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Head Replacement (Swap) Tools! Simplicity without miracles.

Head Replacement (Swap) Tools

T he named sounds, as always, optimistic, but actually is not. The topic is quite alarming, in connection with constantly growing number of all kinds of hard drives and the cases of their stubborn behavior after hitting the head (in case of stucking of magnetic heads on the surface of disks or simply failure of the heads). What lead specialized offices and small repairman to problem how to replace defective block of magnetic heads with donor one so that heads do not suffer after all these manipulations. There were many ways to do this, but there was no single standard. This issue was very sharply discussed in the circle of data recovery specialists. As soon as he reached the boiling point, offices began to appear (same data recovery laboratories that had the means and ideas on how to implement this) for production of all kinds of replacement (swap) tools for heads, plates, motors, etc.

From the first who began to produce head replacement (swap) tools for smaller offices:
Head Replacement (Swap) Tools! Simplicity without miracles.
An Indian company «HDRC» working in the field of data recovery since 2001, an office in New Delhi, the owner of Gaurav Sinha. It does not produce hardware and software systems, but the range of replacement (swap) tools for heads and magnetic plates of the hard drive is large, there are centers for training future specialists on their equipment.
Head Replacement (Swap) Tools! Simplicity without miracles.
The company «Salvationdata» has been working in the field of data recovery since 2001, located in China, CEO Hiaoning Liang. In addition to various types of hard drive heads and Hard disk drive platters, the company is developing software and hardware systems for recovering data from failure hard disks and flash drives, as well as conducting training on its equipment.
Head Replacement (Swap) Tools! Simplicity without miracles.
Serbian company «HddSurgery» for the production of Head Replacement (Swap) Tools and related data recovery tools. Appeared recently - 2009, is located in Belgrade, the main director Nikola Radovanovic. They also conduct training courses for specialists.
Head Replacement (Swap) Tools! Simplicity without miracles.
And finally, the Russian company «ER-Tools», or rather Alexander Erofeev, thanks to the work of which, the head replacement (swap) tools became more accessible to the Russian data recovery community. It appeared in 2013.
A ll other Head Replacement (Swap) Tools are fakes and for obvious reasons nothing will be written about them. It is possible that new players will appear, with cheaper options and no less high-quality products, but I think patents will reduce their ardor.

And now it will go on to detailed comparison of products:


The simplest one is used for safe removal of heads from the ramp (a place for parking heads on drives with a design for storing heads outside the surface of plates during downtime or shutdown). The replacement (swap) tools fixes diluted heads on the ramp, which allows you to remove them from it without sticking or damaging each other.
It works on the principle of parking zone - it goes slightly above the surface of the plates, heads have to be brought to replacement (swap) tool by hand. There is a chance of damage to heads, so they can stick to the surface while you bring them to replacement (swap) tool.
Convenient design that allows you to remove the heads from the surface, without fear that they will be damaged, since replacement (swap) tool fixes the heads at a certain height on the surface of the plates. The replacement (swap) tool is mounted on the main axis of mounting block of magnetic heads, then carefully brought to the parking area of heads. Next, replacement (swap) tool is fixed by the heads, and after that you can safely remove them from the surface without fear that they might be damaged or stick.
Due to the lack of rigid fixation on the axis of block of magnetic heads, replacement (swap) tool has to be additionally adjusted to capture the heads (it is also a plus when working with deformed drives). After fixing, heads are gently removed from the surface without damage or sticking.

Salvation data

  • For output from ramp and ramp
  • Ramp


  • For ramp output
  • Ramp
  • Hard suspension


  • For ramp output
  • Hard suspension


  • For ramp output
  • No hard suspension

Material and quality

Salvation dataHDRCHDDSurgeryER-Tools
White plastic, flexible, needs refinement, can be assembled.Plastic of different colors, flexible, manufacturing accuracy is lame, practically not adapted for refinement due to the material used.Duralumin, qualitatively turned, although the first samples had to be processed. Due to the hardness of the material, heads or surfaces can be damaged if the replacement (swap) tool is not installed evenly. High-quality plastic, hard, precisely made, break when installed incorrectly.

