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Thursday, 28. July 2016

Faulty Devices - Examples

By cliven, 14:28
Several examples of faulty devices this week:

External hard drive (WD passport) stopped working, discounts spins and ticking noise heard but nothing reading drive?

Buffalo 'Just Store' Desktop External USB 2.0 Hard Drive 1.0Tb has clicking sound and will not read.

I am a criminal defence solicitor. A shop has CCTV footage which contains helpful material in relation to a case I am dealing with. The shop wipe the CCTV after 10 days and it is now wiped. Can you retrieve it? My client is legally aided – do you do this type of work?

Attended a graduation ceremony for my wife's daughter on 21 july and took a lot of photos with my wifes phone (honor 6 plus) for some unknoen reason the phone just died towards the end of the day and just wouldnt charge. We took it it to a local retailer who would have a look at it and chargrd us £10. As we are presently on holiday at the moment there isnt a lot that we can do until we come back but just in case the retailer caanot fix this hence the message to you. The phonr is synced up with google back up but as it died before the end of the day, it didbt sync up and back up the photos. Any suggestions? Please contact back via email as presebtly on holiday so have got no access to the land line

I wanted to transfer a huge amount of files from an external Freecom drive yesterday (500Go drive, about 300Go data, i tried to transfer 170Go yesterday). During the transfer, it seems there has been either an unvolontary disconnection, either overheating. Afterwards, the disk can be seen on any computer on which it is being connected (so it is detected), but it cannot be read (no information on the portion of the disk which is used / no access to the disk when clicking on it). There was no physical shock / damage caused to the disk. Do you think there would be chances to get back all information? If so, how much would it be ?

I have a 1TB my passport ultra (WD) for about 1.5 years now and have not had any problems with it till yesterday, when it randomly decided to slow my PC down on startup.
Have tried multiple times on 2 different pc and different cables, sometimes it woke for a few seconds, it pops up, if I go into device management it says it needs initialising but it comes with an I/O error,
Although the HDD is almost full I only need a small amount of data off it, being photos and videos.
Was wondering what sort of costs would this mean?

I currently have a Microsoft lumia 950 that's been water damaged beyond repair. It doesn't switch on and I cant access its memory. I would like to be emailed a quote to see how much it would cost to recover my pictures and videos off of it.

1 TB WD hard drive with roughly 550GB of photos and videos on it.
Suddenly unusably slow and making a beep noise. I believe the read write heads are degrading.

compressing and transferring my go pro footage from my go pro, through my mac onto an external heard drive, my mac died. it registered that i had incorrectly ejected my SD card and the footage was deleted (i have the option selected to wipe SD card after import so i can record straight away again)
I've not used the SD card one after this happened, which was about a week ago!

Monday, 11. July 2016

Datlabs Phone Data Recovery Service

By cliven, 11:40
I recently dealt with my mother's broken mobile phone. It had slipped out of her pocket and dropped into the toilet. Fortunately the people at Datlabs data recovery were able to retrieve the data from it - here's the link to their section on phone data recovery. Here's what my mother emailed me:

"I dropped my phone in water late on Friday 8th July. Unfortunately at the time I didn't know I should turn it off so I tried to use it several times but it stopped working. I tried to dry it the best I could and left it in rice for 24 hours. Having tried to turn it on now it is still completely unresponsive and doesn't respond to a charger either. I am looking for help to recover data from my phone."

Although my mother didn't mention what phone she has it's a Samsung duo s phone on which she had accidentally deleted some important text messages too.

Similarly to my mother's predicament above, I was also contacted by an acquaintance who has a similar problem: "I recently dropped my iPhone 6 down the toilet and it no longer works. I put it in rice immediately and left it for 3 days but with no luck. I sent it off to a company for water damaged iPhones but they said it had burnt out and although they replaced the inside burnt out part they could not get it to power on. I really am not bothered about the phone i just want my photos and videos as i have 2 very young children (youngest 2 months) and I forgot to back my phone up on my new laptop so i have lost absolutely everything! I understand it may not work but i would be so grateful if you could try, many thanks for your time."

In the tradition of fairness, I recommended my friend try a different provide of phone recovery services and recommended the phone data recovery service people at who are experts in recovering data from both iPhone and Android systems.

