Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hard Drive Data Recovery

Most hard drives, subject to normal conditions and use, will fail. In a lot of cases, it may take up to 10 years. But in some cases, it can be less than a year. Whatever the case may be, when your hard drive fails, whether it is on your PC, server or laptop, it is important to understand that professional hard drive data recovery is available.

Hard disk drives are very complex devices. They consist of a number of moving parts and a circuit board to hold them together. If we speak about hard disk data recovery, the first thing that you must evaluate is whether it is a hardware problem that is preventing you from accessing your data files on the hard drive. Many hardware problems include a faulty circuit board or problems with the moving parts like the actuator arm.

A faulty circuit board is characterized by a drive that does not 'spin up', meaning that platters are not turning underneath the copper wire. A faulty actuator arm or some more serious mechanical errors are characterized by a strange clicking noise or a grinding noise. The best advice in determining whether you have a hardware problem is to listen to the sound of your hard drive. If you cannot hear the platters spinning (i.e. it is quiet when it is turned on) or you hear more serious noises then you should try to make a backup of your data and stop using the drive immediately.

The faster computers and servers get, the smaller they get (such as laptop or notebook computers) and the more advanced hard disk drives get, the more susceptible they are to physical damage and hard drive failure. This is because of the heat these devices generate, which often may result in the need for hard drive data recovery, hard disk repair or professional level services such as exchange data recovery.

If you think you may need hard drive data recovery, consult this checklist:

1. Have you lost a few files, or is your computer not booting properly?
2. Has your hard drive made any buzzing or clicking noises?
3. When booting, does your computer see your hard drive, or instead provide you with a message like: I/O error?
4. What were you doing when you first encountered the data or hard drive loss?
5. Did you experience what many in the PC industry call "the blue screen of death"? If you had, what was the error message?

Once you have the answers to these five simple questions, you are ready to determine whether or not you need hard disk recovery software-based, or hardware data recovery. The last can be very expensive because technicians often need to first disassemble your hard drive to fix the problem. But you should always try first to run some diagnostic tools which can help you to determinate how serious the problem might be. Physical hard drive data recovery is usually done in a special 'clean room' without dust (picture below) because hard drives are specially sealed to avoid errors caused by dust or other particles. Also hard drives are very finely tuned devices and it takes special equipment to read the platters from a physically damaged hard drive.

If you are sending your hard drive to a data recovery specialist then you should attempt to obtain an upfront estimate of fees (although you will rarely get one), ask that if you send your hard drive for quotation purposes will they send it back to you in the same condition if you choose not to use the service, and make sure you send it to a reputable company as you may only get one chance at hard drive data recovery.

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