Some untypical enquiries

Hi Everyone,

broken toasterWe’ve had some strange submissions to the ICT help desk this month, including a broken toaster?? and an enquiry about a broadband office installation??? LOL – we can’t help with any of these enquiries so I thought I’d post some of the VALID queries that we CAN help with:

  • Internal Seagate drive failed in desktop pc, according to another data recovery company they said they could t do a full scan so they couldn’t do a data retrieval. I originally removed the HD from the October indentify if it it was a pc or Hd problem. When I placed the HD in an external drive reader, it noted a connection and you could hear the drive power up, but it wouldnt assign a drive letter or let me view it
  • I have deleted by mistake all my files from my hd external seagate and I would like to know how much do you charge to recover everything back.
  • I have a WD MY PASSPORT ULTRA HD 3 TB for around a year and half and suddenly 2 days ago none of my 2 computers can’t seem to access it. The HD shows on disk utility but I’m not able to access it.I have around 500 gb of personal data in there that I would like to recover. I have tried all the methods that I could find online but none have worked so far. As far as I know the HD has never been dropped or tossed.
  • Had for some time, attempted to back up – Mac not recognising drive contacted apple care, state disk corrupted and therefore cannot access. Suggest only option is to delete data, but valuable data to me (photos, videos etc) and therefore would like to recover data from hard drive before deleting. The external hard drive is an Iomega 31887300
  • My external hard drive has a mechanical fault and is doing that clicking sound. I have a lot of data on it, but the most important thing to me is about 2 years (~40gb) worth of photos.
  • I have a WD ‘My Passport’ external hard drive which unfortunately has broken (not recognised as a drive by any computer) and I stupidly have not backed up the data. When I have taken it to Curry’s PC World and a local computer shop they have said my data is unrecoverable by them but suggested some specific data recovery services may be able to do it, but it is a big maybe. I unfortunately have no clue as to the amount of data on it.
  • Macbook Air 11″ early 2014 a1465 SSD fault. SSD installed is a Toshiba 128gb. Mac won’t boot from the ssd but will once removed. Recent update to High Sierra could have disabled or broken the SSD. Only 10GB of Photos needs to be recovered. What might this cost to recover if the failure is with the ssd hardware.

So we can’t help with toasters but we can help with the above enquiries…. Speak soon!

WD My Cloud EX2 Data Recovery

Welcome to 2018 everyone – I’m jumping straight in to a post about a user from Nottingham whose missing some files from a Western Digital My Cloud NAS hard drive system.

I have a WD MyCloud EX2 Ultra.
Had several ‘red lights’ for the drives – ran some tests – found some problems (well explained at and but when re-booted, the same tests were normal. WD advised me to just keep an eye on it.
Was OK for a while then started getting red lights again. Sorted out an RMA with WD – they sent me out a new enclosure with two new drives.
WD gave me the wrong instructions – told me to remove one new drive, replace with one of the old drives and rebuild the RAID. It turns out I should have done RAID roaming and put both old drives in the new enclosure first before replacing one with a new drive, and then the second new drive once the RAID was re-built. So what seems to have happened is that one of my existing drives has been effectively wiped (not overwritten though I think). Now my other existing drive seems to be failing. I can’t access on of the shares at all and the dashboard says the volume is degraded.
I’ve spoken to someone at DataClinic and she advised me that I would be looking at around £500 to recover all my data and save it to the new drives – would that be about right? I’m going to try to get WD to pay for this.

WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra hard drive

I have WD my cloud box with 3 TB drive which recently stopped working. It could not be detected via network anymore. I opened a box and put the drive into laptop via sata usb cable and it can not be detected. Disk produces periodic strange noise like trying to spin but can’t + something similar to high voltage electric noise. It stops after several attempts

My external hard drive (WD Elements 4109G 1TB) set up as my Mac Time Machine drive has stopped working. It’s developed some hard drive problem but I don’t know what it is. I’m thinking of getting a My Cloud system to put my files on – perhaps an EX2 RAID NAS but what I’ve written above does not fill me with confidence. I’m not very good at technology so would have to get a data recovery company to do it.

