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Data Recovery - A Sea of Confusion

By Don Wells

Your hard drive stopped responding and you Don't know what to do or what not to do. You call the OEM of your computer for support. After a couple of hours on the phone with tech support, it is determined that indeed the drive is failed. They tell you that you will have to seek professional data recovery services. You do a Google search for "data recovery" and find yourself drowning in a sea of confusion. You search website after website and see options and pricing ranging from $179.00 to $4000.00. Who do you call, who do you trust? Right now you're feeling what I have coined as "Data Loss Anxiety" and the symptoms are many. I would like to help you through this chaotic period by briefing you on some basic do's and do not's, a few industry misconceptions and why you should use Data Recovery Services for your data recovery requirements.

Can I Fix It Myself?

Firstly, Don't panic, you have almost a 100% chance of getting your data back so relax. What we Don't want to do at this time is hinder any chances of recovery. Most importantly, if your drive is making any strange noises and the system BIOS does not see it as being physically present, do not try any further. There is no software or hardware available to the public that will allow you access to the drive. If your system does see the drive being present and it sounds normal but it won't boot, try slaving the drive into a working system. This may give you complete access to your data. One more thing, please Don't put your drive in the freezer, any amount of condensation will destroy the media when you spin it up. Please see our tips page for more info on what you can safely try.

The Industry Today

Data recovery companies are popping up like mushrooms all over the web. The vast majority of these companies are not able to recover from physical failures. They are software only shops that advertise full service. Their MO is to advertise super low flat rate pricing and cherry-pick what they can handle with minimal effort. All other jobs beyond their capability are tagged as failed. They will contact the client and tell them that the drive is not recoverable when in fact it is. This discourages the client from pursuing any further attempts for recovery...it's an absolute crime. There are only 4 true full service cutting-edge companies in this industry and we're the best of them. A big shake-down is occurring right now in this business and only those that can produce will survive.

Why Pick Data Recovery Services?

If you've ever required data recovery in the past you may have used us. We are the original Data Recovery Services, Inc. headquartered in Dallas Texas. Established in 1981, ACE Data Recovery has remained the authority in the data recovery industry serving a global market. ACE Data Recovery offers a range of recovery services from a simple floppy disk to the most complex fiber channel RAID configurations. All of our procedures are done in house by engineers handpicked from around the world. We develop and manufacture hardware solutions that our competition would die for. Our facilities are cutting-edge with ISO class 5 or better clean rooms. When it comes to pricing, we offer a value added hourly model that our clients agree is the most attractive in the industry. We have a REAL 96% success rate and hear it from new clients all the time "I've been told that if Data Recovery Services can't get it, nobody can"...it's true.

Please Ask Questions

When you're doing your due diligence Don't be afraid to ask questions. Put the representative through their paces. Here are some FAQ's that you really should ask and the answers that you should be given and why.
How Much Will It Cost?
Data on computer storage media can be lost physically, logically or a combination of both. A comprehensive diagnostic must be performed in order to give you a firm, fair price. Typically, you should be given a range on your initial call. The more detail you have of the symptoms, the narrower the range will be. If a company gives you a flat price on your initial call, hang up and go to the next. After a free comprehensive diagnostic, we will give you a firm price quote with no hidden fees.
How Long Will It Take?
Modern hard drive recovery is very complex and the final result is all based on the success of one routine. This routine involves acquiring a physical sector dump (image) from the drive. Typical turn time for a single drive recovery is 2-5 business days if the drive responds normally to procedures. It can however take longer than this if there are hard to find parts or the drives media is degraded. All firms in this industry have had the occasional drive that reads for three weeks before completion. If a recovery company guarantees you a timeline over the phone, they're blowing sunshine up your skirt. Data Recovery Services will never guarantee a completion time for any project...we can only estimate. We work as quickly as we can to get you back up and running in the shortest period of time. We do offer critical response and expedited processing to shorten turn times. These premium services push your project to the front and dedicate resources to your project until completion.
What If you're Unsuccessful?
Some companies will charge you an "attempt fee" if they fail your recovery. This is another reason to stay away from the mushrooms described earlier in this article. Most reputable companies, as is with Data Recovery Services, will not charge you anything for a failed project. Sometimes there are recoveries that are marginal due to unreadable, damaged areas of the drive. Unread areas can cause everything from file corruption to data that is completely missing. We have implemented a Value Assessment Program for just this reason. We will work with you on the cost of your project to give you a fair price on the data that is viable.
How Will I Get My Data Back?
Typically, when a user has a drive failure they will remove the bad drive and go ahead and install another to reload and get going again. You should receive back a universal media that is compatible with your system so you can easily copy the recovered data back to your fresh system. We make sure that that's exactly what you receive. Most of our clients will receive DVD or an external USB drive free of charge.
Is My Data Confidential And Secure?
A data recovery facility should be secure physically and logically. By this I mean having a monitored security system on the facility, secure electronic connectivity with the outside and data storage management and recycling. Data Recovery Services will not disclose any client information to third parties except (i) pursuant to a final, non-appealable court order or (ii) as required by federal, state or local law.
What If My Recovery Gets Lost In Shipment?
This is good question. Data Recovery Services, as other industry leaders do, creates a "sector-to-sector" image of all incoming hard drives to prevent further possible data loss and keep your original drive unchanged. We retain your image/data for 5 business days after you have received the recovery to insure completeness and reintegration of the recovered data. "Budget" data recovery companies are working directly from problematic drives. Good luck getting any post recovery support from them.

The Bottom Line

Data recovery is not for everyone. You must weigh the cost of recovery against recreation of the data. In cases such as lost photos or video footage, the data cannot be recreated so easily if at all. At Data Recovery Services, we have a genuine interest in recovering your data. We are on a quest to prove that we are the best in the industry. If you really and truly must have your data back, you've come to the right company. If you have any questions, please Don't hesitate to call and ask for me directly, I'll be happy to chat with you about your project. Remember, back up early, back up often.
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