Data Recovery Experts

by Rod Dunne on July 28, 2010

in Articles, Data Recovery

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The need for data recovery experts has increased over the past decade as more individuals and companies find themselves trying to recover lost data from computers/laptops/PDA’s/etc. Here we’ll look at what they are able to recover, how to find good data recovery services, and things for you to do prior to sending off your hardware.

What They Can Fix

There is a growing list of what files can be salvaged from any piece of hardware. The list includes accidental deletion of files/emails, USB data recovery, physical damage to a computer and data recovery after format has occurred. For business IT systems, data recovery is possible for most tape formats used in offsite tape storage.

Forensic services are also included in these type of services where electronic paper trails are under investigation (establishing emails/document authors for non-repudiation purposes) and requires additional analysis after completing the files recovery.

Of these events, physical damage to hardware causes the most data loss (as it involves electronic as well as physical damage), but in most cases some information should be obtainable. Physical damage requires what is called mechanical recovery to effectively recover hard drive data by reading the data from whatever hardware is remaining.

Finding A Data Recovery Company

This can be done via the web or going to the golden pages. Choose a firm that explicitly specifies that are experienced in recovery from the media type (hard drive/RAID/tape/flash memory recovery, forensic services)  you have – some firms just stick to hard disk/USB memory services.

Going with a local firm is not completely necessary. Your data is valuable, so go with the best service you can afford and safely ship the hardware to them. Some firms also pay for the shipping costs. Just be sure to pack your broken hard drive carefully to stop it moving around in transit, as this could cause more damage.

Costs can vary but the norm is to charge in stages for (a) diagnosis (b) electronic recovery and (c) mechanical recovery. As of Spring 2010, some quotes I received went from 150 US dollars for diagnosis up to 450 US dollars for mechanical recovery. Some computer doctor services combine data recovery with computer repair jobs to actually mend your computer along with retrieving files.

Shop around as prices vary and note that most data recovery experts now offer “no data, no fee” guarantees if they are unable to get your files out.

Data Recovery That You Can Try For Yourself

If there is no physical damage to the hardware then it should be possible to recover files using regular data recovery software. Low cost data recovery applications are widely available online and they all work the same way by scanning your drive (internal/external disks, flash memory, etc.) for valid data clusters. It is even possible to recover formatted data as it may not be completely wiped off a computer’s memory; it is usually only the files directory location that is de-indexed but the data clusters (the information on the drive that constitutes your file) are left intact.

Any software that can read FAT-32 based file systems can scan and identify documents on many hard drives, storage devices and even flash card data recovery (as flash devices utilize the same FAT-32 format).

If you feel the damage is due to physical electronic problems (e.g. the drive is making a rattling noise) then power down the computer and get in touch with a data recovery expert.

Preparing The Hardware For Shipping To Data Recovery Experts

Recovering deleted data will have a better chance of success if you do not continue to use the hardware (as ongoing use will over-write data clusters on the disk). Water damaged hardware should not be shook or heated up to extract water – this will cause more damage.

Package the hardware well before sending off. The ideal packaging is to place the item in an anti-static bag, then surround it with foam padding. Bubble wrap and paper is not suitable for padding. Package it securely to avoid any additional knocks, but not so tight as to compress components.

Related Posts: Tips on getting started in computer repair employment.

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