Data loss may be caused by either physical or logical problems with the disk(s) in your system or hardware issues with the system itself. It is important to understand that for the best data recovery outcome further damage must be prevented before any recovery attempts are made. These FAQ’s may help you to understand what the problem may be and what should or should not be done to ensure that the situation isn’t worsened.
My hard disk is clicking, can my data be recovered?
If your hard disk is clicking, turn it off immediately and consider your data recovery options. In most cases a clicking disk indicates issues with the read/write heads and further damage, possibly to the point of making data unrecoverable may occur with further ‘use’. If the data is important, we recommend that you contact a Professional Data Recovery Company to ensure that the best possible recovery outcome is achieved.
My hard disk is beeping, can my data be recovered?
If your hard disk is beeping, turn it off immediately and consider your data recovery options. In most cases a beeping disk indicates that the read/write heads have stuck to the platters which then prevents the platters from spinning. If the data is important, we recommend that you contact a Professional Data Recovery Company to ensure that the best possible recovery outcome is achieved.
My NAS Device isn't working, what about my data?
NAS Devices fail for numerous reasons, from multiple RAID member disks failing to issues with the NAS hardware or software. It is imperative to understand the cause of the failure so that the correct approach to data recovery can be taken. Our approach is to first check the status/condition of each disk from the NAS using hardware write blocking to ensure that the disk structure or the data isn’t changed in the process.
The majority of NAS devices use either RAID1 or RAID5. With RAID1 if one disk fails the data will be available from the second disk. If both disks fail, the disk that failed last (thus containing the most recent data) will need to be assessed for recovery options.
For RAID5, if one disk fails the data is recoverable from the remaining member disks (RAID5 allows for n-1) if 2 or more disks have issues it is necessary to take steps to recover as many disks as necessary to achieve n-1.
Once this is achieved, the RAID is rebuilt from disk images using software and the data is then recovered from this ‘Virtual RAID’.
NAS Hardware/Software issues may result in a straightforward recovery by rebuilding the RAID in software, however it is possible that the issues may have have damaged the data on the disks.
Can you recover data from SSD's?
As SSD’s are becoming more prevalent in both business and consumer systems, we are seeing an increasing number for data recovery. While solid state disks may indeed be more tolerant to some of the physical issues faced by mechanical spinning (head crashes for example), the do succumb to their own weaknesses. Aside from human error (such as formatting or deleting data) the most common issue is when the SSD simply fails to respond and appears to be ‘dead’.
Just as with traditional hard disk drives, recoverability cannot be guaranteed nor can it be accurately predicted without some background and evaluating the SSD. Some makes and models encode the data as it is written to the storage area effectively encrypting the data to such a degree that is the controller has failed the data becomes unrecoverable in any meaningful way.
However, if the data is recoverable, we will recover it and of course we offer a free evaluation service to establish recoverability and likely costs. As with all data recovery situations, we strongly recommend that any DIY attempts are not undertaken if the data is valuable.
Can you recover data from Soldering in MacBook SSD's?
Apples’ decision to solder the SSD components directly to the Logic Board has certainly complicated data recovery procedures, especially so in the latest machines the utilise hardware encryption.
Some of the soldered in SSD models (MacBook Pro 13 inch 2016 A1706, MacBook Pro 15 inch 2016 A1707, MacBook Pro 15 inch 2017 A1707) have a “Lifeboat” connector on the Logic Board. Using a special piece of hardware from Apple we are able to connect to the Logic Board and recover the data.
Later models do not have this connector and it is necessary to repair the logic board to a point that will allow it to boot into Target Mode enabling the data to be transferred to an external device.
Do you recover data from Flash Drives, SD Cards, Compact Flash etc?
Yes – we can carry out physical repairs (usually damages USB connectors or snapped circuit boards) and/or logical data recovery from these devices including ‘Chip Off’ recovery where the raw data is read from the NAND Flash Chips and reconstructed into meaningful data.
Can I recover the data myself with software?
The short answer is probably. The long answer is that it really does depend on the circumstances that you are facing. The main issue with DIY attempt is that further damage can take place which may lead to the recovery becoming more expensive or not possible at all.
In addition, there are risks with some of the free software available for download, some of which does not come from legitimate sources and may be infected with virus’s or ransomware.
If the data is important we strongly recommend that the system is switched off immediately and professional advice is sought.
My data is highly sensitive/confidential are your services secure?
Yes. Take a look at our other services which include Archive Storage, Document Scanning Services, Confidential Waste Shredding etc. Most of our customers for these services are financial, legal and social organisations. We are dealing with highly confidential, sensitive personal information and company confidential information every day and as such confidentiality is at the core of everything that we do.
