Category Archives: Computers

Hard Drives Failure Recovery

Hard Drives Failure Recovery and Prevention

If you’ve ever had a catastrophic failure of your power supply unit, or any of the many malfunctions than can trigger a hard disk failure nightmare, then you’re probably well aware of how difficult getting your data back can be. Such failures are surprisingly common even with the most advanced hard drives available on the market today. Industry technicians in computer circles will often treat hard drive failure as a certainty, not a question and this propensity for malfunction leads to significant frustration for end users, as both average users with priceless memories backed up on their hard drive space to corporate executives with gigabytes of account data to administer will find few things in the world more agonizingly frustrating than the loss of hard drive data.

Be it because of a common mechanical failure like the burnout of a motor or a far more devastating “plate crash” resulting from head failure, cherished and carefully saved family photos, critical and irreplaceable corporate records and all manner of data can be lost in the instant a hard drive fails. Unfortunately, due to a high price tag and prolonged waiting period, hard drive recovery can be an equally agonizing experience.

Recovering data from hard drives that have ceased functioning or even simply repairing a hard drive is nearly impossible for most end users, which leads many to believe their data has been forever corrupted or lost. Thankfully, companies like Data Recovery Labs and Dti Data Recovery, both Los Angeles based companies offering a data recovery service, offer hard drive failure data recovery and damaged hard drive repair.

Different recovery services will approach recovery with an array of techniques, but few are willing to elucidate the process for fear of loosing their edge over the competition. In general, however, the drive will be taken into an clean room where highly trained engineers will systematically analyze the hard drive, searching for and identifying specific malfunctions to establish a complete understanding of the hard drive failure. If the failure is a simple one, requiring only the replacement of a damaged component, then the procedure is a simple replacement of the failed part and a thorough testing of the newly refurbished drive. For drives that cannot so easily be repaired, these engineers set about recovering the data itself, using what they have learned about the disk’s failure to bypass or replace malfunctioning circuits. Typically, they will then create an exact duplicate or “image” of the drive and transfer the image into a new, unused and fully functional drive. This labor intensive process requires state of the art technology and well experienced, well trained engineers using techniques and strategies similar to those found in the field of computer forensics.

For the end user, these highly technical requirements mean an invariably high hard drive data recovery price. It should be noted, however, that prices will vary wildly between companies and is highly dependent on the nature of the malfunction. Simple malfunctions may be as inexpensive as $300.00, but more complicated or systematic failures may cost $1,500.00 or more. The shockingly high price of recovery can be off-putting for a majority of end users, and this is responsible for the widespread belief that hard drive recovery is either impossible or not worth the effort. Ultimately the value of the data to be recovered should be the determining factor when determining the amount you’re willing to spend, and individuals are encouraged to look for reputable companies that offer affordable services, not merely the hard drive recovery service that offers the cheapest price.

This high price is one of many good reasons for users to establish a regular time period for creating a data backup, in case of the worst. Safe computing practices, like ensuring the computer is protected by a surge protector, keeping the computer well cooled and powered with a reliable power supply unit can aide in reducing risk factors for hard drive failure. No amount of protection is 100%, however, and regular backups are the only surefire means of ensuring minimal data loss when a hard drive malfunctions. Even this is not perfect though, and in some cases sensitive data that cannot be duplicated, or new data that has not yet had time to be backed up may be lost with data recovery and all of its associated costs as the only available option for reclaiming it.
The best way for end users to backup their systems will vary with the nature of the data with which they operate and the frequency at which that data is modified. Users can choose to implement a partial or ‘incremental’ backup for a simple, fast means of protecting sensitive data or use a full backup to allow for a complete rollback. Ideally, whether they be a simple home user or the operator of a major database, any user seeking to protect their data with a backup will create a weekly incremental backup for frequently changing data and a periodic full backup at least once a month and before any major changes to the computing environment, such as a new power supply in to prevent a single malfunction from destroying any large volume of crucial data.

If backups are not possible, there are at least certain warning signs to alert users that a hard drive may be failing. These include general symptoms, such as slow operation of the computer and frequent freezes, or more specific and extremely severe ones like a sudden change in the normal operating sound of a hard drive. In the case of a change in sound or operating temperature, an immediate replacement is called for. Any regular or patterned change in the computers boot process, especially one involving frequent crashes, is also significant warning that the drive may be at the end of its life.
There is no 100% certain means of protecting data and often enough circumstances prevent the use of means that mitigate the risk of data loss. In the case of the worst, hard drive failure does not have to mean complete data loss, and recovering data from hard drive failures is possible.