Data Forensics and Data Recovery Services

Apple 500GB Western Digital Hard Drive WD5000AAKS Data Recovery, sledge hammer damaged drive out of an iMac. Can it be recovered?


Do you have a smashed hard drive that needs advanced data recovery? I can help you to get your data back. Even the most challenging data recovery cases can be handled in our in house data recovery lab.


Project: Smashed WD Apple 500GB WD WD5000AAKS Data Recovery Service from an iMac
Client : Media company in Northern Ireland
Issues : Damaged PCB, Damaged body / frame, damaged reading heads, platter contamination

This week we had in a Data Recovery job from a Western Digital hard drive that was damaged with sledgehammer. This hard drive was fitted with in an Apple iMac 2010 model. The initial damaged looked like a broken pcb board, holes in the frame and a complete bend chassis. Not an easy data recovery job if they come in like that. You may wonder how this can happen. How can a hard drive be smashed inside an iMac? In short, the client bought a new iMac and used the Apple migration assistant to copy data to the new iMac. The migration assistant reported all data was copied over and customer used a hammer to destroy the old iMac. After rebooting the new iMac he noticed that not all data was copied over. This is how we got in, this Western Digital drive for data recovery in such a bad shape. I’m still sure this defenceless Western Digital hard drive didn’t deserve such a beating but I’m up for the challenge.

Donor pcb was prepared to take the adaptive information from the rom chip. Problem 1 solved, new donor board is ready to go. Next up inspection of the inside of the WD hard drive. Let’s see how bad it is on the inside. We use the latest and most modern laminar flow cabinets ( clean room data recovery ) to work on hard drives.

It is bad, like really bad. The Apple 500GB WD WD5000AAKS reading heads are badly damaged and the spindle and engine is seized too. I need to do a full plater swap on this WD drive to a new housing. Plater swaps are the most challenging work in data recovery and only done as a last resort when the engine seized or bearings failed.

At this stage we have a workable pcb board , a seized engine, a contaminated plater, broken reading heads. It cannot get any worst than that for any data recovery company. Next up the plater swap to a new housing. Old damaged reading heads were removed from it and plater prepared for a swap. Fun data recovery times ahead.

Hard drive platters were transferred from damaged western digital hard drive to new one. All we need to do now is using a pair of suitable donor heads, clean the platers and see if I can get back user data access. This is a more challenging data recovery job and expect cost between £500 and £700 for such work for a successful data recovery.

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