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Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD ) | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

I came up with the idea of writing a guide for the 10TB WD / HGST helium filled drive. At the time, I asked for help from ACE and various Data Recovery forums but no feedback was giving and only a reference to one YouTube video was available. ACE labs support is great but they could not help me on this one.

This hard drive is from a Western Digital My Book 10TB that was dropped from about 1m height. Turning it on and measuring the voltages shows a very high drain and combined with a beeping / buzzing sounds let me believe the hard drive reading heads might have got stuck on the magnetic disks. Time to find out. I did a 2-way attack. The first one was in my garage removing the laser welded metal lid from the 10TB Helium filled drive after that the drive was sealed and further work was done in out lab with a laminar flow cabinet.

Here is my Data Recovery guide and findings step by step. If you click on any picture you will get a higher resolution one. Good luck for any of you in the same Data Recovery situation. This is not a nice Hard Drive to work on. 

10TB drive removed from plastic enclosure and ready to be gutted. Drive feels quite heavy and looks more like an HGST Enterprise drive. Serials let me believe this is actually an HGST drive, also no DCM WD number on the drive.  

10TB HGST

The laser welds on the outside seems quite big and also there is a sticker on the bottom. I think the drive was welded first, helium gas added later and sealed with the sticker.

Data Recovery 10TB Helium filled drive

The sticker is the only point where gas can go through. Take outmost care that no dust or debris goes that way. In the video they used a cnn cutting machine and all the metal chips got onto the disk surface.  

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD ) | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

My tool of choice is a Stanley knife with a brand new quality straight blade fitted. CNN cuttings is out of question and way to messy.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD ) | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

I make my incision 2mm behind the actual laser weld and it cuts easier than I thought

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD ) | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

I sliced the full right side with a sharp blade and it is almost like butter the metal. 

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD ) | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

One side is sliced and I make sure that the metal lid behind it is pushed down to prevent dust from going behind onto the disks of the hard drive.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD ) | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Easier than I thought it could be and I got finally a nice edge I can start to work off removing the rest of the metal top lid from this 10TB hard drive.  

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

2nd choice for my Data Recovery weapon to remove the lid is just a pair of pliers and I start to peel off the metal like you would open a can.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Peeling the metal off like a pro away from the round sticker opening with a plier, Data recovery at its finest here.  

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

I covered the hole or let’s call it the protrusion hole that is being used to fill the hard drive and sealed after it was filled with helium.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

The red tape seals the protrusion hole and prevents any dust or debris coming into the main hard drive and ending up on the plates. I worked away from it and sealed it right away.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Almost done removing the top metal layer from this 10TB WD helium filled hard drive. I can’t wait to see the inside and how bad it actually is. This is as far as I can go in my garage before I can finally open this WD / HGST hard drive and perform data recovery.   

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

I transported the drive in a sealed bag and the 10TB Helium drive made it in my laminar flow work cabinet for further investigation. From here I would think the normal data recovery proves should be done like any other hard drive.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Time to get ready to remove screws. Standard torx screws here and not some odd screws you can find on the rosewood ones. I removed as much dust and debris as possible but it was very clean to start off with.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Some mug shots of the laser welded WD 10TB lid and how clean I got that off. HDD Guru video is great but it is way too messy.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

There is a rubber seal under the 2nd metal lid that prevents any dust coming in and all we have here are only torx screws and some stickers covering the reading heads screws.  

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

That’s the only hole or protrusion I could find and it was covered right away in my garage to prevent contamination

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Those screws are torx but they have different length and diameters. Keep track of them as they differ from the outside screws.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

2 more mug shots and almost ready for the money shot of the 10TB hard drive

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Nothing to see here at all, just red tape waiting to be removed.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Stickers peeled and removed from the 10TB helium drive head assembly  

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Centre screw from spindle / engine motor. Haven’s seen this design for a while on a hard drive.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Almost all screws removed from the 2nd lid and ready to remove it to get access to the reading heads

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

All screws removed from this 10TB WD drive and total is 11 screws with 4 different sizes but all the same torx head.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

First shot of the magnetic hard drive plates on a 10TB WD My book drive. No damage to the magnetic plates either. Looking good so far.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

I am surprised to find the reading heads parked on the ramp and no damage to them at all. This drive has 8 plates and 16 reading heads.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Magnetic plates are clean no dust or debris on it from removing the laser welded lid.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

16 Heads look fine and 16 sliders in place too. This drive was dropped from about 1m.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

No scratches on the surface either which is a big relieve but not I was expecting to find the heads stuck to the plate on this one.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

Based on the beeping buzzing coming from the 10TB hard drive I was surprised to find the heads intact. Also, I was advised the drive was running while being dropped.

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

This is bad, I checked the spindle and the motor / engine on this 10TB helium drive is seized. Could be a bearing damage too. No chance to move it 1mm forward or backwards. This means a full platter transfer is required on this one which will bring up costs and makes a difficult job very complicated.  

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

There is almost no space to lift out the plates and transferring all 8 plates over without off setting them. I call that a nightmare. It is challenging enough on a small capacity hard drive but on this beats I have to come up with a new approach.  

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

We got that far but I have to stop this guide and find away how to safely transfer all plates in 1 go over. This will be covered in another guide. Also I would need the heads working perfect. I do not think PC3000 supports a heads map on this one yet or DeepSpaars DDI 4. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. 

Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD )  | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |

If you got any questions, feel free to contact me. I hope I get the guide up for a full plater swap soon. Let’s hope we won’t get too many of those 10TB Helium drives in for Data Recovery. I almost come to believe that this hard drive has power saving parks the heads very quickly on the ramp when not in use to prevent thermal problems. I never had a dropped hard drive that didn’t have damaged heads or got stuck to the plate after dropping it. All I can say is not to use such a hard drive if you cannot afford to lose your data.  Btw. This drives contains 8TB user data.

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