Frequently Asked Questions





How much will it cost?

We have pre-determined flat fees — $300, $400, and $500. You can use our Instant Rate Calculator to find out the total charge for your recovery, before dropping off or mailing in your device. Or, you can submit a Chances Form and we’ll include a quote with your chances for a successful recovery. 

How do I know my hard drive and recovered data will be safe?

See “Your Data’s Safety” page.

What problems / hard drive failures can we solve?

If you’d like a detailed assessment of your chances for a successful recovery with us (along with a price quote), please fill out our Chances Form. Also, see the “Our Abilities” page.

What is your website’s Privacy Policy?

 See the “Privacy Policy” page. 

What is the cost to recover a Western Digital My Passport?

Here’s how our rate works (for a My Passport drive; excluding “Element” models which do not have Smartware encryption):

– If we recover 99-100% of your data, you’ll pay our $500 fee. Note — this total includes our $100 “USB PCB” fee (because the USB port is soldered onto the PCB) and our $100 “Encryption” fee (because your drive contains WD’s “Smartware” encryption).

– If we recover less than 99% of your data, you have the option to pay our $500 fee, or pay a $100 labor fee and decline the recovery.

– If we can’t recover any data, there is no charge (assuming the cover of your drive wasn’t opened, as this incurs a $50 up-front non-refundable fee).

Prices do not include a “transfer” drive (which you can supply, or purchase from us, starting at $65 for a 500GB USB 3 Portable External drive) or shipping ($15 anywhere in the US for most drives), if applicable. Also, if “donor” heads are required, the part may cost $100-$200.

What is your typical turn around time?

Our average turn around time is 5-10 days for standard service. If you need your data back as fast as possible, consider our Priority Service (usually 1-2 days; excluding shipping time for donor parts, if required).

Do you outsource recoveries to another company?

No, we perform all repairs in-house. However, if we cannot recover your data, we may refer you to another company for a second opinion (just like you’d do for a serious medical issue).

When do I pay?

Besides the four exceptions noted below, you will pay nothing until we recover your data and you approve the file listing we send you. 

Note: if producing a “file listing” is not possible due to partition corruption or platter damage/bad heads, you will pay after approving the percentage of sectors we were able to recover.

  1. Cover Opened Fee
    If the hard drive’s “COVER” (not “enclosure”) has been opened, there is a $50 up-front, non-refundable fee.

  2. Priority (“Rush”) Service
    Our Priority Service requires a $50 up-front, non-refundable fee.

  3. Deleted Files / Format Recovery
    For “deleted files recovery” and “format recovery” hard drives, we charge our full fee up-front. This fee is not refundable (unless no files are recovered).

  4. Donor parts
    In some cases, we may need to replace damaged parts inside your device (i.e., “heads”). If so, we’ll tell you the cost of the donor parts we need to purchase (and send a link to the exact part we need) and you can decide if it’s worth the cost. You’ll pay the actual price of the donor drive as listed on eBay or (the two main sources we buy from). Payment for a “donor drive” is due BEFORE we order it and this cost is non-refundable. You can get an estimate on the cost of a donor drive for your model by submitting our Chances Form.

    Note: we do not charge an “attempt fee” for performing a “head swap” or “platter swap.”

Can I pay in installments? Do you offer payment plans?

Square Installments

What type of payments do you accept?

For payment, we only accept cash, credit card (including American Express), and most cryptocurrencies. 

What is the difference between a Donor Drive and Transfer Drive?

A donor drive is necessary in cases where the heads have failed, the motor is bad, or spindle is stuck/bent. In such cases, we replace parts in the bad drive with “good” donor parts (or, we move parts from the bad drive into the donor drive).

Donor Drive” is a data recovery term for a fully working hard drive with as many matching characteristics as possible to the “bad” drive. The most compatible donor drive is one that matches all specs from the bad drive. Besides the information visible on the hard drive’s label, there are several other variables which can only be accessed using our data recovery tools, such as the number of heads in the drive, order of heads in drive, version of the head-stack preamplifier, head micro jog values, etc.

Transfer Drive” is our term for the drive we move the recovered data onto. Learn more about Transfer Drives on our rates page.

What are the rules/requirements for providing my own Transfer Drive (drive to move recovered data onto)?

1) Send us an empty drive. Your Transfer Drive will be formatted (all your data will be permanently deleted) before we start moving the recovered data.

2) If your Transfer Drive is too small or defective (i.e. contains bad sectors, un-mounts itself while moving data, etc), we will move your data to the smallest drive we have for sale.

3) The drive must be an external hard drive (with USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt) or a bare SATA drive.

4) Your Transfer Drive cannot be a NAS drive (with an ethernet connection) or a USB flash drive (unless the bad drive is also flash).

5) The drive must arrive in the same box as the bad drive (you cannot send in a Transfer Drive after we receive your bad drive). If you fail to include a Transfer Drive with your bad drive, we will move your data to the smallest drive we have for sale.

6) The drive should be equal or greater size than bad drive (you could send a smaller drive, but if it’s not big enough to store all your data, we will move your data to the smallest drive we have for sale).

Is there an extra fee if the cover of my drive has been opened?

Yes, there is a $50 non-refundable up-front payment required.

This fee is due to the increased diagnosis/repair time required after the cover has been opened. Opening the cover can create several other problems, separate from the original problem, which makes repairing the drive more difficult and time-consuming.

If your recovery is successful, the $50 is put towards the recovery fee.

Note: the “cover” is not the same as the “enclosure.” If you have an external hard drive, and just removed the plastic enclosure, there is no extra fee. See example “open cover” photos here:

How do I find out the model number of my hard drive?

To find out the model of your hard drive, you need to look at the label on the bare hard drive. Use the example model numbers and pictured on our “Find Your Model” page to help find your hard drive’s model number. If you have an external drive, you’ll need to remove the enclosure. You can find video instructions on our “Remove Your Enclosure” page.

Do I have to pay the “Over 2TB” fee even if the total amount of data on the drive is less than 2TB?

Yes. We still charge this fee because the time associated with recovering large drives is often independent of the amount of space being used. For example, we often need to clone the entire drive before actually recovering any files.

Will my bad drive be returned?

We always return the bad drive, unless we perform a “head swap,” and it’s successful. But, even in this case, you can opt to have us put back the original heads and return the original drive for an additional $50 fee.

Why do you keep the donor drive (after performing a “head swap” or “platter swap”)?

There are several reasons why we need to retain these drives after the recovery is finished:

1) The time spent re-assembling the “bad” drive and the “donor” drive means double the work for us. This extra time makes the recovery unfeasible to perform at our low rate.

2) We can only perform head swaps knowing that we can reuse the donor parts in future recoveries, keeping our costs down and low flat rates possible. In order to help preserve the donor parts, so we can reuse them in future recoveries, we don’t want to risk moving them any more than is necessary. Moving the heads back into the donor drive means the heads are more likely to become damaged (as any time they are moved they are at risk).

3) Any time the cover is removed (and especially, the “heads” or “platters” replaced), the drive is no longer reliable and will not work properly. It is only useful again as parts for data recovery purposes (it has no real-world value).

 More questions?

Live chat or call (323-230-0622) from M-F 10 AM-7 PM (PST); or send us an  any time.

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