Digital Evidence Investigation – Data Recovery and E-Discovery

As more of our lives are stored digitally, so more of this digital information is often seen as evidence. Maybe a phone contains images from a crime scene, or perhaps a hard drive contains an important email that warrants a forensic investigation of the data. One term for this is forensic data recovery.

Most data recovery companies are able to examine data forensically. Digital evidence examination basically looks at the data on a digital storage device in an attempt to discover if there is any pertinent information detailing illegal activity.

Enquiries for e-discovery (or ‘data discovery’) as it is widely known vary. Here are a few examples from clients wanting a forensic examination of their hard drives and mobile phones.

Linux ext4 formatted 2TB WD HDD that is fairly new. Will not initialise or mount. Has 1TB of films I need back as the online backup has, incredibly, failed at the same time. I have a spare drive to move the data to. I’m interested in having this data examined forensically – I think the phrase is e-discovery or examination of digital evidence.

My Seagate External Hard drive has stopped working, and the light will not light up. However it does ask for me to initialize the disk, and makes a clicking, beeping noise.

Over christmas I took a lot of video footage on my phone to make into a short movie – i put my SD card into my laptop and transferred the videos onto my desktop or iCloud, i also made folders for them on my SD card, now when i came to open the folder it has turned into an exec file which now it won’t open my videos and i fear i may have lost them! i tried to download a free software to try recover the data but it only recovered the audio and even then it was broken, i believe that the footage is still there i just need a way to bring it back, now my Mac is not recognising my SD and i don’t want to keep trying unless i cause further damage. It is only now that I realise that some of the footage may contain digital evidence of wrong doing and it may be necessary to reproduce this in a legal case. What facilities exist to examine the hard drive, SD card and phone forensically? Can you examine each of them and produce a forensic report as the what activity has taken place on each?

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Hard drives are uninitialised and unallocated

In this article we discuss hard drives that have developed faults and become uninitialised or unallocated. This is quite a common problem and I’ve included some links as well to external web sites where people are having the same type of problems. These enquries come from people in West Yorkshire.

I have an external hard drive that is now coming up as uninitialized and unallocated on my PC, I have ran the WD diagnostic check and it say too many bad sectors. I have ran drill disk but it finds no files, should I assume all is lost or can you give me a price to check possibilities. I live in Sheffield, towards Barnsley

I have got a Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive.
I was transferring pictures over from my MacBook Pro to the drive when my computer froze. I restarted my computer and then the hard drive was no longer picking up. I tried in another laptop this time Windows and still not picking up. The hard drive is now showing up as unallocated.
When the hard drive is plugged in it makes the running noise as normal but also bleeps which I haven’t heard before, it won’t initialise either.
The hard drive has not been used many times.

Since Tuesday I have been unable to access a folder on one of my uninitialised external hard drives which has very precious photographs of my children. I fear it may have a virus as I accessed a card website called funky pigeon as it was working perfectly before and the hard drive is only 3 years old and I have no back up. Could you advise please

My external hard drive (I think it is a SSD) has lost connection to the computer. I have had a friend strip it down and done everything he can do to recover the unallocated data, but was unable to read it (this is what he does as part of his job). He now states that the only way to recover the data is by using software and a data recovery company. Does this sound like something you can fix?

Data recovery on uninitialised and unallocated hard drives costs between £300 and £600 from decent clinics in West Yorkshire in places like Sheffield and Rotherham.

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Mortgage Advisor Manchester Broker

In this article we discuss how to save money when applying for a mortgage. Here are some links that cover mortgage brokering and advice in and around the Greater Manchester area.

Greater Manchester

One thing about Manchester is that it’s a big place with lots of available houses to rent or buy. So the above links cover buy to let, remortgaging, home movers and first time buyers as well. When seeking a mortgage always look at the interest rate you are being quoted, just a small difference in the percentages can amount to a lot of money over a typically 25 year mortgage duration.

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Critical Process Has Died – Hard Drive Recovery

My hard drive was replaced last week but on the old one there are documents I would like to retain. I could enter my password as usual but nothing happened after that and a system recover was not possible. I did get a message saying a ‘critical process had died‘.