A Letter from Finance

I received this letter from Finance in the form of an email earlier today which made me smile, the sender shall remain nameless…

“I have a faulty external hard drive which I am trying to recover data from. I have had the drive for a few years and this weekend I was unable to connect it to my laptop to remove data. I have tried a few things but the disc doesn’t appear to be spinning. When I plug in the adaptor the light blinks. Sometimes it makes a noise like it is connected to the laptop but does not show as connected”

What have I been talking about ever since I started this column? I’ve written so many posts and sent out so many emails about how important it is to not meddle with a hard drive when it goes faulty.

datlabs logoWe’ve had a few instances where employees have decided to have a go at fixing the hard disk problems themselves only for them to make a huge mess and then ask us to help rescue their files. In most of these cases, the damage they’ve caused to the hard drive has made it beyond repair.

We are at the moment trialing the capacities of the UK’s Datlabs – a data recovery service. I’ll let you know how they get on trying to rescue data from hard drives that are now badly damaged.

Phones and DVR

As some of you may already be aware, ICT have now been tasked (lumbered?) with supporting DVR and mobile phones. You all know what a mobile phone is but what is a DVR I hear you ask? A DVR is a Digital Video Recorder – basically it’s another name for a CCTV system. Here are some example questions that we WILL deal with, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

DVR CCTV system with camerasI have a cctv dvr that stopped working . A friend that does retrievals on computers had a look and managed to get the footage up and dvr working but could not get the data off it so they took the hard drive out and connected it to another device but could not get anything up . I had it back and put it in the dvr the dvr boots up and hard drive stars spinning but then hard drive stops spinning and it asks me to format I click cancel but can not get the footage back up it is very very important footage. Is there anyway of getting the footage back?

I have an old iphone 3gs and its broken or wont charge up and i have some cherished photographs and videos stored on it which id like to retrieve. Is there anyway possible with your help that i can do this .

probably a long shot but i have broken my sony xperia z3 very badly bent and smashed badly is there anyway to recover the photos of my kids? it will not connect via usb. please help

I have got a DVR which I believe, data on it was deleted on purpose last year, as when you log in it says no data found. I was wondering if you could recover the deleted data, going back a few months and copy it on to DVD.

Hard Drives With Problems – Data Recovery Needed

LEA problemsThis is what my IT support desk has to deal with on a daily basis!

“I have a Samsung M3 1TB. The hard drive is powered but PC is not able to recognise the drive. I took to my local PC repair and they identified the heads were stuck and freed. Unfortunately the drive is still not readable but the beeps have stopped. I desperately need the contents of the Hard drive, please tell me you can help?”

“Seawater external hard drive has stopped completely. No whirring sounds. No light coming on. No warning!
(I think they mean Seagate rather than Seawater!)”

“Windows 10 failed install. HO Laptop won’t boot. Error message saying os can’t be loaded critical driver missing or errors.
Error 0xc000007b
Can’t recover or reset due to messages saying Windows drivers locked and something about partitions? I would like to restore my laptop to a functions Windows no matter what version and more importantly not lose my files and photos which have not recently been backed up 🙁 Can you fix this and how much for?”

“Cannot make my hard drive to start anymore. Western Digital.”

“Can’t access hard drive with much of my work on it.It’s an old disk drive – circa 2000, and modern motherboards won’t look at it. SCSI I think. Sure would like to retrieve my work. Can you help?”

“Affected drive: Seagate ST2000VM003. Drive used in Seagate Central NAS enclosure that suddenly stopped working and being recognised. Was recognised and accessible in the morning, but not showing up in the evening. Has not been dropped. The drive tries to spin up (so looks like getting power) but even when hooking up to a SATA-USB cable then cannot be seen by PC. Tried running Ubuntu and GParted to detect. When running GParted get the following information: /dev/sdb: unrecognized disk label and only sees 3.86GB. Also read it could be issues with the pcb but don’t know why it has failed.
Trying to see if the data can be recoverd.”

