Almost everyone has experienced it at one time or another. The symptoms range from that clicking noise produced by an otherwise functioning hard drive or a hard drive that is simply no longer being recognized by the computer. The results can be devastating to the end user no matter whether that user is an individual with treasured family photos or a corporation with no backup of its server. Many people assume when their data is lost it is gone forever. However, with care and in the right hands, in many cases the data is 100% recoverable.
The first thing one should always do is stop using the failed media because doing so can cause further damage to the media making recovery more difficult. Many people attempt things such as reformatting or repartitioning a hard drive in an attempt to continue using it. By continuing to use failed media, you will be jeopardizing the existing data you wish to recover.
The most crucial action you should take next is to contact a professional data recovery company. These companies exist for a reason. They specialize in data recovery, and most have years of experience recovering data from failed media. Many of these companies offer clean room service, which is critical if the media needs to be opened for parts replacement. It only takes 0.5 micron of dust on the surface of a hard drive platter to cause permanent data loss.
Choosing a data recovery company should be done carefully. Beware of companies who charge a low flat fee compared to other companies. Data recovery can be expensive because of the tools and labor involved to recover data. There is no “easy fix” in most situations. Many times, a hard drive may need total parts replacement in a clean room using highly specialized equipment. For RAID recovery, there can be many labor hours involved in destriping the RAID in order for the data to make sense.
Data recovery is more successful when left in the hands of a professional data recovery company. Each case is different and falls into the category of physical or logical recovery with physical recovery being much more complicated. However, just because the data appears lost does not indicate it is permanently gone.
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Andrea Stone is employed with ReWave Hard Drive Recovery, a worldwide data recovery company. Visit the company's Data Recovery website for more information.