I have about 1 TB of files on an external hard drive that can not get power. It worked 3 weeks ago when i last did an update. I should mention this was in Nottingham and the power sources is fit for USA electrical outlets. I moved to the UK, tried attaching a UK adapter and no luck having it run. Sometimes you may hear a motor running and then you realize the electronic device is not fit for a different voltage and it stops. there was none of this. just quiet from the beginning. i have no way of checking what the problem could be now that im in the UK. my hard drive does not show a voltage range or process either. is the plug adapter just not appropriate or did i break it.

Nottingham

Seagate external hard drive beeps when plugged in and no data is transferred. When googles it appears the motor may be stuck. The hard drive has died and contains data for my teacher training year so it would be very useful to be able to recover the data or fix the drive.

I have a WD External Desktop Hardrive but the USB connection port is broken. The IT department at my school tried to fix the broken port but could not. The data on the hard drive is still there and it’s critical that I recover the contents. They tried placing the hard drive in another casing but as the data has some kind of protection / encryption they cannot get to it. Are you able to recover this data?

My Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has completely stopped working and I need to retrieve very important critical data from its internal storage. I have replaced the battery with a new one but nothing works.

2 x HDD Disks are from a Stora NAS drive both failed, set up as raid. Disks still spin up but cannot read them or access them. Have tried using aftermarket disk mount without success. Would like to know if you have hardware to enable reading of these disks and an approximate cost to recover data. Both discs are 1TB with about 500-750MB used. I saw an error telling me an important process has died – I need hard drive recovery – it’s critical that I get the data recovered.

I had some water damage over my MacBook Air (2013). Apple has put the storage into a safety bag, but did not comment on its condition. Wonder if your team can have a look to see if there are any issues / what it will cost to recover?

I have a Hitachi 5K250 160Gb (model number HTS542516K9SA00), with clicking noises, that is not readable.
Another company told me it’s impossible to recover data, as it is a mechanical issue. HDD was not open on this process.

I have a Buffalo Terastation showing multiple HD failures. I has a little data on it I think that I would like to keep.

I have a Lacie 2TB thunderbolt external drive that crashed. I have tried several recovery software programs but none are able to access any data from the drive. My Mac isn’t able to mount the drive- but after 15-20 min I get a message saying “the drive is unreadable- IGNORE FORMAT EJECT” I would like to know if it might be possible to recover 2 folders from this drive from one partition on the drive- I don’t need all of the data and what this would cost? I am located in Shoreditch

I was in Nottingham and one place I visited the lift doors opened to a yawning gap and in fright I dropped my bag – it fell down the shaft with my and my girlfriend’s phone plus a few other things. My phone and hard drive died so I took the brunt of it and long story short the mother board is damaged and ‘beyond repair’. Apple store says. Any suggestions if it’s possible to retrieve data / photos off of it? I really want the critical process data ie. the What’s App messages and photos from last few months – last backup to iCloud was in February (as it was full) so since then it’s just been on iTunes, on the phone. A friend of mine suggested contacting you. If you think it’s a no can do then please let me know. I can’t set up my new phone until I know as I’ll have to reset my iCloud and will lose all my other data. This is my Mum’s phone number as I don’t have one at the moment – email is best at the moment.

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Samsung and Lacie Hard Drives

Here a some of the hard drives that have come into our Birmingham offices for data and file recovery in the last couple of months. The cost of data recovery is usually between £350 and £650 and depends largely on the type of fault the hard drive has.

Samsung Data Recovery
quayside tower, birmingham, home of data recoveryI have a Samsung laptop hard disc model HM321HI that appears to no spin up and a high pitched clicking sound is only coming from it. Are you able to recovery data from this type of device and what are your charges? I am in Staffordshire but can come to Birmingham if needed

Although it’s been a year since the Samsung hard drive was taking ages to be recognized by my laptop, it was working. However I had to turn the cable to a specific position other wise it would disconnect. 2 months ago I dropped it while it was standing on the desk and since then it will not be recognized, also found a repetitive mechanical sound instead of a running fan sound. I took it to repair shop and they said they cannot make it work.

Lacie Data Recovery
LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Disk 2TB smell of burning, then wisp of smoke coming out the back… switched it off. Do you have an office in Hereford and Worcester or do I drive to Birmingham?

I have a LaCie “big” 4tb drive (although I believe the internal drives are Seagate). It seems to have a mechanical failure as there is a clicking noise on start-up and then the drive is not accessible.

