Data Recovery 10TB Western Digital ( WD ) | HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB | Helium filled |
I came up with the idea of writing a guide for the 10TB WD / HGST helium filled drive. At the time, I asked for help from ACE and various Data Recovery forums but no feedback was giving and only a reference to one YouTube video was available. ACE labs support is great but they could not help me on this one.
This hard drive is from a Western Digital My Book 10TB that was dropped from about 1m height. Turning it on and measuring the voltages shows a very high drain and combined with a beeping / buzzing sounds let me believe the hard drive reading heads might have got stuck on the magnetic disks. Time to find out. I did a 2-way attack. The first one was in my garage removing the laser welded metal lid from the 10TB Helium filled drive after that the drive was sealed and further work was done in out lab with a laminar flow cabinet.
Here is my Data Recovery guide and findings step by step. If you click on any picture you will get a higher resolution one. Good luck for any of you in the same Data Recovery situation. This is not a nice Hard Drive to work on.
10TB drive removed from plastic enclosure and ready to be gutted. Drive feels quite heavy and looks more like an HGST Enterprise drive. Serials let me believe this is actually an HGST drive, also no DCM WD number on the drive.
The laser welds on the outside seems quite big and also there is a sticker on the bottom. I think the drive was welded first, helium gas added later and sealed with the sticker.
The sticker is the only point where gas can go through. Take outmost care that no dust or debris goes that way. In the video they used a cnn cutting machine and all the metal chips got onto the disk surface.
My tool of choice is a Stanley knife with a brand new quality straight blade fitted. CNN cuttings is out of question and way to messy.
I make my incision 2mm behind the actual laser weld and it cuts easier than I thought
I sliced the full right side with a sharp blade and it is almost like butter the metal.
One side is sliced and I make sure that the metal lid behind it is pushed down to prevent dust from going behind onto the disks of the hard drive.
Easier than I thought it could be and I got finally a nice edge I can start to work off removing the rest of the metal top lid from this 10TB hard drive.
2nd choice for my Data Recovery weapon to remove the lid is just a pair of pliers and I start to peel off the metal like you would open a can.
Peeling the metal off like a pro away from the round sticker opening with a plier, Data recovery at its finest here.
I covered the hole or let’s call it the protrusion hole that is being used to fill the hard drive and sealed after it was filled with helium.
The red tape seals the protrusion hole and prevents any dust or debris coming into the main hard drive and ending up on the plates. I worked away from it and sealed it right away.
Almost done removing the top metal layer from this 10TB WD helium filled hard drive. I can’t wait to see the inside and how bad it actually is. This is as far as I can go in my garage before I can finally open this WD / HGST hard drive and perform data recovery.
I transported the drive in a sealed bag and the 10TB Helium drive made it in my laminar flow work cabinet for further investigation. From here I would think the normal data recovery proves should be done like any other hard drive.
Time to get ready to remove screws. Standard torx screws here and not some odd screws you can find on the rosewood ones. I removed as much dust and debris as possible but it was very clean to start off with.
Some mug shots of the laser welded WD 10TB lid and how clean I got that off. HDD Guru video is great but it is way too messy.
There is a rubber seal under the 2nd metal lid that prevents any dust coming in and all we have here are only torx screws and some stickers covering the reading heads screws.
That’s the only hole or protrusion I could find and it was covered right away in my garage to prevent contamination
Those screws are torx but they have different length and diameters. Keep track of them as they differ from the outside screws.
2 more mug shots and almost ready for the money shot of the 10TB hard drive
Nothing to see here at all, just red tape waiting to be removed.
Stickers peeled and removed from the 10TB helium drive head assembly
Centre screw from spindle / engine motor. Haven’s seen this design for a while on a hard drive.
Almost all screws removed from the 2nd lid and ready to remove it to get access to the reading heads
All screws removed from this 10TB WD drive and total is 11 screws with 4 different sizes but all the same torx head.
First shot of the magnetic hard drive plates on a 10TB WD My book drive. No damage to the magnetic plates either. Looking good so far.
I am surprised to find the reading heads parked on the ramp and no damage to them at all. This drive has 8 plates and 16 reading heads.
Magnetic plates are clean no dust or debris on it from removing the laser welded lid.
16 Heads look fine and 16 sliders in place too. This drive was dropped from about 1m.