How Data Recovery Works

Losing your valuable data, either by damage to your computer or accidental deletion, is an upsetting situation. Whether the lost files contain sensitive personal information, treasured photographs, or data for your small business, the loss can be devastating.

Your data doesn’t have to stay lost, however. Data recovery services specialize in restoring files that most people wouldn’t think would be recoverable. Keep reading to learn how data recovery services work.

Why Data Recovery is Possible

The files stored on your computer are all written onto the hard drive, which consists of thin, round platters coated with a shiny magnetic data storage medium, much like the shiny coating on the thin ribbons contained inside VHS and cassette tapes. Just like in a VCR or a tape player, a head inside your computer’s hard drive reads and writes the data onto the magnetic storage medium.

When you delete a file on your computer, it is not actually erased from the hard drive. The hard drive simply changes the marker on that space from “occupied” to “vacant.” The data itself is still there until it is written over. Think of it as a home video that you have decided you don’t want anymore. Until you actually tape over it, it’s still there.

Even once data is written over, it can still be found. This is because the data that is written over it is usually imperfect, leaving traces of the original file. With the proper tools, these traces can be located, deciphered, and – usually – reassembled into complete files. However, the more times an old file is overwritten, the more difficult it will be to retrieve it – so the sooner you contact a data recovery service, the better.

What the Data Recovery Service Does

When you contact a data recovery service, usually the first thing they will want to know is how the files you want to recover were lost. You might have accidentally deleted the files, or the data might have become corrupted. In a worst-case scenario, your hard drive might have sustained damage, ranging from relatively minor damage such as hard drive crash, to serious physical damage such as flooding or fire. However, the data recovery service most likely won’t be able to give you a quote until they have inspected the hard drive, so you will also need to drop off or mail your hard drive to them.

Before the data recovery service begins work on your hard drive, they will make an exact copy of the drive. All work will be done on this copy, to avoid doing any more damage to the drive itself.

Using the copy of the original drive, the data recovery service then uses a variety tools and techniques to try to recover the lost data. Every hard drive creates a sort of table of contents at the very beginning of the drive; by retrieving old tables of contents, the data recovery service can tell where the files you need would be located on the drive, making it easier to make sense of and restore written-over data.

Once the data has been restored from the drive, the data recovery service checks to make sure the files they have recovered are complete. Again, they can use old tables of contents from the hard drive to check for holes in the files. Once they have ensured that the data is all there, they will back it up to CDs or another storage medium, and send it back to you.

Data Recovery Service Alternatives and the Risks Involved

There are many data recovery software packs available online. These may be pretty tempting, but remember that depending on what you need done, they may or may not satisfy your needs. And even if software can fix your problem, using them without a professional’s guidance may inadvertently create more problems, not only ensuring that you will have to use a data recovery service, but also creating more work for them (and therefore a higher price for you).

A common type of data recovery software is “undelete” software, which enables you to restore files that you have accidentally deleted. However, remember that when you delete a file the hard drive marks it as available storage. In other words, anything you do after deleting that file – whether downloading undelete software, saving another file, or even just shutting your computer down as normal – can overwrite the data, rendering it impossible to recover without a data recovery service.

A way around this is to download the undelete software to a separate drive, such as an external drive or even a USB drive. Unless you know what you are doing, though, you should probably call a professional right away – the longer you wait, and the more you tinker with your computer, the more likely you are to create the need for major data recovery in order to restore your deleted file.

Another type of data recovery software is one designed to find and/or fix lost or corrupted files. Again, the hazard is that every piece of data you write to the disk could overwrite the file you are trying to restore. Since the file is lost or corrupted, you cannot trust that the hard drive will know not to overwrite it. Again, immediately contacting a professional is probably the best course of action.

Data Recovery Services Protect Your Important Information

Because of the nature of a hard drive or another type of memory storage, data loss is not necessarily permanent. An experienced data recovery service can easily help you restore your valuable photos, financial information, or small business data. However, don’t forget that when your valuable data has been deleted, lost, or damaged, time is of the essence if you are to get it back: The longer your computer runs, and the more often it writes to the hard drive, the worse the situation gets.

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Why is Data Recovery so Expensive?

Data recovery involves recovering data from media that may not be performing properly. There may be a problem with the hard drive or any other component of the storage media. It would be great if we could decipher the nature of the problem ourselves with the help of a naked eye. However, our eyes and our technological knowledge have its own set of limitations. Data recovery is a highly specialized field that can cater to most of the data loss problems. Data loss can occur in strange and mysterious ways and each data loss incident can be different from each other. Due to these variations, the cost of data recovery can be heavy or light on your pocket. Data recovery, generally speaking, can be an expensive process. It may cost you several hundred pounds to just get the nature of data loss incident evaluated. This evaluation will merely give you an idea about the list of files that the data recovery company can recover. In addition, this evaluation cost may not be included in the actual cost of data recovery. So, what makes data recovery so expensive? Simply put, data recovery is expensive because it is a complicated process and not many companies are specialized in this field. Even though there are many companies that offer data recovery services, only the reputed companies can boast of effective data recovery. However, there are multiple factors that contribute towards the cost of a data recovery company, which consequently make the data recovery service an expensive alternative. Let us analyse the various factors that make data recovery an expensive option.

Factors that Influence the Cost of Services of a Data Recovery Company

Data recovery companies can minimize on your business’s downtime by providing a quick turnaround time. Most companies will be able to recover your data within the range of 24 to 72 hours. Consider the valuable time that would be wasted if you try to recover the data on your own. Since complex procedures need to be performed within a short period of time, the costs associated with the services are high.
There are times when people use DIY software or their own expertise to recover their lost data. In such instances, there is a high probability of losing your data forever. In today’s world, data means information, and information holds the power to make or break a business. A data recovery company ensures that your data is recovered in the most effective manner and is able to recover all or major portion of your data. A data recovery company hires experienced employees and uses effective tools to recover your data. These experienced employees come with a sound educational background as well as good industry experience. The nature of the work of these professionals is also highly complicated. Data recovery specialists need to evaluate and assess the nature of the data loss. Their skills are extremely effective in replacing or repairing fragile components. Therefore, the data recovery company has to match their salary with their experience. In addition, most data recovery companies use proprietary tools to recover the damaged data. These tools can be extremely expensive.
There are some overhead costs involved for a data recovery company. There are times when hard disk parts would need to be replaced. However, replacing these parts becomes very difficult because the hard disk manufacturers do not sell these parts. Therefore, only a hard disk of the same batch and model can be used to ensure that the data can be read off the disk platters in an appropriate way. A hard disk that has the same model but is of different batch will have different set of parts inside. Therefore, to avoid wasting time in looking for hard disk parts, the data recovery companies tend to keep a stock of hard disk parts. These stocks contribute towards overhead costs.
Hard disks are extremely fragile and prone to any kind of dust, air, or environmental contamination. Therefore, a data recovery company needs to invest in clean room facilities to ensure that the hard disks are handled in an appropriate environment. Establishing and maintaining these clean room facilities can be very expensive. Therefore, the data recovery companies tend to charge higher for their services.
Since the nature of work of a data recovery specialist is very technical, the data recovery companies tend to provide extensive training to their employees to ensure that the data and the media are handled appropriately and the success rate is maximised. Each data recovery company tends to develop their own trainings in this field because not much training is available through schools or colleges. Companies tend to spend significant amounts on developing their own training procedures. These costs are reflected in their cost of services.

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