While this article was written for the american audience, it still is true over here but with some slight changes I would like to point out.
- There is no exchange rate for converting the price, just replace the $ with £ and you will get the correct price.
- This is only valid for hardware drive fails, if you have just lost information then software data recovery is possible and cheaper but for hardware data recovery the below is true
If data recovery is something you’re experiencing for the first time and you’ve heard the rumors you may have developed a feeling of nasua or panic. You may have heard it would cost thousands and thousands of dollars, or if you haven’t you do a quick Google search of a local computer shop that claims to get your data back for $50. Well which is it? Read this article and decide for yourself.
Data Recovery Scams: Companies that offer data recovery for $100 are only running software and if your drive is failing this can damage it further or ruin all chances at recovery. I’ve received many drives from clients that have taken their drives to other companies only to have them destroyed totally. Drives that have been opened outside of a cleanroom causes platter damage which would cause countless bad sectors to develop and would end in file corruption on the file stage of the recovery process.
A drive must never be opened outside of a clean room environment. Dust, pollen, bacteria, and human debris will damage the sensitive magnetic media that could result in head crashes and more unreadable bad sectors.
A large number of companies that offer cleanroom, or level 3 data recovery are also outsourcing your drive to another company and tacking on a huge commission fee. This may feel like a violation in the sense that you are unaware of who exactly is seeing your sensitive information. Most computer shops try and do a recovery from the known bad drive. This can potentially destroy the drive and any chances at recovering the data.
Advertising an unusually high success rate on all drives is impossible to do because each situation is different. Several factors come into play like what may be wrong with it, and has it been tampered with, opened, banged, frozen, or even worse.
Drives that have scratches on the platters are nearly unrecoverable by anyone.
Important questions to ask a professional would be:
Is it possible to see the clean room for yourself? Ask if they personally do the recovery on site. Do they have any training and where? Ask if the price includes a new hard drive with the recovered data on it.
There are a lot of mechanical parts inside of a hard drive that could fail over time and from human error. Software can only recover logical problems like from a virus or deletion. You must seek a professional for failing or damaged hard drives.
Common problems include:
PCB Circuit board problems
A Bad head : The head assembly is like an airplane wing. This is designed with air pressure in mind. The heads float over the platter at about 50 nanometers. The human hair is about 50,000-100,000 nanometers. Clicking and clunking are normal indicators of a bad head.
Stiction: this occurs when the heads are stuck on the platters causing the drive not to spin up due to friction.
Seized motor: While there are other more risky methods used in this case, the proper technique is swapping the platters into another identical chasis with special tools to keep the alignment.
A common myth that people use is freezing the drive: On occasion, freezing the drive does work, however, I do not recommend
this most of the time. The condensation caused by changes in temperature
can cause a lot more damage.
The recovery Process is very straightforward and the process can take up to a month on severely damaged drives:
1. Diagnose and Repair the drive (clean room repair)
2. Image the repaired drive onto a known good drive reading as many bad sectors as possible.
3. Recover the data.
What is a cleanroom?
A cleanroom is an environment, that has a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airbornemicrobes, aerosol particles and chemical vapors. More accurately, a cleanroom has a controlled level of contamination that is specified by the number of particles per cubic meter at a specified particle size. To give perspective, the ambient air outside in a typical urban environment contains 35,000,000 particles per cubic meter in the size range 0.5 micrometer and larger in diameter, corresponding to an ISO 9 cleanroom, while an ISO 1 cleanroom allows no particles in that size range and only 12 particles per cubic meter of 0.3 micrometer and smaller
A normal price for clean room recovery on a damaged hard drive is between $800 to over $2000
Dropped the drive which causes bent or bad heads and may cause platter damage. Clean room work is almost always needed when this happens.
The drive causes the computer to blue screen.
This can be because the drive is starting to fail and bad sectors are starting to develop.
Overheating from a laptop which would seize the motor or cause stiction.
Downloading a computer virus or accidentially formatting the hard drive. This would be considered a level 1 recovery.
Remember, once the damage has be done it can be permanent. Please be sure to take your drive to a professional the first time if the data is important. If you can’t afford a professional recovery right now then safely store the drive until you can.
By: Don Anderson
-Certified Data Recovery Expert
Tri-State Data Recovery Forensics, LLC
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