Seeking a good hard drive recovery service

A friend of mine emailed me recently with a question that I can’t answer. He has a friend whose hard drive has croaked, possibly due to a power surge caused by a lightning storm. She’d like to get as much of the data back as possible, but the usual recovery methods don’t seem to be working because the drive’s control logic appears to be fried.

The question is: Do you know of a good, reliable, and reasonably affordable service capable of recovering a drive’s data in such a situation?  Quick turnaround isn’t a high priority here, if that helps. Fortunately for me, I’ve not had to go down that path, so I don’t know any place to recommend.

Thanks to a previous conversation here, I do know that if the drive itself is still responsive, GetDataBack is a nice tool for recovering deleted files or inaccessible data on a corrupted volume. I’ve used it myself and recommend it.

I’ve also had success swapping in the control logic from another, almost-identical drive and recovering the data, but it’s not a procedure I’d recommend to the average guy.  I just happened to have multiple copies of the same drive on hand, and I didn’t have much to lose.  The drive made some scary noises with the transplanted control logic, but it worked long enough for me to grab the data I wanted.

What if a professional data recovery service is needed? Any recommendations?

Comments closed
    • cheesyking
    • 11 years ago

    I always use a guy in Walton on Thames… but I’m guessing that’s a bit far out of your way. He’s repaired every drive I’ve ever given him though

    • jazper
    • 11 years ago

    there is 4 problem with the move up/down letters (the first 4nd the l4st letters of the 4lph4bet) in firefox 3, something to do with the html. I could copy/p4ste but I m not th4t bored

    I w4s just going to s4y th4t some people h4ve h4d success using “drive logic” from 4nother h4rd drive of the s4me type 4nd th4t might 4ctully solve the problem 4 hell of lot che4per th4n going to 4 recovery compn4y.

    4lterntively you might be 4ble to get by with 24R (leetspeek first nd lst ch4r4cters of 4lphbet) 32 4nd 4 f(4)n. ok I’ve h4d enough of using leetspe4k so I’m going to just post this

      • Forge
      • 11 years ago

      WTF U SAY? OHAI, I R USE FF3 AND N0 PR0BS MIT A UND Z. kkthx bai!

      For the sarcasm impaired: I dunno what he’s on about. FF3.0.1 and the ‘a’ and ‘z’ keys work just fine here.

      More infoz needed.

    • herothezero
    • 11 years ago

    OnTrack is great; DriveSavers is good too.

    • Pachyuromys
    • 11 years ago

    This is something to consider with regard to solid state drives. At least with a hard drive the data is still likely mostly intact and can be recovered if you’re willing to spend the money. But had a similar power surge hit an SSD what are your recovery options, if any? (Indeed, “Intelligent Destructive Purge ™” is a patented method of using a power surge to render memory unusable.)

    Something to think about before you entrust your data to an SSD.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    I assume you already told him about the merits of backing up?

    • Irascible
    • 11 years ago

    I realize this isn’t what’s being asked for, but for home use I think online data backup is a great way to prevent ever having to call on a data recovery service. It’s become extraordinarily cheap. And you still have your data even after theft, fire or worse. The only caveat is the need to have a high speed internet connection. But if you have that already then nearly real time offsite backup of critical data is hard to beat.

    • Jive
    • 11 years ago

    Perfect timing, my friend will be needing a hard drive recovery service from his 3 month old Macbook. Unfortunate thing is, the computer being 3 months old you don’t think anything could go wrong that early, so without backing up he lost his entire thesis for his Master degree from UC Berkeley…

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      How do these people get into these schools and not back up their hard workg{

      • DrDillyBar
      • 11 years ago

      Drivesavers comes to mind for me too

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Isn’t the control logic soldered to the pcb? Sounds ballsy.

      • Hance
      • 11 years ago

      I think what damage was talking about is just pulling the entire PCB off the back of the drive and putting one on it off of a similar drive. I could be wrong though.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        Oh right, yeah that sounds a bit more palatable.

        EDIT: Sounds like a job for JBI.

    • Hance
    • 11 years ago

    The stuff that I absolutely have to have copies of I am anal about making backup copies and having several offsite copies. My test reports for work I have to keep for 5 years. The DEQ and EPA are people you dont want upset thats why I am so anal about it.

    Other than a logic board swap I dont know how far I would go to try and recover the data. Data recovery services tend to be expensive so unless the files are really important I wouldnt mess with it. The photos of my kids are probably the only thing I would pay to recover.

    • Meadows
    • 11 years ago

    I once saw such a service advertisement on the wall in a hardware shop in another city. Maybe try asking around in PC stores nearby?

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