Windows Data Recovery – Do It Yourself Versus Using The Experts

by Rod Dunne on July 22, 2010

in Data Recovery

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Windows data recovery can be done using two approaches (a) run the Windows data recovery software for yourself to attempt the files recovery or (b) leave it to data recovery experts to attempt the data retrieval.

Here, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of each along with the associated data recovery cost.

Windows Data Recovery Software

There are now numerous Windows data recovery freeware and commercial products to choose from. All of these are capable of recovering deleted files and documents from corrupted/formatted drives (the success rate diminishes if the computer is continued to be used after formatting, as the original data begins to get over-written).

On the downside, they will not work if there are mechanical faults with your PC (this requires expert assistance).

Of the available Windows data recovery freeware, CG Security produce two applications (Test Disk and PhotoRec) that are both capable of deleted file recovery. The free Smart Recover tool from PC Inspector has an intuitive flash interface and works well in finding files, even on corrupted drives.

Data recovery cost: Free.

Commercial tools are generally more capable of finding files on corrupted hard disks as more development and testing goes into the code necessary to identify data clusters for recognizable files. Popular tools like Remo Undelete ($49; free trial scan) are able to quickly scan drives for lost files and present their listing of found files so you can pick and choose which files to recover. These tools work for hard drive or flash data recovery, as both use the FAT-32 format for administering files.

Data recovery cost: Usually from $10 to $50. Most offer a free scan.

Data Recovery Experts

By comparison, data recovery experts will have access to a greater number of Windows data recovery software applications specialized in everything from deleted file recovery and formatted drive analysis to more complex tasks like email retrieval and forensic investigations.

In addition, recovery experts can complete mechanical recovery when physical damage to components makes your computer inoperable (completing PC repairs may also be incorporated). They are also capable of recovering files/documents from a huge array of devices including hard drives, phones, flash memory and voice recorders.

Data recovery cost: These vary depending on your location; As a general guideline, an initial analysis can range from $50 to $150 depending on the device, the level of damage and if they need to fix PC errors before recovery can commence.

The subsequent cost of retrieval may be low if only recovery software is necessary, but can escalate into the hundreds if specialist equipment is needed to read damage devices.


Many users opt to combine these two approaches and attempt the free scan using Windows data recovery software as an initial approach. If the scan fails to find their files then you can subsequently look to the experts for help.

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