PC wouldn’t boot up – when I inspected it, the hard drive was making some mechanical clicking sounds on boot. I used the PC’s built-in recovery tools to perform a test on the hard drive, and it was showing read errors from a number of blocks – I didn’t continue the test to see how many blocks were unreadable in case it caused more damage. I’ve taken photos of the self-test screen, if they are useful: https://photos.app.goo.gl/qQaqe67ra1NTIWAk2. It’s a Lacie hard drive.

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Data recovery companies in Scotland

A recent hard drive problem caused me to loose access to my data. This put me in quite a panic as I was unsure what to do and didn’t know whether I’d ever get the data back? I didn’t even know if there were any Scottish data recovery companies – fortunately there are, please refer to my previous post about one in Glasgow. I’m just outside of Edinburgh so decided to take a drive across to Glasgow and get my data back. Whilst I was there they told me about some other data they’d got back for Scottish people and businesses.

Bonnie Scotland

No drive on Macbook
This enquiry was from Ayr, Ayrshire: When i insert my external hard drive on my macbook air laptop, it is appearing in the devices section on opening finder. However, the hard drive is not appearing when i click on Go and then click on computer. Additionally, even when i open the hard drive, the files are appearing on the screen but i am unable to open any file. I recently used my hard drive and it was working fine. Kindly advice with the procedure to resolve this problem and also the cost for the same.

Seagate HDD not reading
And this one from Perth: I have a Seagate backup plus external drive that stopped working. I took it out of the black casing in the hope I could add it to my computer to get the data from it but nothing works… I have also tried putting it in an external drive reader … not having any of it.
It is void of its casing but I still have the bits that enable it to be hooked up as an external… what are your thoughts on costing this job please? I have business items on the disk that I would hate to lose.

And finally this one came from Aberdeen: My computer would not boot up and the person I called out said the hard drive was at fault and beyond his ability to repair and therefore data was in his opinion unrecoverable He did suggest a data repair specialist like your self in Aberdeen.
He tried to fire up the hard drive with a USB Cable (in a USB caddy) and also inside another computer. Both times the hard drive starts to vibrate but quickly stops spinning.
The hard drive in question is a Toshiba MK3265GSX HDD2H83.

So including mine, there are 4 enquiries about data recovery in Scotland, one each from Edinburgh, Perth, Aberdeen and Ayr. And yes, I got my files back, but my hard drive was beyond repair and I had to buy a new one.

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Installed Linux over Mac Files

linux logoI stupidly installed linux over the top of my mac. this wiped everything, then when I re-installed mac osx nothing was there. I did send it off to Rapid Data recovery and they were not able to recover anything from the HD. Would you be able to do anything. I did speak to a friend who works in data and they said that there still could be a way.
This is what happened.
– Linux installed which wiped HD and old Mac OSX tables.
– re-installed new mac OSX – nothing there.
– Disk image taken of HD.
So I have a disk image of the HD at that state. As I said Rapid Data already looks at it and said they could not help, I have also run recovery software with no luck.

I have a macbook air 2013 where the ssd is nonresponsive from boot. the macbook doesnt recognise the hard drive but a recovery of documents is required. also will require an eta of recovery (if possible) as i am facing an important deadline. also have an old magnetic hd (LA Lacie Porsche) in which will require recovery of files (not urgent). It’s running a version of Linux and I’m in Salford.

I found an old Seagate drive (model ST1181677LCV). As it has an ultra-wide, 80 pin SCSI connection I am unable to connect to it – and so don’t know its format – though suspect Mac.
My guess is that it may have info from the mid 1990s on it. I am not aware of there being any ‘valuable’ data on it, but would double check if it was not going to cost too much.
Are you able to read this drive? – it’s running and old version of Linux and has some Mac data on it too. It’s these files that I want to recover. I’m in Huddersfield and work in Salford.

I bought a toshiba external hard drive a while ago and stupidly converted the format from Linux PC to Mac compatible and afterwards it wouldn’t work and slowly went down hill from there. Im really scared that all the data has been erased and think theres a slim chance of getting it back. Could you give me an idea of if this is possible to repair/at least get the data from it and how much this would cost? Has 18 years worth of pictures on it!

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Dropped hard drives in Stockport

I have a hard drive that was dropped on the floor a few days ago. I can still access files but transfer speeds are extremely slow (in the kb/s range). Ppt files regularly crash when opening. When saving, files also tend to crash. When I place my hand on the drive as it is spinning, it feels like there is a faint ticking, indicating a mechanical problem in reading files. It is essential that I recover as much data as possible (about 70gb in a 1tb Hard drive) as I am a new teacher and foolishly have not made a back up.