Thursday, 16. June 2016

WD Hard Drive Recovery

By cliven, 14:27
Dropped WD Portable Hard Drive
Here's a data recovery question. I have dropped a WD portable hard drive. It clicks etc and computer can't read it. I'm looking at data recovery. You say your prices are 'competitive', but can you give me a rough idea of recovery for a mechanical failure? To answer the question I can tell you that the average cost for data recovery is anything between about £350 and £600. Experience has taught me not to go below this figure as that part of the market is inhabited by people who really know very little about data recovery and are looking to make a quick profit. These people in the low end of the market do not care if they recover your files or not and are just looking to make money from you. So a proper data recovery company will charge you a minimum of £350 but you will get your data back.

Dropped WD Passport Ultra
i have a WD Passport Ultra (2TB) which had been dropped and now i cannot access any data on it. It Clicks/Beeps when plugged in and eventually the computer will recognise it but says there are no files to be displayed when i know its is over 3/4 full of photos and videos and music etc. It shows in device manager and says it is working fine, I've used the services of the Western Digital data recovery specialists from and wonder if I shall have to use their services again or is there anything I can do myself to attempt to retrieve the data ?

I recently needed to get a quote for recovery of the data from the hard disk drive of my laptop. It no longer booted up and there is a noise from the speakers. (Almost a clicking sound but not quite). At first the laptop would only reboot on 2nd or 3rd attempt but now not at all. I live in Rochdale and popped down to the data recovery office in Bury (at The hard drive was a 1TB Seagate HDD.

Tuesday, 07. June 2016

Data Recovery Quotes

By cliven, 15:29
I have quoted a lot of data recovery work this weekend. I looked at my email and discovered the following 4 enquiries had come in for attention:

1. Hi. Used you guys back in April for another customer and the service was excellent so we will look to start using you more. This problem is a 320GB WD3200AAJS that's not being detected. I can hear some struggling but nothing loud like I've heard in the past – I managed to copy 3GB off it when we first hooked it up to a caddy but it stopped during file copy and doesn't detect now. It's from an iMac (2008). Can you please give me a quote for a non urgent return?

2. I have a problem with a Samsung M3 1TB USB3 drive. A faint rapid beeping sound is all I hear when it powers up, it's detected by windows still but has no available volumes. Just a rough quote if you could.

3. I have a problem because by accident I've deleted pictures from my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone and I would like to ask if it's possible to get them back?

4. Windows OS and HD suddenly failed. iNetcom couldn't revive the hard drive or get anything from it so installed new HD. It's a HSTG 1TB laptop drive.

With all types of data recovery the first task is to assess the state of the hard drive or phone. Much of the UK population now use their smartphones to search for services and as handheld computers. So the information saved on them is often valuable. If this is not backed up and the device suffers a fall or breaks in another way then data loss will be the result unless a data recovery company are able to restore the drive and rescue the data.

Of course, another way to ensure against data loss is to keep abreast of the latest hard drives. Newer hard drives are more resilient and fail less often than older ones, so always try to use new equipment. An example is this 8TB HDD from Seagate,2-17.html that is high performance and has low power requirements

Tuesday, 17. May 2016

Harddisk Problems and Solutions

By cliven, 14:57
I've been attempted to document some of the more common types of harddisk and RAID problems I encounter. Some of this weeks enquiries include:

Lenovo X240 Busted Hard Drive

Lenovo X240 dropped and the HDD has not come up since. Tried using the HDD as an external storage device, it does not spin.
I have someone flying to London in the week, I will like to know what the estimated time to restore is please

> Try this link for help and advice:

Netgear ReadyNAS RAID 5
This is a straight recovery of a deleted folder containing about 150 Gb of video files from a Netgear ReadyNAS storage unit.
The NAS is set up as RAID 5, consists of 4 x 3 Tb drives, all functioning.
The NAS hasn't been used since the deletion. The folder was within the MEDIA volume, one of 4 volumes on the NAS.

> Take a look at this link

Spoke to somebody yesterday at your office but can you please send me a quote for an external hard drive which has had the wrong power supply plugged into it.

My WD Passport external hard drive appears to have an issue.
Last Thursday when it was connected to my laptop, the laptop had a system error, where I had to immediately shut it down.
Now half of the files on my external hard drive are zero byte files. Would you be able to left me know whether it is possible to recover these at all?

I bought a Seagate 1 TB external hard drive 4 weeks a go. It has stopped working. I took it to the IT technicians at the school i work at and they say it is a mechanical fault in the hard drive itself. It has some work on it i would like to recover.

hi ,its a wd10tmvw 1tb 2,5 hard drive.
has the clicks of dead when pluged in pc.not detected at all.99% Mechanical fault of some kind .can you give me rough price for recovering ?

