For more information on the clean room certification and the cancelling of FEDstd 209e class 100 read this article on the importance of ISO 14644 annual testing for the clean room and ISO14644-1 testing of the test equipment itself.
Essentially clean rooms are controlled areas designed to be free from minute airborne contaminants which could be a speck of dust or even pollen for example. Entry to a clean room is gained via an airlock and operators generally use specialist protective garments.
For professional data recovery companies a clean room is an essential asset as hard drive repair often requires the use of exceptionally clean working conditions.
External air literally has to go through a range of extremely fine filters to ensure that any airflow into the clean room is totally clear of any harmful particles and often secondary systems are also in place with directed airflows to reduce the risk of internally generated contaminants coming into contact with the actual workbench area or surface.
Cleans rooms come in a variety of classes depending on their usage and the class certification is an indication of the permitted number of particles per cubic meter that particular clean room is certified for as well as the actual number of particles that are permissible. Less and smaller is obviously best.
Clean rooms are not only used in data recovery operations though, they are widely found in all manner of industries ranging from medical labs to pharmaceutical manufacturing plants and of course electronics manufacturing plants. Rooms can be a few feet square or can encompass an entire manufacturing plant area depending on the operation in question.
Why Are Clean Rooms Essential For Hard Drive Repair?
The internal components of a hard drive and in particular the disk platters (many drive have more than one) are exceptionally susceptible to further damage from airborne particulates once opened. Even the most microscopic particles can further damage the extremely sensitive platter surfaces as can damage from ESD, so a clean room environment is essential for a success repair in many instances.
Hard drive technology continues apace with drives being able to hold Terabytes of data but as this data becomes more densely packed on the platters, the chances of further damage are increased so it is essential that these hard drive repairs are carried out in the cleanest of environments.
Another consideration for using a clean room though, is the warranty on your drive that will be made invalid if not repaired by an authorised agent or in a clean room environment, although in reality the value of the accumulated data on most drives is by far massively more valuable than the drive itself, so all the more reason to ensure that it is only worked on in the cleanest of environments to prevent further damage.
So in summary clean rooms are essential for maximising the chances of a successful data recovery from a failed drive, are necessary for warranty considerations and perhaps most important of all to protect the integrity of any data on the drive because in many cases if the data is not backed up once lost it is gone forever, the loss of which can be devastating for both individuals and businesses alike.
If you need to hand over your hard drive to a data recovery services company check the validation of their clean room. At the very least it should be class 100 IS0 5 certified although the top companies will have invested in even better standards, for example ISO class 3.