Data Recovery Services In Times Of Crisis

Keep Calm 🙂

Check Temperature 🤒

Face Masks 😷 Gloves & hair net worn in cleanroom – no change ✅

Clean working surfaces, work to minimise paper & cardboard – no change ✅

Use ULPA Filtered Air in Cleanroom – no change ✅

Wash hands more frequently 👍

Customer Services & Admin Staff already work remotely from home or separate offices not connected to the lab 👍

🆘 0800 999 3282

R3 are one of the few specialist data recovery operations in the UK. ✅

As a Disaster Recovery Lab we continue operations during times of emergency and national crisis. 🦠

R3 offer a dedicated driver for emergency and sensitive / critical data transportation instead of standard courier. 🚑

R3 repair, recover and restore access to data on all types of storage devices. ✅

From a broken memory stick, corrupt SSD or clicking Hard Drive to broken Mobile phones, Crashed Servers, Inaccessible Network Attached Storage, Deleted Virtual Machines, Backup Tape recovery or Dropped Laptops. 💻

Our engineers and technicians are tasked to deliver on a wide range of business and enterprise emergency disaster recovery as well as budget services for home users & students. 🏥

Why Donor Drives Are Useful

When drives with mechanical issues or electronic issues are sent into the lab we automatically know in advance that a donor drive will be needed, if a drive has a damaged or failed head, if it’s stiction or if there is a certain issue with the PCB of the drive.

Some people may think of donor drives as “scrap” or “not worth using anymore”, but here we gain a lot of use out of them.

The main drive manufacturer that always seem to have mechanical faults is Seagate. We get a lot of Seagate drives that have failed and most of the time the faults are mechanical but luckily, we have a lot of Seagate donors in our stock to rectify this.

In this situation, if it is a Seagate drive and needs a head swap then we would browse our stock and match what we know needs to match for the donor drive to be compatible with the patient drive. The knowledge of matching donor drives has taken many years to perfect. However, with new drives and revisions of drives coming out all the time it will never be fully perfected.

R3 Donor drive store room

All our in-house donors are put through tests to make sure they are up to standard and they aren’t faulty or about to fail. This prevents any further damage happening to the patient drive.

If you think your drive is mechanically failed and would like a free over the phone assessment from one of our sales team, get in contact on 0800 999 3282 or alternatively email us at [email protected]

A Photographers Lucky Escape – Flash Memory Recovered

A 64GB Lexar Professional arrived with us one morning and was diagnosed with a failed micro controller chip.

two nand flash memory chips

This sort of problem cannot be repaired so the only option was to remove the flash memory and read the RAW data from it. The two nand flash memory chips this device used are split into two banks so four dumps of data were made.

This is only the start of it, the clever algorithms the micro controller used have to be replicated in software and several attempts made to make the data corruption free. The dumps are sliced back together and then spilt upagain before finally being in a state where the users precious photographs recovered and his reputation saved.

Flash memory is very portable and compact but very vulnerable to failure so regular backup of your solid state devices is necessary.

Logical SSD Recovery

Data Recovery from a 250GB Samsung SSD

The initial diagnosis for this drive was that the drive is damaged (according to an IT company that this customer sent the drive to before arriving to us at R3), and that it also kept freezing and blue screening.

Logical SSD recovery Samsung 250GB

18/08 at 10:36am Drive Received

The drive arrived with us Friday morning, we booked it in to our database and we informed the customer of the arrival of the drive. It was under assessment as we didnt know the exact fault of the device as of yet.

18/08 at 13:42pm Drive Diagnosed

The drive was diagnosed as logical as it became ready and had no SMART errors present on the drive. The drive was then sent to clone.

18/08 at 14:52pm Drive Cloning

At this point the drive was put for cloning, and since it was a 250GB SSD we managed to get it cloned in no time at all. It finished cloning with 0 errors and 0 unread sectors. This suggested that it was definitely a logical issue rather than media degradation. If the device was degraded it would have finished with unread sectors as when a drive degraded it means that the sectors are unreadable, hence the conclusion of the failure being logical.