Thursday, 14. April 2016

IT Crisis Leeds

By cliven, 13:50
I recently attended an IT Crisis Day in Leeds, put together in conjunction with the Leeds Chamber of Commerce ( The purpose of the event was to provide a crisis response in IT matters, so we were expecting to see computer failures of all shapes and sizes. We opened the doors at 9am and waited to see who'd come along.

People were asked to fill out a support ticket so we could track their cases throughout their visit. Below are some of the questions we were asked.

1. Portable hard drive powers up, but does not work! Don't think it has been dropped?

2. I think the issue is my external hard drive was dropped. It doesn't register and show up when I plug it in to my computer, but the little light still turns on inside it.
Can you give me a rough idea of cost if you are able to get the data off it

3. I want to extract deleted messages and pictures from mobile which I want to send for recycling

4. I Have a WD elements 1TB multimedi drive and today I was wwhatching and suddenly puff. I went back to tring to connect but gives error and say unable to detect the internal hard disk. How much would cost me to fix it?

I have a Seagate HDD momentus thin 500Gb type:ST500LT012.
The HDD is unreadeble for windows.
If you have some donor disks ,then i am verry happy.
The data is importent for my son.
I hope you can help us.

These first enquiries were all hard drive related which was something we found astonishing. We were expecting to see computers with bad OS installs or corrupt filesystem, but instead, we were dealing with problems on people's hard drives.  Fortunately one of the crisis team members was Mark Moore from Data Clinic Leeds, based on Gelderd Road who had come along to deal with any computer hard drive and data recovery problems. I got the feeling he was expecting a quite morning but we was soon rushed off his feet dealing with disk after disk. Mark was very impressive and succeeding in mending a couple of computer disks at the event, something the disk's owners were very pleased about. Another problem was more involved and he persuaded the disk's owner to let him hold onto the drive so he could take it back to the office where he had the equipment to deal with it.

After 3 hours we'd dealt with enquiries from 7 people. Eventually we did get others who had problems that were not related to their hard drives and were able to advise the best solutions to the problems they had. Then I realised, I actually had a hard drive problem myself:

I have an HDD from my PC which has failed and is now making a clicking noise. It spins for a moment, clicks then stops, this process is repeated.The HDD in question is as follows:
Model No: WD16000ADFS-75SLR2 (160GB)
PCB No: 2060-701453-000 REV A
I'll be dropping this off at Data Clinic's Leeds branch in the morning to see if Mark and the team can restore my data.

Friday, 11. March 2016

Raid Data Recovery Manchester

By cliven, 12:21
Manchester raid data recovery specialists Datlabsdatarecovery have  developed a novel idea for raising their profile: a raid recovery roadshow. Throughout 2016-2017 they'll be taking their mobile hard drive recovery lab on the road a visiting various technology centres and business parks around the Manchester area to bring their raid recovery services to the people and raise the awareness of what Datlabsdatarecovery can do.

It's the brainchild of Director Russ Burrows who commented: "There's so much that we provide that people are unaware of. We provide the best raid services in and around Manchester without doubt, so when people loose data from their servers or have problems with their raid arrays, we want them contacting us because using Datlabsdatarecovery gives them the best chance of getting their data back in one piece".

This is a sentiment endorsed by none other than the collaborations team at Manchester University who, in association with Mr Burrow's company are collaborating to develop the next generation of raid data recovery techniques and software. Retrieving the files from raid hard drives is one of the most demanding processes in data recovery and one of the roadshow's aims is to heighten awareness across Manchester of how the company approaches it.

The roadshow dates are as follows:
April - May 2016: Manchester Science Park
June - August 2016: Paragon Business Park, Bolton
Septemeber - November 2016: Stockport Grammar School
January - March 2017: Halifax Innovation Centre

Attending these events is free of charge and everyone is welcome. Events will run daily from 10am until 2pm and light refreshments are also provided. There are several demonstrations daily specifically about how raid systems are used and the common ways they go wrong. Specific presentations include: "Recovering the data from a broken raid 5" and "Using raid on network attached storage (NAS)".

Datlabsdatarecovery are located in Bury, Greater Manchester. To contact them call their main office number 0871 977 2999 or visit their website.