Supported drives and relevance

The favorite for these indicators is “HDDSurgery”, in second place is “ER-Tools”, then “HDRC” and in last place is “Salvation data”.
Families / Manufacturers:SalvationdataHdrcHddSurgeryER-Tools
7200.7 / 7200.9 / 7200.10 / 7200.11 / 7200.12 / 7200.14 / SV35 / SV35.5 / ES.2 / CS / Pipeline HD 1P%-+%
7200.7 / 7200.8 / 7200.9 / 7200.10 / 7200.11 / 7200.12 / 7200.14 / SV35.5 / LP / ES / ES.2 / CS / Pipeline HD 2P%+++
7200.8 / 7200.9 / 7200.10 / 7200.11 / SV35 / 7200.14 / ES / ES.2 / Green / CS 3P%+++
7200.9 / 7200.10 / 7200.11 / ES / ES.2 / LP / XT 4P%+++
ES / ES.2 / XT 5P--+-
Families / Manufacturers:SalvationdataHdrcHddSurgeryER-Tools
5400.2 / 5400.3 / 5400.4 / 5400.5 / 5400.6 / 7200.4 / 7200.5 / Thin and so on with 1P++++
5400.2 / 5400.3 / 5400.4 / 5400.5 / 5400.6 / 7200.4 / 7200.5 and so on with 2P++++
FreePlay and so on with 3P-+++
FreePlay and so on with 4P--++
Families / Manufacturers:SalvationdataHdrcHddSurgeryER-Tools
BB/BD/JB/JD/LB/EB/PB and so on with 1P++++
BB/JB/JD/JS/KS/ and so on with 2P%+++
BB/JB/JD/JS/KS/YS and so on with 3P%+++
KD/KS/YS/CS/DS/RS/RX and so on with 4P--++
Families / Manufacturers:SalvationdataHdrcHddSurgeryER-Tools
BEVT/BEKT/BEVS/BMVV an so on with 1P+++-
BEVT/BEKT/BEVS/BMVV an so on with 2P%++-
TMVV, TPVT, TMVW and so on with 3P--+-
NMVW and so on with 4P--+-
Families / Manufacturers:SalvationdataHdrcHddSurgeryER-Tools
SLA/ALA/DLE/BLA and so on with 3P%++-
KLA and so on with 4P%++-
KLA/KLAT/ALA/ALE/ALS and so on with 5P%++-
Families / Manufacturers:SalvationdataHdrcHddSurgeryER-Tools
4k40/E5K160/5K120/7K200/Z5K500/Z7K500 and so on with 1P%++-
7K500/Z5K500/Z7K500/7K750 and so on with 2P-++-
5K1000/5K1500 and so on with 3P--+-
Families / Manufacturers:SalvationdataHdrcHddSurgeryER-Tools
F1/F2/F3 with 1P%+++
F1/F2/F3/T133/T166 with 2P%+++
F1/F2/F3/T133/T166 with 3P-+++


Based on the foregoing, it is necessary to add several important points for understanding the pricing of the data recovery market:
  • Head Replacement (Swap) Tools are not universal (you cannot use one Replacement (Swap) Tools for different models or manufacturers due to design differences).
  • Plastic replacement (swap) tools are quite fragile and have to be changed from time to time. Metal can be damaged, which will lead to incorrect fixation of heads, etc.
  • Work on replacing heads and transferring the package of magnetic plates should be done in a fairly clean room (not every laboratory uses a laminar box, a separate repairman will rather choose filter aquarium or a cardboard box with a vacuum cleaner - rather than a clean cabinet).
  • After replacing a block of magnetic heads or transferring hard disk drive platter pack to a new case, you will need a hardware-software complex for reading information from a failure drive, since donor heads are not calibrated for this drive and errors may occur when accessing the surface.
  • Not all data recovery laboratories have access to donor spare parts at the best prices; you can say nothing about new drives. Sometimes the cost of a donor exceeds 2 or even 3 times the cost of a data recovery service and 10 times the cost of the drive itself when it was still being sold (there are speculators everywhere).
  • Not every laboratory can afford to use donors irrationally (each donor drive is spent money and time, therefore, when assessing the risks when recovering a fallen drive, specialist will lay down the cost of the donor in unsuccessful case).
I think that for initial understanding, these examples will be enough. The appearance of above-mentioned companies is a good sign both for the consumer (since the cost of data recovery will decrease) and for service provider (for which, a high-quality and inexpensive tool is saving of donors and time).
Also, this point is important when choosing partners for cooperation in the field of data recovery. We are always open for cooperation with new partners and agents. You can find out more detailed terms of cooperation by writing to us by mail:
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