There are many reasons someone may need hard drive data recovery services. Whether it’s due to hard drive malfunction, drive damage, or accidentally deleted files, hard drive data recovery services can often help you get your important files back.
Drive data recovery is the process of extracting important information off of a hard drive that you can’t access anymore.
The condition of the hard drive has a significant affect on the ability to extract data off it. But many people would be surprised at just how damaged a drive can be and data is still accessible by professionals.
How Hard Drive Data Recovery Services Work
Data recovery off of any kind of hard drive isn’t a guaranteed process. Sometimes the damage to the drive is so extensive that data retrieval is impossible.
The first stage for most data recovery services is to analyze your disk drive to determine if data recovery is possible in the first place.
This means that the first step will be providing your drive to an expert for the initial diagnosis.
If you visit a local service, this means bringing the drive into the location and providing it to a specialist. Some places can do this diagnosis the same day if the appointment is scheduled.
If you are using a remote service, you’ll need to ship the hard drive to the data recovery service. The specialist there will determine if the data can be recovered and will contact you with recommendations for the next steps.
This initial diagnostics will usually come with a basic fee, ranging anywhere from $40 to $100. Some services offer it for free.
In most cases, if the hard drive isn’t in bad shape, the team at the recovery service will begin work on recovering your data.
If you’ve made an appointment at a local service, this means you leave the drive with the team and return in a few hours to retrieve your data.
Simple recovery is usually possible at a local shop because the drive is accessible by a computer or other media device and special software the shop may have on hand.
The recovery is sometimes performed on a sector-by-sector basis, so the process can take a very long time. Often the initial stage includes “cloning” your original drive so that the recovery process can be performed on a different drive, rather than your original.
This simple recory process will usually cost anywhere between $150 to $500.
If the initial diagnosis shows that your hard drive has been physically damaged, then a more intensive recovery process is required.
Usually the local shop needs to ship the drive out to a location where trained technicians can take the damaged drive apart and attempt to repair it.
If you’ve shipped the drive to a remote location, they may have skilled technicians on hand. After informing you of the recovery process that’s required and confirming that you’re okay with the cost, the technicians will begin the rebuild process.
The advanced recovery process is time consuming and comes at the greatest cost. This usually ranges between $500 upwards of $2000.
Your willingness to pay the fee depends on how critical the data on the drive is.
The Process of Recovering Data
The technical recovery process can take many forms, depending on what’s wrong with your hard drive. It also depends on the type of drive you need to recover data from – a disk type drive or a solid state drive.
- Corruption: If the drive’s partition table or file system became corrupt, technicians can use special software to repair that corruption. The software then easily recovers the data. Even if software can’t repair the corruption, advanced technicians can still recover at least parts of damaged files by recovering fragments of the files without requiring the file metadata.
- Overwritten Data: If you’ve accidentally overwritten a file, recovery may not be possible. Sectors on a traditional hard disk get overwritten by new data, which means the old data is completely wiped. However with solid state drives (SSD), some of the data is stored in a special “map” that could allow an advanced technician to recover portions of files. However this process is very difficult and could be very expensive.
- Deleted Data: If you’ve just deleted data and haven’t written anything new to the disk, it’s possible for many different recovery software packages to locate the sectors that data was stored on and recover that information, even if the disk filesystem is corrupt.
- Bad Sector: One of the most common errors that leads to a bad hard drive is a logical bad sector. There are many recovery software packages available that can correct those logical sectors and bring the disk drive back ito working order. If the logical sectors can’t be corrected, then those bad sectors need to be physical replaced before the disk drive can be made functional again.
- Hardware Failure: If the hard drive has hardware failure, then a technician needs to locate the damaged hardware and replace it to make the drive functional again. In newer drives manufactured after 2003, technicians may attempt to replace the PCB control circuit, and transfer the EEPROM chip that stores data location information from the previous drive to the new board.
The Best Drive Data Recovery Services
The following are some of the best data recovery services. You can ship your disk drive to any of these services and they’ll do their best to repair the disk and recover your data.
- Secure Data Recovery: One of the most well known and highly rated data recovery services. Secure Data Recovery has clean room facilities to work on your drive. They also offer free diagnostics to let you know if it’s possible to recover information from your drive. They offer 24/7 emergency service.
- Salvage Data: This service will perform a comprehensive assessment for free before moving forward with your repair. This service has been rated #1 for the last five years. Impressively, if they can’t recover your data, you won’t be charged for the service. Emergency response is available.
- Gillware Data Recovery: This data recovery service not only offers a free evaluation to see if your disk can be recovered, but they even offer free shipping. If they can’t recover your data, you don’t have to pay anything. You can submit a case using their online case form.
- Drive Savers Data Recovery: Like other services listed here, this data recovery service won’t charge for shipping or for an initial evaluation. If they can’t recover your data, you won’t be charged. You can ship just the drive, or your entire desktop or laptop.
- WeRecoverData: This service is tailored for large businesses. Not only will they attempt to recover data off drives or computer systems, but they’ll also work on recovery data off of tape drives as well. They will even work on virtual machines. There is an online form to submit your case.
- The Data Rescue Center: This recovery service performs performs a free service after you ship your drive to them for free. They’re one of the few services that offers their prices on their web page. You’ll know what to expect before you start the process.
- SERT Data Recovery: This service touts over 20 years of experience helping clients recover data. They promises that it can repair your drives and recover data for the lowest prices in the industry. The phone number and email is listed right on the main page, so you can call and get a quote before you choose the service.
Recover Your Data
Just because your hard drive failed doesn’t mean you need to give up and throw the drive away.
If you have data or files on that drive that are very important to you, it may be worth your time and investment to reach out to one of the data recovery services above.