Sunday, 07. February 2016

Flashing a Computer BIOS

By cliven, 11:46
'Flashing' is actually a method of enhancing a computer's basic functioning. BIOS, or Basic Input Output System, is a very old element in PC architecture. The BIOS is software on a special chip on the motherboard that dictates the boot process, initialises essential hardware (such as the hard drives and I/O ports), and determines the abilities and capacities of the computer (such as the maximum storage size hard drive you can use).

In the past, you were stuck with whatever BIOS your motherboard came with. If newer versions of the BIOS supported larger hard drives and faster CPU's or fixed particular bugs, you needed to upgrade to either a new motherboard or a new computer. Now it's possible to just upgrade the BIOS and keep the motherboard, however it's not the same process as updating a program stored to your hard drive.

Flashing a BIOS requires special software tools, and if you make a mistake and damage or destroy the BIOS, you will turn your PC into nothing more than a really big paperweight until you replace the BIOS chip.

The process resets the CMOS to the factory configuration. Before initiating this task, record the CMOS settings. You will need this information after the BIOS is flashed so you can restore the setting to where they were prior to this exercise.

As previously mentioned, if this process goes wrong, your computer probably wont even boot. The only remedy is to secure a chip with the appropriate BIOS on board and install it on the motherboard. For this task you will need to verify ahead of time that your computer's BIOS will look at the A: drive for the boot device before the C: drive. There are dozens of specific methods of flashing BIOS chips depending on the type of motherboard and BIOS you have.

Flashing a computer does not actually write any data to the hard drive. Most people think that it does, but instead the data is written only to the BIOS chip. Writing the wrong data to the BIOS can mean the hard drive will no longer be recognised on the system unless the BIOS is updated with the correct coding or the hard drive is taken out of the computer and installed to another one. Many of us find we become very anxious when our hard drives stop working, and we think we will never see our data again. At times like these - following good sensible advice is a good idea, look at sites like and others for guidance.

Thursday, 14. January 2016

When Is It Time To Call A Data Recovery Company?

By cliven, 13:05
A question I'm often asked in my job as computer and smartphone problem troubleshooter is "will you be able to get my data back?". I attend many different homes and businesses that have technical trouble with their computer and phone equipment and no matter what the problem, be it a faulty screen, unresponsive hard drive, or broken mobile phone it's nearly always the data held on the device that is of most importance to recover.

Sometimes I'm able to fix the problems myself and restore the data to the phone or computer, other times the problem is too complex for me to handle - I don't have the necessary tools or knowledge about what to do when faced with a particular problem. At times like these I recommend to my clients that they use the services of a data recovery company. These are companies that specialise in retrieving the data from fault storage equipment - notable hard drives and smartphones. Some of the instances where I'd recommend the use of a data recovery company are:
My iPhone is water damaged after a trip to Thailand, basically its broke and the screen will not work at all but it does still have power as i can connect it to my laptop but i cannot access the photos which is what i want, i don't want to lose my recent photos and videos.Can you help?

Hi, my parents have an external hard disk with a lot of photos on which has been dropped and no longer works. It is a Western Digital WD10EADS drive. It used to click three times before spinning down. Now it does spin up and initialises but the computer is unable to mount or read it.
Being a qualified electronics engineer and having watched a lot of reputable youtube videos I have disassembled the drive. It has no obvious platter damage, the heads were not stuck and there is no other obvious sign of damage. Suspect a head replacement is necessary. How much would you charge?

With these problems there is a clear indication that there is a serious issue with both devices. A water damaged smartphone can be recovered by the likes of Data Clinic - the British data recovery company, see this page for their phone recovery details.

The person with the ticking Western Digital hard drive has what's termed a 'physical problem' with their hard drive, insomuch as there is a broken component that can not be fixed and therefore needs to be replaced internal to the hard drive before the data can be read and transferred off. This is a problem that requires a clean room as any contaminants can destroy the hard drive when it is being worked on. Data Clinic can fix hard drives too - here is their main data recovery page.

If you have a hard drive / mobile / smartphone that you'd like the data recovered from get in touch with me first before contacting a data recovery company as I might be able to point you in the right direction and you may be able to recover the information yourself. If I can't help you then I'll tell you and point you in the direction of companies like Data Clinic.

Tuesday, 08. December 2015

Live Computer Forensic Investigation

By cliven, 13:54
This term describes the collection of evidence of possible evidence in real time, while the computer and servers are running. Similar to handheld forensics, sites like recommend the use of live forensics could provide the opportunity to collect evidence that would otherwise be lost and may give the chance to identify groups of individuals who are communicating and may be working together. The potential to capture this additional information has led to a shift toward live forensics in both government and the private sector. The types of information that can be gathered during live forensics includes running processes, recent email messages, and recently visited web sites and chat rooms.

