Data Recovery Myths and FAQ

A technician at shop X said I need to pay $1000 to get this data recovered and it has to be opened in a clean room?

Some data recoveries require a clean room, but most do not. Clean room recovery is only required when there is physical damage to the drive (crashed heads, water damage, etc) and the seals on the drive must be opened to repair it. Many data recovery shops charge you the “clean room price” regardless of whether a clean room is needed or not. Technicians at computer repair shops are not data recovery experts. They are not certified, do not perform data recovery services, and are simply trying to get a commission for sending you somewhere else/re-selling that service to you. We actually do data recovery, it’s one of the services we offer so you know you’re getting a real quote from us.

Can I put my hard drive in the freezer? Won’t that bring it back to life?

This is the number one myth about data recovery and it comes from a time when drives were built differently. Even then, it still worked very rarely. You are welcome to try this, but only do so if you are determined not to pay for professional data recovery and have tried every outlet available to you. Putting your drive in a freezer will permanently damage your drive because condensation will build up and will likely require a clean-room recovery. It can make recovery impossible and any place that can do it will run upwards of $1000 to repair that damage.

My technician said the drive is totally dead and unrecoverable, is that true?

Maybe. We can’t say until we look at the drive. Many technicians aren’t able to do professional-level data recovery, they are simply computer repair technicians — data recovery is a whole different ball game. There’s no charge for us to take a look and try.

Can I recover the data from the drive myself using software tools?

Yes, but it’s best left to a professional. Every time you connect your drive to your computer, you increase the chances that the data you want to recover will be over-written. If you run many data recovery tools on the drive, you multiply those chances significantly. We use write-blocking software to prevent this. We image your drive before attempting recovery so we don’t have that issue. Of course it could totally work for you but if your data is worth paying $195 for, let a professional handle it.

What if I accidentally formatted my drive? Deleted a file I didn’t mean to?

In either case, chances of recovery are very high. When you delete data from a drive, it’s not actually deleted. Instead, your computer just deleted some of the “pointers” to the file. It would be like taking down all the highway signs to New York. You could still find New York if you knew where it was.

Can’t I just swap the boards on the drive?

A lot of YouTube videos suggest swapping the board on your drive to bring it back to life. What they neglect to mention is that for most drives, there’s a chip on that board that contains crucial geometry data about your drive (which parts of the drive are reserved blocks, how data is arrange physically, etc). These chips have become standard for all drives in recent years, and they need to be transplanted from your old board to your new board, which may even require some custom re-programming of the chip. If you don’t transfer the chip correctly, you risk losing everything. If it’s worth paying $195 to get your data recovered, don’t try this technique.

What if my data is on an SD card/flash drive/zip drive/something else?

We can recover data from ALL types of data storage devices so no worries.