Would you believe that in searching about on [ "hard drive
remanufacturing procedure" ], [ "hard drive" remanufacture procedure ]
and [ remanufacture hard drive ], the only sites I turned up were
those dealing with sales and service of remanufactured drives?
It would seem that no one wants to put the exact how-to online because
that's considered something of a trade secret.
One of those "sales and service" pages had such a friendly tone,
though, so I thought I'd take a chance and call them for an
explanation. Wouldn't you know, the staff was as friendly as the
RC Electronics USA 1-800-882-3475
[ http://www.rcusa.com ]
Customer service handed me off to Kim in sales, who took a few minutes
to explain the hows and whys of drive re-manufacture.
She said that though many companies that specialize in hard drive
re-manufacture do have Class 100 ("clean") rooms, they are rarely used
these days because of the cost involved. Typically, a Class 100 room
is used only to rebuild special or unique drives that cannot be
replaced. (She couldn't give a specific example of such, save to say
that it's not common anymore.)
In a clean room situation, the drive cover is removed, damaged
platters are replaced, and readable sectors are recovered. Depending
on drive capacity, speed and interface, this process can take anywhere
from 1 - 5 hours. After the cover is replaced, the drive is then
brought up to certification level by means of software, and diagnostic
software is used to check the quality of the drive.
Usually, however, drives are not re-manufactured in a clean room.
These days, most drives can be re-manufactured strictly by means of
software designed to re-map the drive and restore it to "certified"
saleable level. After such re-manufacture, diagnostic software is
used to check the integrity of the drive - occasionally this is
software specific to the drive's original manufacturer, but usually
It seems that since the cost of hard drives is still rapidly dropping,
the necessity for Class 100 rooms for re-manufacture is minimal, at
best, for specialized data recovery needs. Most people opt for plain
replacement unless the data is super-sensitive because the cost is
For more information about hard drives and how to fix yours if it
fails, there's a great, if long, collection of advice here (you'll
need Acrobat Reader):
200 Ways to Revive A Hard Drive
[ http://www.midwayisd.org/PDFs/help/200ways.pdf ]
I hope this answers your question!
Clarification of Answer by
16 May 2002 22:43 PDT
Looking at your comment, it looks like you need a clarification?
Obviously, they're not going to give me step by step instructions for
changing out the platters (you know, so I don't go into competiton :)
), but I know a little bit about taking drives apart, having done so a
few years ago when I lost one most violently to Calypso and a serious
head crash. Have you ever seen a drive platter after a head crash?
Not. Pretty. It looks a lot like what used to happen to old vinyl
records if you tried to play them with a broken needle - deep grooves
that are clearly visible.
Drives are tested and readable sectors are recovered by means of
software - sometimes proprietary, sometimes not. I suppose a good
example of diagnostic software *similar* to what a recovery company
would use would be that included with Western Digital hard drives -
the Data Lifeline bundle.
[ http://support.wdc.com/download/ ]
Platters are then visually inspected. Those not mirror shiny and
perfectly smooth are replaced, and the whole thing is carefully
re-assembled. I know that doesn't sound like much of an explanation,
it probably makes more sense with a few pictures:
[ http://www.howstuffworks.com/hard-disk2.htm ]
After reassembly, more software diagnostics are used, and the disk is
re-mapped and certified as saleable.
Does this clear things up for you?