Hi everyone...looking to learn from the masters!

A place to discuss pretty much anything related to storage, computers, data recovery or technology.
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Minho
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Hi everyone...looking to learn from the masters!

Post by Minho » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:08 pm

Hi Luke...and everyone else on this forum.

I am very interested in learning more about data recovery, particularly when it comes to Flash devices (chip-off/monolithic). HDD & SSD are also on the list but realistically, I'll leave that for the pro's for now as I suspect Flash will be more than enough on my plate :D . I currently do micro-soldering repairs (hence my interest in Flash) on Apple products, including data recovery, but when it comes to iDevices, you have to fix them in order to be able to recover any data.

I'm curious on what folks here believe would be a good "first tool". There's not much comparative info out there but from what I can gather:
  • SoftCenter Flash Extractor is a go-to solution but the cost, especially the annual support subscription, seems high and the long-term support seems to be based on what mood the developer is in.
  • RuSolut VNR looks like the most powerful tool but is probably "too much" for a beginner. The upfront cost and annual support fees seem like a good deal though, at least in comparison to SC-FE.
  • PC-3000 Flash is backed by the industry leader but I don't see it being used much, at least from my superficial review of the limited information out there.
I guess eventually, most pro labs have all three tools to cover as much ground as possible but I wonder if you could only have one to start, which would it be and why.

Thanks!

lcoughey
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Re: Hi everyone...looking to learn from the masters!

Post by lcoughey » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:12 pm

Welcome to our forums Minho.

You ask a tough question that has led to much debate in various forums. I'm sure others will disagree, but here is my take:

1. PC3K-Flash - easiest to learn, tech support is great
2. Soft Center - gets great results, complicated to use, but support and updates is very expensive and support is mostly via the forum
3. RuSolut VNR - probably the most rebust and innovative with great support, quite complex to use

It is probably best to own all three and keep them up to date, but that will be very expensive.

A big challenge with flash recoveries is time require to handle a case. There are certainly cases that can be done with these tools in a couple days, but a good portion of cases can take months to complete, making it very difficult to push a lot of projects through with a single device and even more difficult to pay off the equipment in a reasonable time frame.

I've got a $900 project imaging now, but it could take up to a year to get a clean read of the chip dumps. After that, it may still not be recoverable.

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Minho
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Re: Hi everyone...looking to learn from the masters!

Post by Minho » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:20 pm

Hi Luke, thanks for responding.

As I said before, I'm just starting and I have a lot to learn but I was wondering what your opinion was on videos like these:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMXc7kRbsnQ (with SC-FE)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG7Gg2n3Njc (using VNR)

These are USB Flash Drive chip-off data recovery efforts. I know that the real secret sauce is in knowing enough about Flash Drive topology and formatting in order to use the software properly and not the soldering (darn it!). Still, I don't get the impression that these are recovery efforts that take weeks/months. Perhaps what you are mentioning in your previous post is not at all the same scope and scale so this might not be a fair comparison. Still, this is the kind of work I feel I can start with...err...practice a lot with some dead USB's I already have ;) .

lcoughey
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Re: Hi everyone...looking to learn from the masters!

Post by lcoughey » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:37 pm

Not all cases take months...just the tough ones, which are more common than one would like. When you read the NAND chip, you need to check and fix every sector with ECC. But, most flash devices are made with cheap NAND, which means that you get bad reads a lot. So, you need to read and reread sectors until you get the number of unread sectors down. The case I'm working on right now is a 32GB thumb drive with 2 x 16GB chips, each with about 6GB of bad sectors. I've been working on one of those dumps alone for about 4 weeks and am only down to about 2.5GB of unread sectors now. There are times when it corrects a string of sectors sequentially and there are times when only 1 in 50 sectors are corrected. So, I expect that It will likely take about the same amount of time with the other chip, then there will be the 2nd, 3rd and 4th passes to clean up even more.

Again, this is not the norm, but it does happen frequently enough...probably 1 in 5, based on my experience.

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Minho
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Re: Hi everyone...looking to learn from the masters!

Post by Minho » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:48 pm

Thanks Luke! I hope others will chime in as well regarding the tools.

LoboX
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Re: Hi everyone...looking to learn from the masters!

Post by LoboX » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:27 am

Welcome to the DR world :mrgreen:

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Minho
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Re: Hi everyone...looking to learn from the masters!

Post by Minho » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:02 am

LoboX wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:27 am
Welcome to the DR world :mrgreen:
Thanks LoBoX...any opinions or comments on my questions above?

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