Data recovery costs

by Jason Davies on January 28, 2011

Why does data recovery cost so much?

Data recovery means different things to many people. In some scopes of service, data recovery means: copying data from a working hard drive to another working hard drive with a larger capacity. This means that their is a huge playing field of computer companies capable of data recovery by this definition. Hence, “Everyone can do it; we can’t possibly charge an arm and a leg.”

Perhaps the data recovery is more specifc and we define it as missing data. Missing data would require software to find the missing files and some knowledge on how to discover them. However, many pieces of data recovery software exist to find missing files. The same would go for missing partitions, or obfuscated data. Though by the defination of file recovery the playing field becomes less.

Data recovery by my definition is a wide array of things. My day to day job at TechRx, Inc. involves recovering data from damaged drives. When I say damaged, it means I may have to physically take a hard drive apart inside of a clean room. A clean room consists of filters and testing equipment to make sure that the air is not full of dust that could damage a drive. A simple filter change on this piece of equipment can run into the thousands of dollars. Not to mention, the clean room clothing, gloves, static guards, wipes and various consumables. Just the process of opening a drive up, even without doing anything to the drive can cost a hundred dollars to the recovery company.

What about a clicking hard drive? When a hard drive starts to click, something is obviously very seriously wrong. To make this determination, the local computer shop in the area may tell you, “your drive is bad.” The reality for a data recovery company like TechRx, Inc. is that, “This clicking is a temporary issue telling us something serious has occurred; it will need to be fixed before an attempt to get your data is made.” This statement is true in about 90% of hard drive recovery cases.  Corrupt firmware, system area bad sectors.  Perhaps, a fuse on the printed circuit board (PCB) is bad. This is where specific tools to help diagnose, treat, and cure a hard drive ensure a good outcome.

Data recovery tools, training on how to use them, and the education required to recover data is not cheap. In fact, starting a fully functional data recovery company requires tens of thousands of dollars. If everyone could perform hard drive recovery, there would not be a need for specialists. The costs associated with data recovery are related to time, tools, and experience. Data always has a value, and it is not the goal of a data recovery company to charge you and arm and a leg. The goal is to charge a price that is commensurate with the work done.

The reason why data recovery companies offer free estimates is that, we have to see the drive to make a diagnosis.  The same way a doctor has to see a patient PRIOR to performing an operation to FIX the person. Without FIRST seeing the drive (patient) there is only a good guess based upon experience.  With respect to the profession though, we must provide the right answer, and the right answer requires confirmation. If your data has the unfortunate desire to disappear; TechRx, Inc. can retrieve it. Now you know why data recovery is expensive.



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