Live forensics deals with the extraction and examination of the volatile forensic data that would be lost if the device were to be powered off. It is not a "pure" forensic discipline, in the formal definition, since the use of live forensics will have a minor impact on the underlying operating state of the device. This is one of those exception to the basic digital forensics principals where changes must be made in order to recover the information - the key is that the impact of the actions taken are known and that those actions are fully documented - see this link and this one for more articles on data forensics.

Live forensics should be considered for any number of reasons. These range from the capture and recovery of information fro systems considered to be business critical and which cannot be shut down to gaining access to encrypted file systems while they are still accessible. Those systems defined as business critical will be affected by the type of organisation being worked for.

Other reasons for conducting live forensics include the recovery of information from systems where a shut down of the system may create a legal liability for the investigator or an unacceptable commercial cost. These may arise as a result of impeded operations, untended data loss, or damaged equipment, or when the evidence must be gathered in the least intrusive manner.

Data on a system has different levels of volatility. All data in a main memory is volatile since it is data on a live system. Normally, data from the memory, the swap space, network processes, and running systems processes is the most volatile and will be lost if the system is rebooted. Whenever you collect data, it is sensible to collect the most volatile data first and then proceed on to that which is the least volatile. The order of volatility is:
Swap File
Network Processes
System Processes
File System Information

These areas will be discussed in more depth in future posts.

Friday, 16. October 2015

CCTV Cameras - Thoughts

By cliven, 12:46
I've recently noticed several CCTV cameras appear in my town centre. They are the type of CCTV that sit on top of lampposts and are accompanied by signs warning thieves to 'beware' as their actions are being recorded. I don't actually know if their actions are being recorded, I wouldn't know who to ask if they were but, from a philosophical view, what are my feelings about having myself recorded by CCTV every time I go down the high street ?

My knowledge on privacy and the recording of data are severely inadequate - I don't know if people have to vote on CCTV camera's being installed or these devices can just be put up without any form of consultation at all. Do you know? If you do please let me know.

Thursday, 03. September 2015

Phone Recovery - My New Hobby :)

By cliven, 17:50
I've been looking at retrieving the data from mobile and smart phones lately. Call it a new hobby if you like. I've been tinkering with hard drives for several years but the proliferation of smart phones and the amount of people that drop them and then lose their data is huge. Therefore I've been taking enquiries from people with phone faults who want their data back:

"I have accidentally deleted my photo gallery containing photos and videos of my daughter. They were stored on the internal memory of a Samsung S5. I have tried a few online recovery softwares, however they have not worked. I only deleted the files today. Please can you advise if you can recover these and what the cost would be."

and this one,

"Dear Clive, my Samsung S2 phone is no longer working. Does not start, will not power on. I would like to retrieve images, contacts and memos stored on the phone. How much would this cost?"

and finally this one,

"Accidentally deleted a whole album of pictures and videos from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (internal memory not the Micro SD card). Not backed up. Approximately 1800 files."

Samsung S5 phones use the Android operating system which is more forgiving of accidentally deleted photos than iPhones and the iOS operating system. Whether your photos can be recovered or not depends how long ago they were deleted and what how much the phone has been used subsequently. Data Clinic, the phone recovery specialists have a decent service for recovering mobiles - go to this page for their Samsung service and this page for their Android recovery services.

Next, an iPhone enquiry:

Hi, my iphone has decided to crash, and restore itself to factory settings losing all my data. I have no backups or iTunes account. is there much chance of restoring the personal data lost i.e. photos, thanks

The chances of recovering data after a factory reset operation is negligible. Saying that, we do occasionally see iPhones where, for reasons I don't yet know, the data can still be restored from the iPhone. So, there is a chance that your data can be retrieved. These people are able to use 3 different approaches retrieving data from iPhones - To understand what happens during a factory reset take a look at this Wikipedia link

Tuesday, 05. May 2015

Datlabs Hard Drive Recovery Services

By cliven, 17:48
Working in hard drive recovery as I do, I was delighted to see the new Datlabs data recovery site launch. Abandoning the old style html web site in favour of a new Wordpress driven one has made a huge positive difference to Datlab's web presence.