“Swannview home cctv with a dvr hdd 500gb recording Hard drive. It is setup to over right the oldest date once full. I need to recover cctv footage for 27/06 but at present I can only go back to 29/06. Could this be recovered”

“Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1000 G Bytes Hard drive from the tower PC,
Nothing would load from the hard drive, noise / clicking etc..
Had the hard drive changed at my local PC Shop but they can not recover any data from original drive.
Please advise time and cost to recover files etc…”

Data recovery costs can vary considerably. In the UK the average cost of a data recovery service on a hard drive is about £600, but can be more if spare parts for the hard drive are also required. If parts are necessary you can easily add about £150 onto this price. Phone recovery costs are slightly less – about £300 and spare parts are cheaper too at approximately £100.

Yes my IT staff can help recover your data. If you have a staff code or are LEA affiliated, use Form 270B and you’ll be able to offset the costs to your department. Note that costs exceeding £500 will need approval from a local LEA Director, but costs less than £100 can be approved by level 2 staff and above.

A Clicking Drive is a Dead Drive

Today I got a call from the Sefton Tech Services, over in Southport, Lancashire who sent me the following: “Drive is identified on connect then clicking noise follows and displays HDD cannot be accessed. Suspecting home user accidental drop or disconnect while in use. Data recovery was attempted using test disk/photorec repair and recovery software, drive contents could be seen but scanning and recovery process was taking endless time.”

A data recovery labWhen your hard drive clicks it’s a sign of a serious internal fault. A clicking drive is indeed a dead drive, but sometimes, resurrection is possible! If the drive is completely unresponsive, nothing can be done with it. The hurdle where people fall in trying to understand the problem is they believe their hard drive is still working because it’s identified when connected to the computer. (The logic goes like this: if I connect the hard drive to the computer and the computer identifies it then the hard drive must be working.) This is intact incorrect. The actual device that is identified is not the hard drive, but the USB device that connects to the hard drive.

When this happens the above symptoms will be shown. The most important point to remember is it’s the USB interface not the hard drive that is responding. The USB interface is working fine, it’s the hard drive that is giving problems. Ticking hard drives are very rarely repairable by our in-house ICT staff – it’s sometimes possible to recover them by following the advice on Data Recovery Tips, and I advise you to be at least semi-tech savvy before you attempt any of the recommendations on that web site.

Most of the time though a ticking hard drive is serious enough that even the information on the Data Recovery Tips site isn’t enough. Instead you’ll need to find a company that specialise in hard drive repair and recovery services. You all know my recommendations, or you can call me for advice on a case by case basis.

Why DIY fixes for hard drives doesn’t work.

If you’re like me, you’ll undoubtedly have messes around with a fare share of computer hardware, and like me, if you come across a fault, you will want to diagnose and fix it yourself. This is fine for a lot of things inside a computer, but one area which you should stay away from is hard disk drives. This is not because you don’t know what the fault is or how to correct it, but because the amount of misinformation online is incredible.

First things first, hard drives are such an engineered device that it can be difficult to know what fault a drive might be suffering from specifically. This is one reason why it is not recommended to diagnose a hard drive yourself. If you take for example, a mechanical fault such as a head crash, it can be very hard to actually determine yourself if the drive has a head crash or not, this is because every manufacturer of hard drive make them slightly differently, and furthermore, each specific model of hard drive makes different noises, these can be hard to recognise. Checkout this link to hear just a small portion of hard drive noises.


What’s wrong with DIY fixes?
Misinformation. The amount of false information on those kinds of sites is absurd. For example, some sites recommend putting the hard drive in a freezer. Does anyone see a problem here? Well, if you put a hard drive in a freezer, it won’t do it any damage until you take it out of the freezer. You will instantly get condensation, which due to the sensitivity of the platter’s magnetic coat; it will cause instant damage to the platter (your data). This is just one example of falsity in hard drive fixes.
Let’s take another example, a hard drive has stiction, a common fault on 2.5” drives, lets hit it to release the stiction. Removing stiction is a very delicate procedure that should be done in a place with access to a clean room. Because stiction is a fault that involves taking the drive lid off, it should definitely not be attempted by a home user, you would (if the data is important to you) take the drive to a reputable recovery company that have a clean room. While you can release the stiction yourself, if you do not have the training, you could rip the read/write heads across the platter which will grind away at the platter and destroy a lot of data!


