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General Information
DiskSense Unit
Supported Drives
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Features

Disk Diagnostics
Disk Duplication
Selective Head Imaging
Bad Sector Recovery
File Recovery
Password Removal
Firmware Recovery
Disk Utilities
Case Management
Multi-Tasking
Network Forensics

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FAQ
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DiskSense Forensic Unit

The DiskSense Unit utilizes the fastest and most efficient interface connections available, and is built-to-last using the highest quality components one could source. It includes a built-in oscilloscope for current monitoring (primarily used in diagnostic functions) and write protection switch for source media.

Technical Specifications

DiskSense unit inside

DiskSense Forensic technical specifications:

  • Dimensions: 7.7 x 7.2 x 2.1 in (196 x 182 x 54 mm)
  • Weight: 2.9 lb (1.3 kg)
  • Wide working temperature range: 0°C–50°C (32°F–122°F)
  • Source ports: SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, IDE
  • Write protection switch for source ports
  • 6 Target ports:
    • 3 SATA
    • 3 USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed)
  • Serial RS232 port
  • Operation LEDs for all ports and a buzzer
  • Two ethernet interfaces: RJ45 / 1Gbe. One of them can be used for Network Forensics.
  • Internal OS: Linux running a custom kernel
  • Control interface: Atola Insight Forensic (Windows application)
  • Supported hard drive interfaces: SATA I/II/III, USB 1.0/2.0/3.0, IDE
  • Flash card support via card reader attached to any USB port
  • Power consumption: 60 Watt average, 200 Watt peak
  • Supply Voltage: 100 - 240 VAC, 50-60 Hz

DiskSense: under the hood

DiskSense unit: under the hood
DiskSense is basically a very small computer running a Linux OS. However, neither normal computer's BIOS nor basic Linux kernel are suitable for handling of damaged hard drives, simply because neither was designed to handle hard disk failures very well. We have invested a significant amount of research and development efforts which allowed us to build a highly customized and fine-tuned Linux kernel that completely overcomes these issues. Additionally, this kernel features:
  • Full low-level control over SATA, USB and IDE ports
  • Full native SATA support
  • Reset and SATA PHY control for best handling of severely damaged hard drives
  • High-speed DMA data transfers, up to 390 MB/s
  • All BIOS and standard kernel functions are disabled
Back side of DiskSense Unit
DiskSense also features our proprietary circuitry for ultimate hard drive's power control:
  • Current sensor for in-depth hard disk diagnosis
  • Automatic overcurrent and short-circuit protection
  • Overvoltage protection
These features are a must when dealing with damaged hard drives.

For example, low-level control of the SATA, USB and IDE ports allows Atola Insight Forensic to deal with hard drives that do not properly initialize, have many bad sectors, or freeze frequently due to internal (mechanical) failures.

SATA PHY control allows resetting a frozen hard drive without a power cycle which saves quite a bit of time while imaging, and reduces the chances of further hard disk degradation and failure.

Current sensing allows Atola Insight to diagnose a failed hard drive even if it has electronic or mechanical damage. Please see Disk Diagnostics for more details on how this works.

Overcurrent protection detects when the hard drive draws abnormal current and stops the hard drive to prevent any further damage.

Overvoltage protection circuit ensures that in the unlikely event of the DiskSense unit malfunction, the attached hard drives are not damaged in any way.

DiskSense unit is fully controlled by Atola Insight software via the Gigabit Ethernet interface, hence no Linux experience is required at all in order to operate it.