“Hitting,” “slapping,” and “intentionally dropping” a hard drive, as crazy as it sounds, has been known to work before. However, this was back in the good-old-days when hard drives were prone to “stiction.” “Stiction” occurs when the heads of the hard drive “stick” to the platter and cause the drive to not spin. Slapping the drive then, offered a chance of freeing the stuck heads and freeing the platters so they can spin up. Even if the hard drive starts spinning again, the chances for recovering all the data is small, since now there is very likely platter damage (since you just “dragged” the heads across the platters).
In these rare instances, we use much safer techniques inside our ISO Class 5 portable cleanroom to free up the “stuck” heads using tools specifically designed for the job. These tools gently lift the heads off the platters, unsticking them safely. The heads can then be safely moved back to their ramp or “park” position.
Hitting, slapping, or dropping a hard drive will often lead to scratched platters. Once platters are scratched, it’s likely no one will ever be able to recover the data (no matter how much you’re willing to pay), at least the data which falls under the scratched surface.
These dangerous “shock” techniques should never be used on a hard drive containing data that is valuable to you. It’s a guarantee that they will lessen your chances for recovery with us and likely some data will be permanently lost.