We just received a Western Digital hard drive that was taken to a local technician because of read errors.   After the technician assessed the situation, he reported back to the client that he opened the top and bottom of the drive and that the heads and surface look good.  He then proceeded to recover some files from the drive before it crashes on his bench.  He then tells the client that it now needs a professional data recovery lab.

exposed bottom

After getting our name from someone she trusts, she sends the drive into Recovery Force.  Upon receipt of the drive we immediately discover the seal has been broken and the top cover was removed by a non-data recovery professional.  After further internal investigation, we found smudges and dust on the platter, damaged heads with missing sliders and, on the bottom side, a fatal head crash…likely because they removed the bottom seal and never replaced it.

It is heartbreaking for me to have to give the client the bad news.