Some people say there are two kinds of computer hard drives, those that have failed and those that will fail. This admittedly tongue in cheek comment points out the fact that all hard drives are mechanical devices and as such will eventually suffer physical damage, wear out or break down. If your computer’s hard drive fails, taking with it valuable files and other data, your only real option is to get professional assistance from a reputable data recovery company.
Unfortunately, not all data recovery companies are created equal. Some companies don’t have the knowledge or expertise to truly give you the best possible chance to recover your lost files. There are thousands of companies out there who claim to be data recovery specialists, but how do you know which ones are the most suitable for you? Here are some tips on finding a company that will retrieve your information without costing you a bundle.
Find out whom the company has done work for in the past and whether those clients were satisfied with the work. If the company has worked for larger clients and has a significant amount of repeat business, you can be reasonably certain that they are reputable. You can check with the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce in your area to find out if there have been any complaints registered against the company and the nature of those complaints.
Another good way to tell if the company is well-recommended is to find out if the company that made your hard drive recommends that data recovery service you’re considering to their customers. Hard drive companies will make sure they’re comfortable with a data recovery company before recommending them.
Be careful of testimonials offered on the company’s website. Sometimes they are useful, but often they can be inflated and certainly only the most positive comments about their service will appear on the site.
A Class 100 clean room environment (“Class 100” means there are less than 100 micro-particles per cubic foot of air) is needed to perform work on the fine components of a hard drive. Hard drives are extremely sensitive and the slightest contaminate can render your data irretrievable. A reputable data recovery company will have these facilities to work on your hard drive. If they don’t you’re better off looking elsewhere.
It’s worthwhile to ask about the company’s recovery rate when comparing service providers. Most data recovery companies have a success rate of about 80-90%. If the company you’re considering has a significantly lower success rate, they’re probably not using the most successful recovery methods.
Non-Destructive Recovery Methods.
Some low-end companies run software programs that can recover some of the data, but may further damage the drive in the process. Adding to the drive’s damage may very likely remove any chance of you recovering your data in full. Ask the company if they use non-destructive methods.
Pricing and Fees.
Generally speaking, fees for physical recovery of data from your hard drive should all be in the same price range – give or take a little bit. If the company you’re considering wants to charge you significantly more or less than the average amount, it may be a scam or a low-end company.
Also, in most cases, companies will offer a free consultation and there should not be any flat fees.
How long has the company been in business? Do they do only data recovery or do they dabble in other services as well? Do they retrieve your data on-site or do they ship it out to a third-party?
Companies who are new to the business are generally more of a risk than well-established companies, and companies who specialize in only data recovery are generally a better bet. Don’t choose a company who outsources their work. If you do, you’re simply paying extra to the middle man, why not go straight to the company who does the work?
What assurances do you have that the company will respect your privacy in regards to the data? Is there a confidentiality agreement in place? Are you comfortable that you data will not be shared or distributed in any way?
Personal comfort level.
Sometimes the best guide is simply your “gut” instinct. Talk to the company representative, ask all the questions you have and decide whether you feel comfortable with the company and the project. If you have any concerns, find out if the company can address them sufficiently or simply move on. There are thousands of data recovery companies out there so it makes sense to shop around and not settle for the first company you find.
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