18/08 at 15:19 Data Transfer

The data transfer process began. The image drive was scanned for missing files and files system as the engineers knew it was a logical issue. The customer was asked to give us some indication as to what to look for as this makes it easier for the engineers so they know if they are on the right track to recovery or not. After the scan it was clear to see that there was not much in the shape of files that you would normally see on a person’s computer. It looked just like a fresh install of Windows. This unfortunately means it leaves us with one last option which is what we refer to as a RAW scan, where we pick and choose file headers for certain file types for example .jpg, .mov etc and the software searches sector by sector and finds these files headers and will recover them to the designated location. A RAW recovery will fetch back corrupt and non-corrupt files. This is the only problem with this type of recovery.

21/08 at 13:31pm – Job Paid For, Data Sent Back

Fortunately the customer was relaxed about what was being sent back to him, and was informed that there was not a lot we could do regarding the situation of the drive so we decided to send the RAW data (and the folder structure) back to the customer.

In conclusion, if a drive has been formatted or overwritten then there’s always a chance that we can recover the data. If you have accidently formatted your hard drive, or perhaps a computer shop has told you something and you want a second opinion why not call us on 0800 999 3282 or alternatively email us at [email protected]

Unrecovered Devices? There Still May Be A Chance!

Have you been told your device is unrecoverable? Do you need a second opinion?

R3’s Data Recovery Hospital have a lot of experience of recovering from hard disks and storage devices that have been declared unrecoverable by other data recovery companies, even mechanically failed hard disk drives (HDDs) discarded by others as unrecoverable have been recovered by the lab engineers at R3.


While the complexities of how this is done is in-depth and different for each case, our continued success is as a result of several factors most notably the ethos and philosophy of R3 is different to that of some other data recovery companies.

While we are of course a business we don’t operate as clinically as other data recovery companies do. Data recovery is very much an evolving technology in its own right, it has to adapt and advance every day.

Occasionally there is an instance within the data recovery industry that a series of device failures are caused by one specific problem with one easy applied solution, one such example was the Seagate 7200.11 firmware bug that did the rounds a few years ago.

While most cases of hard disk failures can be classified within a group of particular fault types (such as mechanical, degraded media, firmware etc.) few cases are the same and as such require a solution that is unique and perform research and development on a case by case basis.

Whilst most apply a strict time scale to recoveries based on their ability to be able to spend a set amount of time to a problem some cases as a result are marked unrecoverable where at R3 we do not apply such strict time-based rules to how we go about difficult cases and as a result we can get recoveries when others cannot.

Many data recovery cases are true R and D projects, some disks that weren’t recoverable a few years or even months ago can be recovered now.

Why not give us a call to discuss your failed device even if you have been told it isn’t recoverable by someone else?

Flash Memory & Mobile Phones

Presented at the lab was a Samsung Galaxy S3 with the familiar boot loop fault.

Upon closer inspection & attempted flashing of a recovery PIT firmware, the fault was apparent – EMMC NAND failure.

Todays mobile devices rely more and more on high capacity, high speed NAND flash memory with ever increasing strain on the memory itself.

Most mobile devices use the internal memory for several intensive tasks from the moment the device receives power.

This all contributes to premature failure & erratic behaviour as the devvice struggles to read/write failing block of the NAND memory

If you think your mobile phone has this issue, or you think something else is wrong. Get in touch with us at R3, call us on 0800 999 3282 or alternatively email us at [email protected]

Problems on a Microscopic Scale

An SSD arrived at the lab with a problem serious enough to render it inoperable. After running some diagnostics using software it soon became apparent there was more than just a firmware issue..

The SSD in question, an Intel 530 series mSATA device. Intel have been a little sneaky here, the CPU is branded as ‘Intel’ but it is actually a Sandforce CPU in disguise (Triggering Safe Mode on the SSD displayed the actual CPU revision).

Straight away, the chances of recovery are low, and a NAND analysis would be useless as the Sandforce series CPU’s all use 256-AES hardware encryption – seriously secure storage. Due to this, the only viable recovery method would be to repair the SSD and attempt to extract data.

damaged SMD component | R3 Data Recovery

An inspection using our high-powered microscope showed there was a damaged SMD component located in the power circuit of the SSD. This tiny component is responsible for driving the power MOSFETs (aka Gate Driver). The gate driver controls the switching frequency of the MOSFETs to give a nice smooth voltage output to the NAND IC’s on the SSD. To confirm this, after probing the VCC filter capacitors next to the NAND IC’s, there was ZERO voltage present – the CPU & Cache WERE receiving voltage.