What is the evaluation process and how long does it take?
Once we receive your device(s) a technician is appointed to the case who then reviews the device(s) and the information provided concerning what happened leading up to the data loss. The appropriate hardware and software tools are then selected to establish the root cause, recoverability and costs. This information is then reported back to you along with a quotation for the recovery.
From the point of receipt of your device(s) standard turnaround for free evaluation is 2 business days, we also offer an express evaluation service where we will endeavour to get a quote back to you within 3 hours of receipt. Finally, we offer out of hours emergency services for mission critical data recovery events.
How long will the actual data recovery take?
Put simply this will depend upon a number of factors, such as the cause of the data recovery event, the complexity of the recovery and the capacity of the device data is being recovered from. It could take as little as 1 hour for a 16GB USB Flash Drive with a damaged USB connector to a couple of weeks for a large RAID Array.
For most recoveries we stock parts and donor devices, however should parts have to be ordered in this can slow the process, especially hard to come by parts sourced from abroad.
You can rest assured that we will work as quickly as practical to recover your data safely.
You offer No Data, No Fee. Is this always the case?
For most cases yes we can offer a no data, no fee service and you will never be faced with a charge that wasn’t explained and authorised by you in advance. If the data isn’t recoverable or you choose not to proceed having received the quotation we charge a return P&P fee (for small devices such as Hard Drives this is £10.80+VAT for Royal Mail Special Delivery, for larger devices it will depend on size, weight and service used), other than this there is no charge.
Should your case require extra resources for evaluation or recovery, or require parts be ordered in on a one off basis, it may be necessary to charge you for this. We will however make you aware of this before any charges become payable and of course you are free to decline and have your device returned for the P&P charge.
If your device is a traditional hard disk and the disk has been opened (by anyone other than a recognised data recovery company) a £100.00+VAT open drive fee may apply to cover decontamination and time spent working on the device as the chances of a full recovery are significantly reduced.
Do you outsource any data recovery work?
Our priority is in ensuring that you get your data back. Therefore, we won’t take any risks with your device that could result in reducing the likelihood of recovery. In some cases we will know of another specialist who has an increased chance of recovering your data. In these instances we will discuss the case with them and obtain a quote for the recovery and pass this on to you for a decision.
Some Data Recovery companies boast that they never outsource work – we’d rather outsource than deem the data unrecoverable, saving you time and expense obtaining second opinions by going direct to the expert that we have an existing relationship with.
Will you take on jobs that have been to other recovery companies first?
A large proportion of our work comes to us after it has been elsewhere previously. This is usually because it has been deemed unrecoverable or because the cost is too high. We welcome this work, however there are some situations that lead to extra charges or where the no data, no fee does not apply, namely:
- Where traditional, spinning hard disks have had their case opened;
- Were previous recovery attempts have worsened the original issue and we have to put this right first.
What should I send in for evaluation?
For common products such as hard disks, USB drives, phones and tablets, please send only the device. DO NOT send any cases, cables or accessories as we can’t guarantee that these will be returned.
For less common devices such as RAID systems, NAS and SAN storage it is best to contact us first as it may assist the recovery technician to have the whole system available when performing the recovery.
My Data/Device is encrypted, can you still recover the data?
If you have the encryption key/passcode then there is a good chance that we can recover the data, without the key or passcode then we are unlikely to be able to help except in rare circumstances where the encryption technology used has been found to have a weakness.
We carry out decryption work for all industries and specialise in assisting forensic technicians who need to access data on failed/damaged devices that are encrypted.
Can you provide a file list before I have to pay for data recovery?
Where the recovery is not 100% then we are happy to provide you with a file list. It is worth noting though that this can slow the recovery process down so it may be advisable for you to tell us which files are critical and we can confirm whether they are included in the recoverable data, either way we are happy to confirm what can be recovered.
Why don't you offer fixed fee data recovery?
We believe in fair pricing, we are not the cheapest nor are we the most expensive. There are some companies advertising very low, fixed fee recoveries. These have two major drawbacks:
- There are often hidden fees and charges which are only brought to your attention once you have already parted with some money making it difficult to change your mind;
- Fixed prices – if a company is offering recovery for a fixed fee of £150, how much effort are they likely to put into the recovery before deeming the data unrecoverable? The chances are that it won’t be a great deal, these companies are working on the basis of recovering the simple jobs for the fixed fees and returning the the more complex cases as unrecoverable, wasting the customers precious time and money in the process, potentially even reducing the possibility of recovery by another company in the process.
We try our best to be fair and transparent with our pricing, if you need any more information, please contact us.