We receive this question again and again: what hard drives (model numbers) are supported by Atola Insight?

I completely realize the importance of this question, but unfortunately, there is no simple answer. When we were designing Atola Insight, we’ve faced a dilemma: whether we add support for new hard drives on a per-model basis or use a different approach. We have chosen a different approach, and I will try to explain what it is.

Per-model basis means that we start working on new hard drive models as soon as we have them in our lab, which means that there is always 3-12 months delay before the software can work with these hard drives. In other words, we would be always 3-12 months “behind” the hard drive market. Maintaining the software this way is good for marketing reasons, it also simplifies research and development to a degree.

In Atola Insight, we use a better approach. When implementing firmware recovery and password removal algorithms, we try to make them as universal and intellectual as reasonably possible, thus making them able to recover and unlock all hard drives, including those that did not come out yet.

How is that possible?

Hard drive manufacturers do not change their vendor-specific command sets and firmware structures too often. On average, major changes are made once per 3-5 years, and minor changes occur once per 1-2 years. It just does not make sense for HDD manufacturers to make major changes frequently (it is an expensive and in some sense dangerous process). This allows us to create algorithms that “adapt” themselves to new hard drives as they come out, without the need for us to make any changes to Atola Insight. So, instead of “adding” new model numbers every now and then, we will be spending that precious time on improving a lot of other important things.

What does all this mean to the happy Atola Insight users? It means that Atola Insight supports all hard drives made within the last 5 years with exception of certain models. Basically, we will be publishing “unsupported yet” models rather than “supported models” (and that “unsupported yet” list will be very short). Also, in most cases, “Unsupported” hard drives can still be diagnosed and imaged with Atola Insight, so it won’t be “totally useless” until we release an update. We believe that our customers will gain maximum benefits from this approach.

SCSI/SAS/Fiber Channel hard drives

At this moment we do not have any firm plan regarding these hard drives. When we finish up all IDE, SATA and SSD hard drives, then we will think about these.

Dmitry Postrigan
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