A Data Recovery Glossary

In any technical field, there are a variety of specific terms you might encounter. When you work with an Outsource representative, they’ll be sure to explain everything in terms you can understand, even if you aren’t an IT expert. Here are a few that are important to know:

Bad sectors. A common problem on both hard drives and flash memory. A sector is a section of the storage media that stores a fixed amount of data. If damage makes that area unreadable, it is said to have a “bad sector”.

Cleanroom. A cleanroom is an enclosed space with special equipment to filter out particles and other impurities in the air. This is where we will operate on hard drives if they need to be opened up, in order to avoid damage to the internal components.

Encryption. Data is said to be encrypted when it is scrambled in such a way that only someone with the proper “key” can decrypt it and rearrange the data. Oftentimes, this is the state of data stored in the cloud, or data that is password-protected.

Head. In data recovery, we often refer to the “head” of a hard drive. This is the read-write head that is responsible (as the name implies) for reading data from, and writing data onto, the platters. A common cause of damage is a “head crash”, in which case the head actually touches the platter — something that should not happen under normal circumstances.

PCB. Stands for Printed Circuit Board. This is the (usually green) circuit board that controls the electrical components of the hard drive.

Platter. This is the disk inside a hard drive that actually stores your data. It is similar to a CD-ROM or DVD. These are very sensitive and can be easily damaged. If they are to be removed from the hard drive, it should be in a cleanroom facility, such as the ISO Class 7 cleanroom in Outsource’s lab.

ROM chip. ROM stands for Read-Only Memory, meaning that the data on this chip cannot be overwritten. The reason for that is that this chip (typically found on the PCB) contains unique information that is necessary for the hard drive to run properly.

SAS. SAS is one of the common interface standards for hard drives. This refers to the type of connection plug that connects the hard drive to the computer in order to transfer data.

SATA. SATA is one of the other common interface standards for hard drives, besides SAS and USB.