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HGST/Hitachi TravelStar Data Recovery

June 24, 2014

The History of the Travelstar Hard Drive Series

The Travelstar series was originally introduced by IBM and Hitachi, and eventually re-introduced as a product of HGST (now owned by Western Digital). Developed for laptop computers, it is one of the most popular series of hard drives ever produced.

When older IBM and Hitachi Travelstar and Deskstar hard drives failed, disk head issues often contributed to data loss, and developed specialized methods for these drives. This is not to say that these early (pre-2003) Travelstar drives were any less reliable than other laptop hard disk drives of that era; low failure rates, fast access speeds, and low overall costs contributed to the Travelstar’s early success.

HGST 1TB laptop disk labelModern Travelstar drives are extremely fast and reliable, partially due to Advanced Format technology used in the Z5K and Z7K series. These drives have a physical sector size of 4,096 bytes, and new error correction capabilities reduce the risks of file corruption. Many of the newest models also feature low profiles for easy integration with modern laptop hardware. has recovered data from thousands of IBM, Hitachi, and HGST TravelStar hard drives. Our services do not void these drives’ warranties, and we provide emergency service options for highly critical situations. Read a brief synopsis of our procedures below or call 1.800.237.4200 to start a case.

Data Recovery Technology for Travelstar Hard Drives

Head failures are a common cause of data loss on hard drives. When a Travelstar has failed heads, it may present one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Sounds – The most common failure symptom is a repetitive clicking or whirring sound. Since this can indicate a total head failure, you shouldn’t operate a Travelstar if it makes any kind of unusual noise.
  • Slow Operation – Your computer may take a long time to access certain files or folders. This often occurs as one of the first symptoms of a head failure.
  • Failure to Boot – Dozens of different issues can prevent your computer from accessing its operating system, including a sudden hard drive failure. Do not repeatedly attempt to boot your computer if it consistently fails to load its operating system. can remove your hard drive’s platters or replace damaged heads by working in a Class 5 clean room. Our engineers have the experience to perform component replacements in a matter of minutes under most circumstances, and we have a higher-than-average success rate for Travelstar drives. While exact success rates vary by drive model, we recover over 95 percent of the cases we receive.

Firmware Microcode Repair for Travelstar Hard Drives

Firmware microcode repair also plays an important role in our Travelstar data recovery capabilities. Microcode exists on the hard drive’s system board, and it contains hardware specifics including the Head-to-Head Relation (HHR), spindle speed, temperature calibration, voice coil voltage, and various other pieces of essential operating information. These characteristics often vary between individual hard drives, especially on newer models.

HGST laptop disk underside with board and SATA connectionsIn order to recover data from Travelstar drives, engineers will often copy the firmware microcode from the original board, then use specialized hardware to write that microcode to an identical board. We can also write specialized software to repair individual files. This is only necessary when files are extremely corrupt, usually following an electronic failure or a read/write head issue.

We offer free evaluations, and every case has a no data, no charge guarantee. If you have any type of Travelstar drive and you need data recovery, trust the experts. Call 1.800.237.4200 today to get started.


*TravelStar is a registered trademark of International Business Machines, HGST and Western Digital.