Hard Drive Technologies

Reviews, Guides, Tips and Recovery of Hard Disk Drive Data

How to Prepare your Failed Hard Drive for Shipping

September 18, 2011 Jon 0 Comments

If you’ve ever experienced a data loss event due to hard drive failure, your best bet for retrieving your data is to find a reputable data recovery specialist and have them recover the data for you.

Hard drive repair and data recovery is not a project that the average computer user can do on their own. Hard drive repair requires special tools and training which most people don’t have and in addition, any mechanical repairs or service to your drive requires a dust free clean room environment.

The reason for this is that the read/write heads on your drive are located a mere 50 nanometers away from the platter, half the thickness of a human hair. Trying to repair the drive in a non-dust free environment can result in dust getting into the small space between the heads and the platter and preventing the heads from doing their job.

Once you’ve chosen a data recovery specialist to retrieve the data on your hard drive, you’ll need to ship the drive to them. This is fairly straight forward, but there are some things you should be aware of when you prepare your drive for transport.


It’s very important that you package your drive very carefully to prevent further damage to your drive during the shipping process. Here are some things to keep in mind:

In most cases, it’s preferable to simply send the drive itself, rather than the whole computer. If you’re not comfortable removing the hard drive yourself, the data recovery company you’re using can talk you through the process.


If it’s possible, it’s always best to use the manufacturer’s original packaging when shipping your hard drive. If this isn’t possible, use a box that’s at least twice the size of your drive. The reason for this is to allow enough room for sufficient packaging material to protect the drive.



It’s very important to protect the drive from static, as static electricity can cause significant damage to your drive. If you don’t have an anti-static bag, a zip-lock freezer bag will work as well.


Make sure the packing material fills up the box around the drive so that the drive won’t shift or move around during transport. Don’t use Styrofoam peanuts as these can convey static which can cause damage to your drive.


Make sure that you include your name, address, phone number, email address and a brief summary of the data loss problems you’re encountering inside the box, attached to the bag that contains your hard drive. Your contact information should go on the outside of the box as well, but you want to have your details attached to the drive in case the box gets discarded or separated from your hard drive once it arrives.

If the drive and information is of significant value, (which it probably is if you’re going to pay to have the data recovered!), you may want to consider shipping insurance for your package to protect you financially if the drive is damaged during transit. You may also want to choose a trackable shipping option so that you know where the package is at all times.


This is a good idea in case the drive does not arrive when you expect it to be delivered. The data recovery company can let you know if the drive has not been received and you can follow up with the shipping company to locate your hard drive.


Some types of drives may also require a controller card to be sent along with the drive. You should check with the data recovery firm you’re using before you ship to make sure that you’ve included everything they need. Different companies may have slightly different requirements.

If you’re shipping the drive out of the country you’ll need to include a Commercial Invoice for Customs purposes. For this you’ll have to include a description of your drive detailing the make, model and country of manufacture along with your contact information.

The key things to remember are to protect your failed hard drive as well as possible, and include as much information with the package as possible to avoid any mix ups or delays.

As a final note, you may want to consider using an overnight or rush courier service to transport your hard drive can minimize the travel time and uncertainty while you’re waiting for your drive to arrive at its destination. The shorter the travel time, the less chance there is for something to go wrong, and the faster your data can be retrieved.

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