It's always good to have quality available in the marketplace and it's great to see the Datlabs team coming back strongly. One of the reasons Datlabs got involved in data recovery in the first place was because of all the failed and botched data recovery and hard drive repair attempts that were being done by so called 'reputable' data recovery companies.  One of Datlabs main strengths is that their technical team is made up of several staff from Seagate's data recovery operation (see The former Seagate team of pre 2010 was probably the world's best data recovery team. Dispanding in 2011 this team went their separate ways with 2 of them (Torsten Pettersson and Amin Amaar) both going to work for Datlabs.

With their extensive backgrounds in hard drive methodologies and operations these two will bring high quality skills to Datlabs hard drive lab processes.

Wednesday, 17. December 2014

Hard Disk Issues

By cliven, 14:59
Although today's PCs and Macs make it easy to take care of a lot of tasks, hard drive repair is definitely not one of them. A hard drive failure may lead to the loss of very critical data, and is frankly beyond the scope of many users; at least users without help, anyway. Here are some methods that you should consider when you are experiencing a hard disk crash.

First of all go online a look at sites like, these are information portals that have lots of tips and advice about what you can do when your computer hard disk crashes.

A word of warning if you use RAID: RAID Recovery techniques followed by recovery experts are unique, complicated and advanced. So, if a RAID 0+1 or RAID 1+0 system fails, it is advised not to be RAID recovery expert by your own. To prevent further damage and to successfully recover the data, you should better consult a reputed company that provides professional RAID services.

Backing up your computer for some people can actually save their job. Take me for an example: I am an architect and I work for my brother on a computer repair business. My architect boss has been asking me all week for a blueprint and I finally finished it. Right before I was about to email it, guess what. My laptop got hit with the hardware failure aka blue screen of death. Luckily, I have a habit of manually backing up my files when I finish with them. So I was already a third of the way done.

Sometimes this data recovery software can do more harm than good. Even providers may claim that the software they are offering will solve your problem and get back your data; you still need to be cautious.

No preferential treatment - online computer repair services don't give priority to resolving a bigger problem that brings in more money first.Its first in first out here. 

Tuesday, 09. September 2014

Tips When Buying a New Hard Disk

By cliven, 10:57
When considering a new hard disk what are the things that one should think about before buying? Well there are lots, and I've listed some of them below.

Brand Name
To some people brand is very important. A quality brand name doesn't guarantee a quality product but it is a good bet that buying the product of a well known and trusted brand will mean that their hard disk drive will also be of good quality. Quality brands include Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba and Samsung.

What type of hard drive do you want? There are many different types of hard disk drive available. These days a very popular type of hard disk is the portable variety. Western Digital make a portable brand called 'My Passport' and Seagate produce their puzzling named 'Expansion' series, but there are many others to choose from.

Consider what you want to use your new hard drive for. Photographs, movies and music are going to eat up the available space on your hard drive - especially if they are saved in high quality mode. Often the rule of thumb is to go for the highest capacity drive you can afford so you won't run out of space.

Speed / Performance
The performance or speed of the hard drive is also an important consideration. Hard drives have an internal memory buffer called a cache where data that is about to be used is read into before transfer to the computer. Caches are fast and the larger the hard drive cache the higher the performance of the hard drive should be. Also check the spin speed or RPM of the hard drive. The quicker the drive rotates the quicker better the performance of the hard drive should be.

Most hard drives are manufactured in the same way and most are very reliable. Sometimes an unreliable hard drive is produced that goes into mass production but this is rare. It's also not in the manufacturer's interests to produce a poor quality drive as it will damage their brand.

Unless you buy a set of hard drives that you combine together into a RAID you will not be able to expand the capacity of your hard drive, you'll have to buy a larger one.

There are some differences in the cost of hard drives of the same capacity, the cheaper ones often have slower spin speeds and smaller caches. These drives perform poorly when tested against counterparts with larger caches and higher spin speeds. My advice would be to spend the extra and buy a high performance drive as it should speed up your whole system.

Is your new hard drive going to run Windows or Mac? Perhaps it will run both. These two file systems are not compatible but there is plenty of software that runs on the fly that will allow you to use both.

Some hard drives, especially older ones, are very noisy. Noise can be a distraction, especially if you use your machine in a quiet environment. New drives are very quiet.

HDD hard drives rotate and a mechanical - they have moving parts. SSD hard drives are like huge memory chips and have no moving parts. Each are about as reliable as the other, but SSD's cost a lot more.