Data Recovery Fallacies
The mythology disseminated regarding data recovery needs to be dispelled.
Data recovery is not simple or straightforward. Data loss can occur for numerous reasons. Just as numerous are misconceptions about the data recovery process.
Myth: Hard drive platters can easily be removed from one hard drive and read within another drive or standalone device.
FALSE. Swapping platters is very risky and difficult especially with today’s multi-platter hard drives that utilize perpendicular recording methods. In fact, a user attempting to do so may jeopardize any chance for a successful recovery. The alignment of the platters and heads within a drive is finely calibrated by the manufacturer for higher performance. Users should NEVER attempt to open a drive, transfer platters or realign the heads. These procedures should be performed in a proper cleanroom environment by an experienced data recovery professional.
The popularity of science fiction entertainment has also helped spread the idea that platter surfaces can be scanned or read by lasers or other external means. While there is research in the academic sector, this technology is largely theoretical, and currently not used for commercial data recovery.
BONUS video: Debunking data recovery myths!
Myth: Data recovery is covered under a hard drive’s warranty.
FALSE. Hardware manufacturers typically do not cover the cost of data recovery under their warranty agreements. Manufacturers will state that they are also not responsible for data which may be lost or damaged during transit, repair or replacement. If your drive is still under warranty, your original drive may be replaced with a new one. So, be prepared and backup your data regularly.
One European vendor proclaims the following on its website in an FAQ about data recovery coverage and warranties:
“Q) My hard disk has been replaced. What will happen to the data on my old hard disk? Is it recoverable?
A) If your hard disk has been replaced it is because it has failed. This normally means the data is unrecoverable …”
If your drive has failed, you can have your data recovered by professional data recovery experts. Do not always believe the initial assessment of an I.T. person or a person in a computer shop who concludes that your drive has “crashed” and suggests there is no hope. Only a data recovery professional will know if your data can be rescued.
Myth: Mechanical problems within a hard drive can be fixed by software.
FALSE. If your drive has a mechanical problem, then you would not be able to access the data area of the drive at all. In this case, don’t power the drive on. If the heads have become physically damaged, the platter surface could be subject to further damage thus potentially making the drive unrecoverable.
If your computer can no longer recognize the hard drive in the BIOS, do not make any further attempts to access it with software. Contact a data recovery professional.
If your drive seems to be powering on normally and your computer recognizes the drive, you may be able to use Do-It-Yourself recovery software.
Myth: Data on a reformatted hard drive is permanently lost.
FALSE. Reformatting a drive or deleting files will typically leave the data written on the disk’s surface, but will remove the entries from the “Table of Contents”. Recovery of such files is possible.
However, a ‘problem’ drive with physical or mechanical problems may have areas that can no longer be read. These read errors are sometimes called “bad sectors”, but may actually be an early indication of a pending physical failure. In most cases, sectors with physical damage cannot be recovered.
When the operating system is re-installed by re-imaging or conducting a System Restore, then there will be some file damage due to this overwrite. Overall recoverability will depend on the amount of data previously on the drive, the amount of new data written to the drive, the level of fragmentation and the actual physical location of the required data.
While being self-sufficient places less strain on one’s wallet, there is a time and a place when it is advisable and necessary to get professional help. Where the loss of priceless personal or business data is concerned, seek out the assistance of reputable data recovery professionals like CBL Data Recovery, your data recovery service provider of choice.