If you have found this page then you have probably had loss of important files and you have already decided you need to use a computer data recovery service and that DIY recovery using software is not worth the risk – you are hoping to find the Best Data Recovery company that can maximise the chances of recovering that data.
If you are still trying to evaluate the cause and extent of your data loss you can read about data loss and recovery on the other pages in this Data Recovery section of the site. If you are confident that you are just dealing with a simple file deletion and you have confidence in your own abilities or that of your staff you may wish to check our Recovery Software page – but please read our warnings about DIY data retrieval and the benefit of using a professional data recovery services expert.
No matter what Data Recovery Services Company you decide to use this is not an inexpensive service. Cost might be a deciding factor but for many individuals, businesses or corporations – choosing a Secure Data Recovery Services business that can recover the most data without compromising existing file structure is critical and surpasses the cost factor.
- 60% of companies that have complete data loss close their doors within six months of a disaster.
- 50% filed for bankruptcy immediately.
- 93% percent filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster
Important Features to consider when choosing Data Recovery Services
Low Fixed Price Without Examination of Hard Drive or other Media
Beware of companies that advertise low flat rate data and file recovery without physically examining your failed drive, or memory card. They are probably only willing to do, or capable of, very limited recovery procedures and you should be concerned that you might get back less than you started with.
Damaged files can be recovered from most media, but ‘one price fits all’ does not represent the amount of work and the sophisticated equipment and clean rooms that are required by any data retrieval services specialist – and cost will reflect this.
It is easy to offer a fixed price and do the easy work. Companies offering low prices will often report to the customer that no further files could be retrieved, ignoring the fact that a more professional company could in fact successfully restore data and the risk that they may be doing more damage in the process.
Be wary of small print that have hidden fees eg lab work, “parts“, Mac or Unix Drives or High Capacity Dives which can dramatically increase the quoted data recovery services cost. Once again their intention is often to attempt little more than a simple software scan and repair, which will be sufficient in some cases but many of these companies do not have the tools, expertise, or dedication to deal with the inevitable more complicated cases.
Holding Your Data Hostage
A quick web search will return many cases where unprofessional data repair services providers have held customers drives or disks or other media for a ransom due to additional charges which were not made clear at the start or were hidden in the small print.
First Attempt will Offer Best Success
Without the very best software, equipment and expertise there is a big danger that an unsuccessful attempt at recovering deleted files can result in further data loss, therefore the more valuable the data the more you should be willing to pay an appropriate cost for the services provided to ensure maximum file retrieval success.
Quotation + Fixed Price Repair
We have already stated that fixed fee data recovery should spell a warning. A professional company that you can trust should start with asking you questions about the circumstances of the data loss.
An examination of the corrupted media will allow them to determine the best possible strategy for successful recovery. Only when this initial specialist evaluation is made can an accurate fixed price quotation be given. Some companies will charge for this quotation, others may do this as a free service. This could result in a lower price or higher price than that fixed quote” you might get from a recovery company where your file retrieval outcome can be uncertain, however you will have the assurance that the data recovery services specialist that you have chosen will have allocated sufficient resources to recover the maximum amount of data with no danger of losing data.
A professional services company will honor this quote, no matter how much time and resources they have to spend in recovering your files. With a reputable service provider the quote should reflect the ease or difficulty of recovery, and should not be inflated, exaggerated, or otherwise misleading. You will know exactly how much recovery will cost with no added fees for parts or special procedures, no hidden charges, or confusing hourly rates.
No Data Recovery, No Charge
A responsible company should have a ‘No recovery, No charge’ policy (but may charge an their initial media examination fee), however you only want to accept this type of guarantee from an expert that you have confidence in, who have the resources and commitment to exhaust all possible recovery methods before coming to the conclusion that no data can be recovered.
It is all too easy to do minimum recovery procedures, and possibly even do further damage then hand the media back and say – ‘no charge’. You are then left with the uncertainty of how well this company performed and whether you should spend more money to ask a second company to attempt recovery.
Remember the first attempt at data recovery, by a professional services provider gives you the best chance to retrieve the maximum amount of data.
Software Repair or Hardware / Physical Repair
Depending on the cause of file corruption it might be possible to retrieve data using software methods (See Logical Failure on our HardDrive Recovery page), but particularly with Hard Drives there could be mechanical damage to the drive. In either case you need to have confidence that the recovery service specialist you choose has the necessary skills and facilities to maximise recovery.
Our HardDrive Data Recovery page will help you understand if you have a Logical Data Failure or if the cause is Electronic or due to Hardware failure.
Class 100 Clean Room facilities
If you need data recovered from a hard drive and that drive needs opened, then a class 100 clean room is required. This means a room that has fewer than 100 particles (eg smoke or dust) per cubic meter.
To compare, there are about 38,000,000 particles per cubic meter in the typical office, so if your friendly IT technician offers to open your hard drive to see what is causing the ‘funny noise’ then stop there.
Why would smoke or dust particles be dangerous to your hard disk?
You can see from the image below that the distance between the disk read / write head and the platter is many times smaller than the thickness of a human hair and even the smallest dust particle is big enough to cause more damage.
Success Rate in Data Recovery
Unfortunately that question is much like “how long is a piece of string”, however the following will give you some guidance.
Deleted Files / Logical Errors (Not Physical damage)
If the data loss is due to unintentional deleting of files or emptying the waste basket then success is likely to be over 90% – that presumes the following:
- You have ceased using the drive (with power shut off as soon as error discovered)
- You have not used any other undelete utility (that might have written over the original data)
- That someone who was trying to hide the data has not used some Permanent delete software on the data – though even then a competent forensic data recovery services specialist may be able to restore most or all of this data.
Data Loss Due to Physical Damage or Faulty Drive
With physical data loss your chances of retrieving data could be diminished depending on the cause and extent eg faulty components in the drive, fire flood or impact damaging the disk housing or platters. In the case of a hard disk the spinning platters hold the data on their magnetic surface. Any parts of this surface that have been physically damaged will have permanent and irrevocable data loss – however the good news is that all data on undamaged parts of the media is almost certainly retrievable by a competent data recovery specialist.
This may require physical removal of the platters which are placed in a dedicated recovery enclosure which can read the undamaged data. This data can be extracted, and placed onto new media for re-use.
Precautions you should implement as soon as you believe you might have hard disk failure
If you have any reason to believe your drive or other media has been physically damaged:
switch off the power
if possible remove it from the device and do not allow anyone to make any retrieval attempts unless you are confident in their specialist abilities.
If an ‘IT Technician’ suggests he can open a hard disk and have a look – SAY NO.
Contact a professional data recovery services lab for further advice
Just Don’t Do It !!
The CEO of CrashCorp has an MSc in Computing, he might attempt a software retrieval of a few deleted files on his own hard disc, however he would not attempt to open a drive to ‘see inside’ and he would not attempt to retrieve any data from a storage device belonging to a third party. Use a professional. ‘Penny Pinching’, when it comes to Data Recovery is ‘Penny Wise – Pound Foolish’
To minimise the need to pay a professional to restore your valuable digital assets you should start with a good Disaster Recovery Plan. Ready.gov have some good guidelines
Best Data Recovery Reviews
In the coming weeks we will be adding comparisons of the major services companies including hard drive data recovery cost and prices for recovering data from other media including:
- SSD (Solid State Drive)
- Backup Applicance
- Optical Disks – CD / DVD