Due to the drive being damaged (partly removed from the PCB) the MOSFETs were in ‘standby’ waiting to be triggered. This in turn caused the SSD to revert to ‘Safe Mode’ – this can also be interpreted as a firmware issue.

After finding an identical SSD donor drive – the damaged gate driver was replaced with some nifty micro-soldering. The SSD powered up normally and was able to be imaged successfully without any errors!

The True Side Of Data Recovery

Andy at the lab

#datarecovery is not just about numbers it is about success rates and caring enough about every case regardless of who it is.

Our competitors may appear more successful processing 2000 jobs a month and declaring the more difficult 20% unrecoverable just to keep profits up without giving clients an option but it is wrong and the ICO GDPR regulations brings focus to this..

For over 15 years the UK market leaders have focused on cheap pricing, maximising profits and wrongly declaring data unrecoverable because it is more profitable to do so. I have fought against this at every step even if it meant a loss on the p&l accounts of the company.

We have developed R3 to be set apart from this £100 software recovery have a go hero approach then charge £1200 for a template report or botched recovery attempts.

R3 have developed processes and resources to maximise success rates from failed devices. We recover data others cannot, we help the victims of Fields Associates and Rapid Data and we recover data that Data Clinics say only Paul Daniels can recover.

Profit is what a business needs to function but the market demands success rates. Data can be life or death, financially, professionally or emotionally damaging if declared unrecoverable and there are reputation and regulatory risks to declaring data unrecoverable.

R3 have invested in the resources and engineering capabilities to ensure our success rates are the best the UK can offer. We are engaged on real disasters affecting industry, healthcare, manufacturing and food production as well as commerce of every type from sole traders to banks.

We have rightly turned away work when too busy but do our best to help everyone who needs REAL data recovery specialist services. We are seeing increasing international demand for our limited time every month. We often recover drives without their stickers said to be unrecoverable too!

R3 is a small company with big investment in success rates. Britain is leading the way don’t underestimate the tenacity of teamwork. Do not underestimate the resolve made 17 years ago to help Britain get the success rates needed.

Interesting facts From Our Data Recovery Lab

Like everyone, here at R3 Data Recovery we find interesting facts well.. Interesting; and when not rebuilding faulty hard drives in our cleanroom or piecing back together multi disk raid arrays a little distraction to rest our weary brains is always welcome.

Here are a few geeky facts that we would like to share with you that we found entertaining:

  1. When you next complain about how much space your computer takes up at home and untidy the wires just take a moment to imagine the world’s first commercial computer the ENIAC that weighed more than 27 tons and occupied 1800 square feet!
  2. The first computer mouse was said to have been invented back in 1964 and believe it or not it was made from wood.. (Yes we are still scratching our heads over this one)
  3. When you next think why is my antivirus always updating surely they can’t be that many computer viruses out there… well yes there are and new ones being invented all the time an amazing 5000 every month.

Interesting stuff ehh :)

USB Memory Stick With Cheap Controller

USB stick which was a company branded freebie

During our initial free assessment, our engineers identified that the NAND chip was covered in resin and cannot be accessed or removed for the recovery process.

What we call a NAND read wasnt an option with this particular job as the NAND chip which is where all the data is stored was covered in a sticky resin, which means removing the NAND chip would be near impossible. The only option we had was to replace the controller to see if this was the problem or not. However, with this USB stick the controller was an incredibly rare one, and one of our engineers said hed never even seen one like it before!

Along with the resin the other main problems with these cheap manufacturers USB sticks is the poor quality of soldering and solder that is used. Using poor solder can lead to loose connections and the device not working at all. The only way to avoid the problems these devices in particular cause is to regularly back up your data.

Customers need to be aware that cheap USB sticks from eBay or Company Freebies are cheap for a reason, manufacturing is often with cheap flash memory and has a higher chance of failure. In most circumstances R3 Data Recovery would have been able to recover the data from the failed USB stick if it wasn’t for the sticky resin that the manufacturer covers it in.

For a free quote call us on 0800 999 3282 or alternatively fill out the online dignostic form on the right and one of our assistants will give you a call and talk you through the process and give you a free assessment over the phone.