DIY fixes for hard drives do not work. You have to add it up, is the data on the hard drive (that could contain precious photographs, documents and music) more expensive than choosing a professional data recovery company to go with.

Professional clean room

How important is CCTV?

What exactly is CCTV? What sorts of CCTV are available? What is going to function as the most resourceful for me? Read this succinct post to get a deep knowledge of CCTV techniques, their benefits and drawbacks and more.

downloadTheft is a problem for all companies. Committeded security guards can be expensive, and even they can’t be omnipresent inside a shop when an act of stealing happens. CCTV DVR Systems supply a means to securely monitor your establishment at all times to deter many crimes and supply investigators with priceless data when a thief does strike to regain property.

CCTV DVR systems are employed to supply what is generally 24/7 observation for a place of business or house. These systems can be configured in a broad variety of manners depending on the budget and the security needs of an user. The system starts with a chain of CCTV cameras set all over the location. They can blanket both the exterior and inside of the establishment. Ideally the camera angles should overlap in such a manner that blind spots are eliminated.

CCTV cameras come in a myriad of shapes. Dome cameras are used fairly frequently. These can also hide the precise direction of the camera making them harder to avert. One can additionally install infrared cameras which pick up heat signatures even when there is no light. Hidden cams can be deployed which are challenging to identify as cameras.

The CCTV camera(s) are then capable to relay impulses of data as they occur as a way to send to a DVR apparatus. This Often will be managed by means of a normal coaxial cable. As technology has progressed nonetheless, there are now wireless choices available. This helps out when installing the camera, additionally, with wireless, thieves can not break any wires. Sadly there are signal jammers that might influence the CCTV cameras (if they have a corresponding frequency)

The footage is then recorded to the Digital Video Recording apparatus. In this way, footage may be sent to your law enforcement body once the thieving happens. many newer DVR devices can only record when there is movement detected by the cam. In this manner, the DVR storage device will be able to fit more data on and the devices are under less pressure.
You can obtain different kinds of DVR computer configurations. Nowadays, there are a lot that require a computer. These are simply ordinary PCs configured to accept signals from the cameras monitoring a building. It is a system to possess as a result of its adaptability. It might utilise more efficient video formats and there is (ordinarily) a lot more room on committed hard drives than DVR systems only. You can also update the existing components if you wish to do so.

Desktop PC





The main negative thing as the main storage apparatus of CCTV data in having a pc is that one can run the chance of your pc crashing. If this happened during a robbery, you would have no footage (which is the whole purpose of having CCTV). There are qualified people who know how to get data back from devices however, so not to worry!

Digital Video Recording systems are designed and used solely for the purpose of this were developed in order to battle the possible faults of PCs. The real size of standard DVRs is similar to a large DVD player or VHS player. This sort of DVR is similar to that of a TV-DVR, as the apparatus gets and houses the footage on a hard disk drive that is internal to the system. It is challenging to update these types of systems nonetheless, meaning that the technology in it might be out of date and could be holding your security back.

The leading advantage to some CCTV DVR program (s) that is a portion of a network is that you can frequently find a way to manage the movements of the cam(s). All of the data from the DVR is connected by a layer 3 switch and is able to transmit itself to any location around the world to be seen and modified. These devices usually have additional abilities to be able to stream the footage live to locations around the world, should you’ll need it to be tracked elsewhere. This helps in protecting yourself from having the footage captured to be kept safe.







A company really can boost their safety by the resources of a CCTV DVR program. You could have the skill to monitor a location in a variety of locations and record the data for benchmark. The prodigy of these robust systems makes for a notable stand against burglary.