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Micro-Surgeon

2. The external "backup" drive that fails (Consumer)

Many people, both consumers and business users, use large capacity external drives as an efficient method of holding large amounts of data that they've amassed.

Much of the time, people use this capacity to store family photos, videos, music down loads, and of course documents. All of this data, except for the music, is irreplaceable. Most people, unfortunately, don't think to make back ups of all their digital photos and home movies. Micro-Surgeon gets many a tearful call from parents who have lost their children's entire photographic history because "something happened to the drive."

One typical case involved a 250GB external drive. There were no odd noises coming from the disk; it just didn't work. When we examined it we were able to diagnose a corruption in a critical firmware module. Firmware is unique, important information written to the hard disk during the manufacturing process that is critical in the deployment of the drive, but inaccessible to the user. This corruption prevented the drive from working.

However, we were able to restore all the data to the drive by using special tools and processes that can re-write the corrupt module to its proper structure. No further corrective action was required on the part of the user. They were able to "hit the ground running" with their newly resurrected drive, and get back to viewing their cherished family photos.

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