Why you should let professionals recover deleted files

Dave’s Computers is all about empowerment. Our blog regularly posts how-tos and tutorials for you to learn new skills and manage your own computers. Sometimes though, you really should leave things to the professionals. One such task is recovering deleted files.

There is a lot of free and premium software on the internet that says it can help data recovery. Some of it even works and delivers on its promises. Trouble is, you don’t always know which works and which doesn’t.

Yes data recovery costs money, but how much is your data worth? If it is truly important, don’t risk it to some random piece of software you find on the internet. Let the experts work their magic. I guarantee our chances of success are many times higher than that software!

Don’t use data recovery software

Some data recovery software is probably very good at what it does. It might even recover the data you lost. But how do you know whether it works or not? You don’t until you try it. Then, if something goes wrong it is often too late and no amount of data recovery expertise can recover your files.

One key aspect of successful data recovery is leaving the drive intact and not using it. If the data is overwritten it is irretrievable. That’s why we always say, if you accidentally delete a file or something happens to your hard drive to stop what you are doing immediately and bring us the drive. If you continue working or try to recover the file yourself, you risk overwriting the data or damaging it further.

Secondly, using data recovery software often means working on the same computer and even the same drive. This also risks further damage or overwriting the data on that drive. Once it is overwritten, it is gone forever.

Here at Dave’s Computers, our data recovery team uses a test bench to work on hard drives. We attach your drive as an additional drive. We then make a true copy of that drive just in case and then recover the data from it. The advantage with this approach is that no data is touched on your drive at all. All the work is done on the test machine on the bench. This leaves your data 100% intact which increases our chances of success significantly.

Don’t try to fix a hard drive yourself

Even if you’re not interested in saving the data, repairing a hard drive yourself is almost impossible. Some websites will tell you to freeze the drive, to knock it with a rubber mallet or open it up to assess any physical damage yourself. Don’t.

Freezing the hard drive is a myth that still does the rounds some 20 years after first being suggested. The theory was that if the read/write head was stuck, freezing it would cause the metal to contract and free the head. You could then attach the drive, copy your data and either use the hard drive again or put it in the trash when you had copied your data. It doesn’t work.

Not only is a freezer full of moisture, freezing metal makes it incredibly brittle, which isn’t good for any moving part. Finally, condensation forms when the drive returns to room temperature which is often terminal.

Impact mechanics has been known to work but has failed more times than it has been successful. How do you know how hard to hit it? How do you know the drive is stuck at all and not just broken? How do you know whether you are hitting it in the right place to free a stuck mechanism? You don’t.

Opening a hard drive is something we don’t like doing so certainly don’t suggest a home user does it. If you have ever seen the inside of a hard drive, it is made up of a circuit board, several round disks (platters) and a read/write head for each platter. The platters spin at high speed and the needles read or write the data. It is a very complex device and delicate too. The platters are very fragile and covered in a magnetic material. Any damage, no matter how miniscule, can stop the platter working completely.

While you can do whatever you like to your own computer equipment, if you want to recover data from it, you should leave it alone. Bring it to Dave’s Computers and we will recover your data for you. We cannot promise to fix the hard drive but in most circumstances we can at least recover your files.

Rebuilding your hard drive risks overwriting the data you want to save. Even a simple rebuild of a boot sector or index can overwrite critical data that prevents us recovering it. Windows has built in error recovery and many software tools are available that offer to fix the Master Boot Record or file system on a disk to return it to working order. If all you want is your drive working again, these often work fine. If you want to recover your data, they will often render that data unrecoverable.

I’m not saying all this to scare you into inaction. It is your hard drive and your data. Do what you like with your own equipment. But, if you want to recover your data, you should be mindful of the risks.

Dave’s Computers specializes in data recovery. It doesn’t cost that much, can be done in a hurry if you need it and has a very high success rate. Bring your computer or the drive (carefully) into our store and we can assess the issue and tell you what we can do to help!

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