data recovery on physically damaged hardware is very seldom a success, hence it's best & recommended to consult eProvided and SSD/ HDD recovery experts.

Data Recovery Technique from a Logically Wounded Drive:

Consistency Checking:

Consistency checking refers to the process where the storage medium undergoes deep software scans. This process is thoroughly performed with the help of advanced software which enables an educated user to know the logical structure of the disk and the accuracy of its directory and their entries. In every file system a directory must have at least two basic entries i.e. a dot entry that points to itself and a double dot entry that leads to the parent. The software helps to read and correct any issues that may arise and are necessary in restructuring data.

Data Carving :

When data recovery from the storage device fails from a normal mode data carving techniques are used. This is due to the fact that the desired data no longer has file system allocation information available to identify the sectors or clusters that belong to the file or data.

Data carving usually searches through raw sectors looking for specific desired file signatures, this is because the file system has no information on the size of the file being carved, the current methods involve specifying a block size of data to "carve" upon finding the desired signature.

Author: Kiran Bista | Edited by Bruce Cullen

Resources: eProvided||SSD Data Recovery

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