A friend has a Seagate 1TB hard drive that I dropped and has now stopped working. I really need the data on the hard drive as I use it to archive performances of my band. I’m wondering how much would it cost to be repaired? And where exactly are the Data Clinic hard drive recovery stores around Stockport?.

a map of stockport

Hard drive now removed (replaced with new) from 14 year old Toshiba laptop.
Hard drive physically will not rotate and seems totally broken. I need one file from it only, a draft of my memoirs (about 75,000 words). I live close to to Bredbury and Hazel Grove area of Stockport and can call in if you wish to recover my data.

The Destop HDD isn’t able to launch Windows (10) and using the Windows recovery tool shows the main partition as empty, being a WD Blue 2.5″ 640Gb capacity. I’ve connected the HDD to an external USB3 unit but I can’t access the data.

I urgently need Data Clinic’s help in recovering the files from a Western Digital My Passport Ultra external drive. Recently it started to taking a long time to show on a 2017 Macbook Pro after a fall onto the floor. We have an older Windows machine, running Windows 7 and the drive would show up, but transferring anything in the last few hours has seen frequent I/O errors appearing. Now it is struggling to even show the folders on the drive.

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Data recovery for Lightroom user

Here’s an interesting data recovery enquiry I had from a professional photographer based in Wigan. I passed this enquiry onto the people at http://data-recovery-tips.co.uk/ who were able to get the data back.

Wigan

I have a 1 TB Transcend Storejet external HD no more than 4 months old. I was using it yesterday to run my lightroom catalogue whilst editing photos on my Macbook Pro and a strange error message came up (loads of commas and random letters) and Lightroom crashed and my Hardrive kind of froze (it wouldn’t eject but the symbol was still on my desktop). Ive tried plugging the hard rive into two different mac book pros, my iMac and changed cables aden the problem doesn’t change — it isn’t recognised, there is no sign of it at all. It has life as the blue power light is on on the hard rive but it is a continue light rather than flickering slightly like usual. Would like to try and recover the stuff on there and if possible get it working again.

Another one of my devices also needs sorting out: My HP Pavilion 15-b135ea Sleekbook had coffee spilled onto it, I then dried it out. The laptop then worked briefly, but now when I power it on it displays:
Boot Device Not Found
Please install an operating system on your hard disk.
Hard disk (3F0)
I pressed F2 for system diagnostics and ran a memory test, which was passed. I then ran a quick hard drive check which said:
SMART Check : Not installed
Short DST : Not installed
Then I ran an extensive hard drive check:
SMART Check : Not installed
Long DST : Not installed

This is the machine that I run Lightroom from, so not only do I need my data recovering from the Transcend hard drive I also need the laptop sorting out – do you think you can recover the data and get the laptop working again? I am in Wigan, Lancashire and can call in to see you if required.

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iPhone help required

I dropped my phone and it died. First I thought it was the battery, but when I checked to a repairer, they said that the phone is “dead,” and that there’s nothing they can do about it. I just need to back it up and restore the data to a new phone. The guy explained that it has something to do with the “board” which i assume is the motherboard or the logic board. Also, he tried to connect the phone to itunes and it says that the phone is in recovery mode.

iPhone helpI had an old iPhone that stopped working around December last year as my contract ran out anyway I upgraded to a new one, I recently tried to use this phone again to get photos off of it and updated it to the iOS it needed but after I had done that I found a lot of my photos were missing and couldn’t be found on iCloud anymore, I’ve asked around a bit and been told that it’s likely I’ll never get them back as the update would have overwritten the data, these pictures are really important to me as a lot of them are of family and was wondering if you think there’s a solution to this and maybe I could drop the phone off at some point if you think the pictures are salvageable.

I took my iPhone 6S to Apple in London as it doesn’t power on and they recommended me contacting a data recovery company to retrieve the data stored in the phone. They said the problem was most likely the battery needed replacing. Could you help me recover my data?

I have a water damaged iPhone se that was not responsive so I sent it to another data recovery company. I have just been told they are unable to retrieve the data. All I am after is my photos. I am desperate

I have an iPhone 6s plus stuck in recovery mode from a failed attempt to downgrade from the ios11 beta to iOS 10.3.3. I am looking at options to recover some photos taken in the last 2-3 months before I restore.

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