What you need to know about failed hard drive data recovery services
Everybody should always have all data backed up all the time. In the real world, however, there are going to be times when hard drives fail without the data being properly backed up. Fortunately, there are also failed hard drive data recovery services. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Some failed hard drives can only be handled by a very few data recovery services
Regular (mechanical) hard drives can be sent to just about any reputable failed hard drive data recovery service, but SSD drives and Mac drives (which may be either mechanical hard drives or SSD drives) are niche products. If you have any of these, then it’s a good idea to double-check in advance that a failed hard drive data recovery service can actually handle them.
The less damaged the disk is, the more chance there is that they will recover your data
This may seem like stating the blindingly obvious, but the key point to take away is that you should only try repairing a failed hard drive yourself if you really know what you’re doing. By all means, undertake basic checks like making sure it’s actually connected properly, before you conclude that it’s failed. You may even want to try running some disk recovery software on it. When it comes to proper repair work, however, leave it to the experts. Do not try “hacks” like putting your hard drive in an oven and never, ever open it.
Once you’ve determined that the hard drive has failed, you need to protect it as much as possible. Even if you’re planning on taking the hard drive to the failed hard drive data recovery service yourself, it’s best to package it as though you were preparing it for international shipping.
First of all, you want to put the hard drive into an anti-static bag. This is really important. Then put bubble wrap either side of the hard drive (the paper version of bubble wrap is absolutely fine). You then want to make sure that there is sufficient extra packaging to keep the hard drive secure in the box (in other words to stop it from moving about), paper is fine. Obviously, you want to use a sturdy box.
Genuinely local services are usually the safest option
There are two main reasons why local services are the safest option. The first is that it cuts down the distance your hard disk has to travel to be repaired. This reduces the time in which it can be damaged or stolen (do not discount this last possibility). The second is that it ensures that the process will be governed by your local laws, which could make your life a whole lot easier in the event of any dispute.
The reason we used the term “genuinely” local is that you need to be absolutely clear on both the working location, in other words, the location of the data recovery lab, and the location in which the company is legally based. Ideally, these should both be in your local area, so you are sure that, whatever happens, the contract will be covered by your local courts.
Be very suspicious of any company which advertises multiple “service centers” or anything similar. The vast majority of these will be drop-off points or, at best, customer service centers which can run some basic software tools, nothing more.
Real data recovery labs are very expensive to set up and run. In addition to the staffing costs, the labs need to work to high standards of hygiene. As a minimum they should be certified to ISO 5 Cleanroom. Some data recovery labs even certify to ISO 4 Cleanroom. Any dust at all (even a spec) can damage a hard drive beyond repair, hence the advice never to try opening one yourself. Even the biggest companies are only going to have a few of them.
All jobs should be no fix no fee
All failed hard drive data recovery services should work on a “no fix no fee” basis. Avoid any failed hard drive data recovery services which suggest charging you regardless of whether or not it can recover your data. The reason for this is that data recovery is often a situation where you get it right the first time or you don’t get it right at all. This means that the first attempt at data recovery is the most important one, in fact it may be the only one, so you want to make the most of it rather than waste it.
Hard disk data recovery service