The $300 Data Recovery Process
2) Inventory hard drive.
Once the drive is in our possession, we'll note and verify the hard drive's serial number, add client contact and hard drive information into our ticketing system and data recovery database, label all dropped off accessories with client name and contact info, and (for mail-in drives) we'll call you to go over our rate and policies (we don't start working on your drive until we've talked to you).
3) Diagnostic analysis.
Determine the underlying problem with the hard drive. This involves removing a hard drive from its enclosure, visually inspecting the hard drive and PCB (the circuit board on the bottom of all hard drives), connecting and testing the hard drive using our hardware data recovery tools, along with listening to the sounds the hard drive makes. This will likely also involve testing various components of the hard drive, testing the PCB, testing the hard drive's heads, and reading/saving/checking the hard drive's firmware. *If we determine the hard drive can only be safely recovered in a clean room, we will stop our process immediately and notify the client.
4) Revive hard drive.
Depending on the problem, various steps may be required to revive the hard drive so it's accessible on a sector-level by our data recovery hardware tools. This may include locating donor parts, repairing firmware modules, and replacing bad components on the PCB. *We may use donor parts to revive your hard drive and recover your data, but the bad drive will be returned to you in the same condition as it arrived.
Various steps are taken to minimize risk and ensure a successful recovery. Often this includes mapping the heads of the hard drive, disabling advanced (and often problematic) features of the hard drive's firmware, and controlling the environment of the hard drive.
6) Clone hard drive.
The most important step is cloning as much data as possible from the bad hard drive to one of our good hard drives. This process may take several hours, days, or even weeks (worst case scenario) depending on the problem and size of the hard drive. To complete this process, we use specialized hard drive cloning hardware-software tools.
7) Logically inspect hard drive.
Diagnose the hard drive on a logical level. At this point, the hard drive should be accessible using software tools on one of our data recovery computers. The file structure of the hard drive will be inspected to determine the damage (if any). If damage is present, we may do several partition scans using various software recovery tools to ensure all data is found.
8) Scan/extract data.
Hard drive's file system (folders and files) is thoroughly scanned using various software data recovery tools and data is extracted to the client's external hard drive. Sometimes three or more software tools are required to successfully recover all the client's data.
9) Verify priority files and file integrity.
The most important files (listed on the mail-in form, or noted when dropped off) are verified to ensure they are working properly. Other files across the hard drive may be tested and structure of the file system is verified.
10) Virus scan.
The external hard drive is virus scanned and any found viruses are repaired or removed.
11) Notify client.
Client is notified of the data recovery outcome and the hard drives are available for pickup, or hard drives are mailed back to the client. If the data can't be recovered, there is no charge besides shipping back (really!).