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Data Recovery from Helium Hard Drives

Before discussing about data recovery from helium hard drives there are a few essential issues which involve dismantling the myth according to which drives are vacuum inside.

No, no way, this is not true! Most of the drives even have an orifice in the cover, blocked with a particle filter and on their label it is written: “Breathing Hole. Do not cover”. This aspect is more than sugestive. The idea is that while it is operating, the read/write heads do not touch the platters surface but they “float” at a distance of aprox. 2-4 microns from them. This “floating” process is allowed by an air pillow which is produced because of the disks rotating speed. The breathing hole is necessary for the equalisation of the internal pressure from the disk with the one from the outside. This makes possible the correct functioning of these data carriers.

The need for increased storage capacity and higher speeds led to the development of new technologies for the manufacture of hard disk drives. The main idea was the reduction of the distance between the read/write heads and the recording surface, which allowed higher densities, as well as reducing friction during operation. These developments became possible by replacing air with helium, a gas less dense. But this has major implications on the data recovery in case of mechanical faults occur, because when the drives are open, they must be handled in the spaces filled with helium and the use a simple white room is of no help because the lack the necessary gas can cause destruction of the register and the impossibility of recovering the data.

Until this moment, QUARTZ Data Recovery never confrunted with the necessity of recovering data from such a disk. One thing is for sure: in case this will happen, it will be a challenge for our specialists.