Hard drives with physical damage including most clicking, beeping, or drives that have been dropped almost always require the most advanced stage of data recovery. They must be repaired in a clean room environment to ensure that no airborne contaminants come into contact with the platters once opened. “Donor” drives must be used that much up with the damaged drive for compatible parts. Sometimes the “donor” drives are hard to find due to the age and model of the “patient” drive. This is where skill and experience are vital to the success of the recovery.
You can think of a level 3 recovery as performing surgery on your hard drive!
When removing the head assembly the tiny magnetic heads at the end of the arms cannot touch each other. They must be separated before being removed from their parked position on the platters or the ramp.
Once the repair has been completed the second phase of the recovery process begins. Special machines like the DDI or Data Compass are used to image the repaired hard drive onto a good working drive. This is required because even though the drive was repaired bad sectors and problem areas on the platters will become a problem.