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Who of you have used data recovery services (for dead hard drives)?
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Aug 5, 2013

Hello everyone

After my hard disk stopped working, I did not seriously consider using a data recovery service, because I suspect they must be very expensive. However, in the back of my mind I regularly think about it, every day re-calculating whether it may be worth the money, compared to the hassle of returning my work life to the state that it was at before the crash. So here's a question for those of you who have had hard disks die:

* How many of you have seriously considered using a data recovery service?
* If you did consider it, and if you gathered information etc, what did you discover with regard to what's on offer?
* If you used this type of service, did you get your data back, and if so, what did it cost (or: how was the final cost calculated)?

Thanks
Samuel


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 10:46
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Backup Aug 5, 2013

Hard drive recovery can easily go into the quadruple digits in USD, and the success rate is a mixed bag, dependant on the type of damage.

 

Pernille Chapman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:46
Member (2004)
English to Danish
+ ...
Probably depends on the state of your hard drive... Aug 5, 2013

About a year ago, my PC was damaged because of a power cut (in spite of surge protection being in place). I sent it for "diagnosis" at my local computer repair shop - a small, one-man business - and he told me that the hard drive was fried(!) He managed to restore my data and give my PC a good clean-up and service for GBP 160 in total, which I thought was very reasonable. Of course I have no way of knowing whether the problem actually was the hard drive, but the same shop has been very helpful on other occasions as well. So in short, I would avoid big retailers or companies that spend a lot on advertising and start by getting a quote from a local store.

Hope this helps,

Pernille


 

nrichy (X)
France
Local time: 04:46
French to Dutch
+ ...
I had, on two occasions Aug 5, 2013

The first time for my husband's small PC, the one he takes with him for conferences. The problem here was the "Gendarmerie" virus, a well-known thing which disables the boot. I was totally unable to access the hard drive, even when doing a restore. They recovered the disk and gave me a clean Office version (the only software on this disk) but did not recover the data. Costs were €100.

The second time my own hard disk went lost due to a power disaster. I took it to the same shop, they opened the bottom and saw that the hard drive was totally burnt, it even smelled strange. Recovery would have been impossible or would have cost thousands of €, and as I had all my data on a separate hard drive I just bought another laptop and reinstalled the software.


 

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:46
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I have done it once Aug 6, 2013

I had a back up of all my data, but my backup of the database of Projetex which I use to manage projects was 2 months old as I failed to add it t my regular backups.

I called several providers, compared prices and I've chosen about the only one I could afford - some $150, he managed to recover majority of my data. From what he said depending on the type of failure the amount of work required may be very different and so do prices of recovery. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to recover anything from SSD drives.


 

kdanik
Germany
data recovery Nov 19, 2013

I used software issued by hetman partition recovery for recovering deleted information from my PC. Program has very comfortable wizard, where you can find and recover your file step by step. Also I like good speed of recovering and option to save output file to any device. I`ve download software here http://hetmanrecovery.com/data_recovery/

 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:46
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Thoughts about this problem Nov 20, 2013

To avoid, or at least reduce, the problems this may cause in the future, I suggest the following should be considered:
  1. Always keep a copy of your important data on a backup hard disk or memory stick (solid-state memory), external to the computer, and keep it in a separate room except while you are doing the backup. Both of these are fairly cheap nowadays (a few tens of euros at most); they plug into a USB port and then appear to be a further disk drive (with a name like "E:" or "F:" in Windows computers. I use a free program called FreeFileSync for the backup process. It can scan the storage devices, determine which files need to be copied to (or deleted from) the backup device and do the copying and deleting.
  2. If your computer does not have a built-in battery (i.e. it is a desktop model, not a laptop), power it from the mains through a UPS (uninterruptible power supply), which contains a battery and will probably prevent such an incident from occurring.
  3. If your computer becomes unbootable but the hard disk is not damaged, the hard disk can be taken out, put into an external disk drive housing and then plugged into another computer (USB again) which can see it and make a copy of its files. Of course this needs to be done by somebody who has the technical competence: perhaps yourself, a competent friend or the local (if there is one!) computer repair shop.

I usually do this backup procedure every day - less often when I'm lazy, which increases the risk of data loss (which has never yet happened to me).
Oliver

[Edited at 2013-11-20 16:13 GMT]


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:46
Finnish to French
Laziness and daily backups... Nov 21, 2013

... are not incompatible: just use a scheduler!

I make a full image backup (incremental) of my main computer hard drive everyday at 17.00. I don't have to remember anything, it's scheduled. The backup goes to a network drive located in a closet and it only takes 10-15 minutes, even if it's over a slowish wifi connection. The software I use is Macrium Reflect, but there are plenty of other similar programs, including free ones, for instance AOMEI Backupper.

Oliver Walter wrote:
I usually do this backup procedure every day - less often when I'm lazy, which increases the risk of data loss (which has never yet happened to me).


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:46
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
If you have a suitable network Nov 21, 2013

Dominique Pivard wrote:
[Laziness and daily backups...]
... are not incompatible: just use a scheduler!

I make a full image backup (incremental) of my main computer hard drive everyday at 17.00. I don't have to remember anything, it's scheduled. The backup goes to a network drive located in a closet and it only takes 10-15 minutes, even if it's over a slowish wifi connection.

