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I have fixed a ton of drives, in general. Board replacements, swapping platters, head swaps, etc. Some takeaways: I started doing this under tupperware, and that worked. I built a "cleanroom" out of a new sandblasting cabinet, and that worked better. Later i built a laminar flow bench out of a cheap kobalt tool-box and some plexiglass, and that was better still.

Swapping the control boards works on some makes (wd), make certain it is exactly the same model and revision. exactly. "close enough" never worked for me, not even once.

By far just a slight "spin" by hand along the axis of travel of the disk, a quick gentile flicking motion, works to unfreeze the spindles of most stuck drives.

Some drives responded to a gentle heating of the spindle bearing with the hot air.

Use dd_rescue.

"Spinrite" is complete horse-shit, don't listen to anyone saying otherwise.

Most drives people brought in were just corruptions, photorec and it's associated programs (testdisk) are also invaluable..

Do you (or anyone else) have ideas for what to do with

- a MyBook that isn't recognized anymore?

I've figured out there's probably some encryption in the casing because when I disassemble it and connect it directly it shows up as unformatted or something.

- an ssd which seems even more dead.

Personally I've gotten back erased data (photorec) and data from at least 2 other disks (tilting the disk or freezing the disk), but these two have me stumped which is sad since they broke shortly after each other and one were supposed to be the backup ;-)

The drive itself is likely good - it's probably a software/config error with the casing. A drive recovery company will probably be able to recover it cheaply, or third party recovery software on the bare drive.

Ok, thanks!

Would you happen to know why they'd transform the data instead of just writing through?

Oh: and I also added detail about another drive to my question. I didn't think anyone would answer that fast :-)

Normally they shift all your data a few hundred megabytes later in the drive so they can use the area at the start to store their "drivers" (ie. The software they encourage you to install on your PC to offer backups, encryption, cloud storage, antivirus, and other crapware of dubious value). Sometimes the casing firmware emulates a CD-ROM device and offers this data because the OS will autorun software from a CD. Then when the software is installed, it switches to hard disk mode to present your actual data.

The external drives which offer 'encryption' nearly all do it through software on the host PC and sometimes the drives built in encryption (did you know all modern hard drives can encrypt data before writing it to the platters? - nobody uses it because you can't tell if the drive really is encrypting your data or just pretending to).

> Normally they shift all your data a few hundred megabytes later in the drive so they can use the area at the start to store their "drivers"

So, if I'm really lucky I can use testdisk to find the partitions and just mount it read only from there without involving a recovery company?

Yep. As soon as you find the sector number of the start of your data, you can use "losetup --offset xxxxx" to use it like a regular disk again. I think there are even SCSI commands you could send to permanently shift the start of the disk. Or you could just dd all your data back to where it ought to be.

I read a bit more and it seems some models has encryption mode (by default using an empty string for a password it seems.) There exist at least two projects to get data from those MyBooks so I'll try those if the simple version doesn't work.

Have you tried recovering the partition data with testdisk? It may just have lost the formatting. SSD's are generally accepted as impossible to recover, in my experience..

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