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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Data Recovery & Backups

Documents, pictures, videos, applications -- if it’s on your computer or mobile device, you have data. And if it’s of value to you, you need to back it up!

A close-up of the inside of a mechanical hard drive (HDD)

Hard-drives fail, devices get damaged, files get deleted. Every week, we see a number of devices come into our shop requiring a data recovery, a procedure we routinely attempt to salvage files lost for any of a myriad of reasons. Data loss is largely preventable with adequate precautionary measures, but when those measures fail (or weren’t taken in the first place) we attempt a data recovery.

Unfortunately, data recovery has mixed success rates, even in specialized data recovery facilities, so we always recommend that you backup your important files on an external storage device, remote server, or in Cloud storage. If possible, we also recommend automated backups to ensure that your backups don’t fail when you need them most. Additionally, upgrading your old mechanical hard drive (HDD) to a Solid State Drive (SSD) can significantly lower your risk of data loss.

Inside the platters of an HDD (left) and an SSD (right). The moving parts in the HDD are subject to degradation over time, making the SSD the more reliable option

While upgrading your hardware may seem an expensive undertaking, it’s important to understand that your data has intrinsic value, and that data recovery can be costly. A routine data recovery (usually due to a failing hard drive) costs between $100 and $300, depending on the time required to recover the files -- we have seen some cases take upwards of a week to recover even a fraction of the data on a failed hard drive.

For the average consumer, the cost of even a basic data recovery can be daunting -- and the cost of advanced data recovery measures can be downright cataclysmic. When normal data recovery methods aren’t an option, usually due to physical damage to the internal mechanisms of the hard drive or deleted, overwritten, or severely corrupted data, a clean room recovery is the only remaining option, with costs starting at $300 and ranging upwards into the tens of thousands of dollars. Clean room facilities are the only safe place to open a hard drive’s platter to access the disc inside -- even a dust particle making contact with a hard drive’s disc can result in irreversible data loss. In a recovery facility, data recovery specialists can conduct either a physical recovery by repairing any broken internal mechanisms, or a logical recovery to restore inaccessible data.

The hefty price tag associated with specialized data recovery can be attributed to both the maintenance of the clean room, itself, and the highly skilled technicians who may spend days working on the recovery of a single drive. To a layman, a physical recovery might be comparable to surgery, and a logical recovery may as well be magic. The bottom line is that your data is valuable -- routine backups are imperative if you’re not prepared to pay for recovery.

Thankfully, backing up your data is as simple as copying your important files to an external storage device, a server, or Cloud storage. If you need assistance creating backup folders, or setting up an automated backup, feel free to give us a call. We take pride in making technology work for you, and we’re happy to help!

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