Yes, that's fine with a suitable (small) network containing a backup drive. My backup drive is in a separate housing with a USB cable and I keep it in a different room (upstairs) when I'm not using it (security against burglary and flooding, both of which have never happened while I've been here!). That drive is therefore unpowered except for a few minutes per day, which probably extends its life (when measured in months of my life, not hours of being switched on).
(The life-extension argument won't apply if Dominique's network drive is powered down when it has been idle for a certain number of minutes.)
Oliver


 

Wolf Kux  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:46
Member (2006)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
One point to avoid or put down Nov 22, 2013

... the probability to loose a PC or a hard disk due to power glitches or surges is to insert a no-break device between your equipment and your electrical provider.

A no-break device usually "stores" on its batteries some electrical energy, and this energy flows to your PC. If a power surge happens, then a good no-break can "hold" for some time on such a surge, without "sending" it to the connected devices.

On the other side, if you get a blackout, with a no-break that continues to operate, let's say, for 15 minutes, you may have up to 10 minutes to decide if you shut your devices down or to go ahead on working on them, until your no-break gets out of power.

No-break prices vary very much, depending on the capacity and the time you need them to hold your devices active. So, it is a very good idea to calculate previously what you want to operate during such electrical power problems. For example, a printer need not connected to a no-break (because a printing task can wait), but a modem may be; the monitor and the PC itself, of course, need to be connected.

To buy or not to buy? Remember always the first power glitch law: the next power glitch will come, surely.
The problem is that they hate to be get announced!


 

Stefan Hofmeister  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 23:46
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
What about a "Home Server"? Nov 22, 2013

Wolf Kux wrote:

... the probability to loose a PC or a hard disk due to power glitches or surges is to insert a no-break device between your equipment and your electrical provider.


I think I'll install that in the near future, even if there are nearly no problems here, yet (but you know: Germany and the turnaround in energy policyicon_biggrin.gif )...

And then I think it's worth considering a kind of "home server", be it an online solution or a real device - it's not expensive (the real device costs about 200 EUR) and you have access to your data from anywhere in the world! To be absolutely sure you could even combine both methods.


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:46
Finnish to French
Hibernation Nov 22, 2013

Oliver Walter wrote:
(The life-extension argument won't apply if Dominique's network drive is powered down when it has been idle for a certain number of minutes.)

Yes, given its use, there is no point in keeping the disks (there are two of them) in my NAS spinning all the time. Here are the settings I use:

DNS-325.png

Whenever I need to access the network drive, it takes about 5-10 seconds for the disk(s) to "wake up" from hibernation, but I can live with that.


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:46
Finnish to French
NAS = "home server" Nov 22, 2013

Stefan Hofmeister wrote:
And then I think it's worth considering a kind of "home server", be it an online solution or a real device - it's not expensive (the real device costs about 200 EUR) and you have access to your data from anywhere in the world! To be absolutely sure you could even combine both methods.

For all practical purposes, a NAS (network-attached storage) is a "home server". Easier to set up and maintain and much more energy-efficient than recycling an old PC into a Linux server (which is a solution sometimes suggested, especially by Linux aficionados). Most NAS actually run an embedded version of Linux.


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:46
Finnish to French
Real-life case Nov 22, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:
* If you used this type of service, did you get your data back, and if so, what did it cost (or: how was the final cost calculated)?

There were a couple of interesting threads on the Rosetta mailing list back in 2007:

CHAT/CONTEST: How much did Mirella spend for the data recovery?
CHAT: and the winner is...

Here is an excerpt from the outcome:
I'm also glad to report that all our stuff has been shipped back to Italy and that we're spending these last few days in the States in a Marriott hotel with a complimentary high-speed Internet connection in every room AND in the lobby. And that there are copies of the files I'm currently working on on my laptpop, on an USB storage unit, on the new external HD, in my gmail account mail folder, AND in the hands of a trusted colleague in Italy.

Oh - the whole data recovery procedure cost me in excess of $ 3000 (and shortened my life of a couple of years, at least). Missing my deadline and ruining my reputation in one fell swoop would have cost me much more.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
NAS in the closet Nov 22, 2013

Dominique Pivard wrote:
The backup goes to a network drive located in a closet and it only takes 10-15 minutes, even if it's over a slowish wifi connection.


Do you mean that your NAS is corrected to your home network via Wi-Fi, or do you mean that your NAS is connected to your home network's router by cable, and you connect to it with your computer via Wi-Fi?

I tried using a NAS system via Wi-Fi, but even at times when I connected it directly to my computer with a cable, the transfer speed was about 10th of what a standard USB hard drive would have been. A partial full backup of my computer (say, 200 GB) would have taken a week. Even incremental backups took several hours. I was thrilled initially by the idea of a networked backup drive, especially since it would allow my whole family to do backups via Wi-Fi, but my experience with it was very bad. These days I backup daily to a USB3 hard drive that unfortunately sits right next to the main computer, so it won't protect against theft, but it will save me from crashes.

As for my original query, the dead drive is still in a drawer, but I've had to live with the fact that I lost a chunk of my life. I had to recreate two years of business administration from scratch (thankfully all my e-mails were still on Gmail).

The biggest problem with backups is the speed at which the backups are made. Dead slow seems to be standard.


 
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