By David John Hughes
As a company that specialises in data recovery for some time, we have dealt with numerous customers that have attempted to recover their own data and caused even more damage in the process, or have told us horror stories about bad experiences they have had from sending their drives away to be recovered. Here are the five biggest problems that you need to try and avoid if you are trying to recover data from a failed hard drive:
1) Never Open Up Your Hard Drive - they are constructed inside class 100 clean room environments which means there are fewer than 100 particles (<o.5 microns) per cubic foot of air. Open up your hard drive outside of a clean-room environment and you will allow damaging particles onto the hard drive platter which is extremely sensitive and easily damaged by even the smallest piece of dust.
2) Never Install Data-Recovery Software Onto The HDD You Are Trying To Recover - This is unfortunately very common where someone desperately wants to recover important data, rushes out and buys expensive data recover software which they then install on the same system. If you install anything onto the drive from which you have lost data then you run the risk of overwriting your valuable data. Make sure you remove the drive in question, hook it up to another machine and install the data recovery on that machine!
3) Be Careful Freezing Your Drive! - Once of the more popular remedies which you can find on Google is the so-called freezer trick where you are advised to pop your drive in the freezer overnight which will then allow your data to be recovered in the morning. Firstly I should point out that this method has very limited success - probably one out of 100 drives we examine might work with this method. More importantly if you are going to try and freeze your drive, make sure you put it inside a Ziploc bag - this is vital, no Ziploc back means water droplets inside your drive. Water droplets = trouble!!
4) Not being quick enough! - Quite often you will hook a drive up and manage to access your valuable data and if so that's great.... A word of caution though - if you are lucky enough to access a failing drive go straight to your most valuable data and begin backing up. Time can be critical and don't make the mistake of gaining access to a drive for 20 mins only to find the drive then dies and you haven't yet got to your most important files!
5) Never send your drive away without insurance / adequate packaging - If you are going to send your drive away to a data recovery specialist then make sure that a) you pack the drive securely and with adequate protection and b) you send the drive by insured delivery.
If you have any concerns regarding recovering your data then the best thing to do is consult a data recovery company so that you give yourself the best possible chance for a successful recovery. Good luck!
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