Data Recovery Services

Have you lost your files? There’s still hope! Find out how you can recover your files and compare the best data recovery services.

Introduction to Data Recovery Services

Data loss can happen to the best of us. Bugs, power supply failure, software or hardware failures are a tech nightmare for any business owner and can result in partial or total data loss. However, data recovery services can get your files back safe and sound. So don’t panic right away.

When you enlist the help of data recovery experts, they’ll be able to assess the scope of the data loss and take the best next steps to get your files back. Most data can be recovered, so you can be up and running again with your files. Take a look at our essential breakdown of data recovery services and how they work.

stethoscope next to laptop representing data recovery services and repair (2)

What Are Data Recovery Services?

Data recovery services are specialized operations for getting back lost data or files. If your data is corrupted, lost or deleted, a data recovery company may be able to help you get all of your data back. Secure data recovery services can get your files back using different software applications and toolkits for physical repairs.

black and white close up of a hard drive used for data recovery servicesYou can lose data due to human error like accidental deletion, corruption or natural disasters like flooding. Losing important data can be devastating, but it isn’t always gone forever. The first thing to remember when you lose data is to stay calm.

When you need your data back, it can be tempting to try and retrieve it yourself. However, this can actually be a mistake. If you’re not careful, you could accidentally overwrite your files or make them completely inaccessible. Overwritten files can’t be recovered in most cases, so beware.

data recovery services technician repairing an iphoneThere are different ways to recover your data depending on what you’ve lost. Some online software can help you with recovering files on your personal computer. Data retrieval is for more than just computers, though. Data recovery can include:

  • Hard drive data recovery services and repair
  • iPhone data recovery services
  • Server/array data recovery and repair
  • Apple/Mac data recovery services and repair

Larger, more complicated jobs may require specialty data recovery services. In that case, it’s best to call in the experts. Data recovery specialists have both the resources and experience to identify the source of your data loss and repair it.

How Does Data Recovery Work?

Data recovery can be complicated depending on the kind of data loss you’ve experienced. If you’ve lost sensitive data, like customer information, it’s best to call in a professional. The data recovery specialist can usually get a lot of data back, but there may be some files that are unrecoverable if your hard drive is heavily damaged.

Data recovery can be a bit like gluing a broken vase back together: the pieces might not all fit together the same way anymore, but you’ll likely get the bulk of it recovered. The best way to prevent data loss is to protect your files and back them up regularly.

Data recovery can be broken down into three general steps.

The Three Steps of Data Recovery

close up of the exposed back of a Macbook Pro

Step 1: Repair

First, a data retrieval specialist will determine the extent of the damage. Then, they’ll repair any physical damage with a toolkit. Data recovery specialists can work on phones, tablets, computers, hard disks and even servers.

Sometimes, delicate repairs require special considerations. Specialized facilities like cleanrooms will ventilate dust, airborne organisms and particles to protect the hardware as it’s repaired. Physical repairs are only one part of the process, however. Once everything is fixed, the software can be repaired and the files can be retrieved.

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Step 2: Retrieval

Once the physical damage is repaired, the specialist can move onto examining the software. In most cases, data can be recovered with retrieval software. There are different reasons why software damage can happen, but after repairing it, the data can be accessed again. Data recovery specialists and technicians will normally use software to scan the hard drive and find your files.

Corrupted data may need to be reassembled and files deleted accidentally will need to be restored. However, it’s important to note that overwritten data is considered unrecoverable unless it’s on a solid-state drive (SSD). While it’s not guaranteed your data is recoverable, data recovery services may be able to help retrieve files in the event of data loss.

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Step 3: Transfer

After your files are accessible again, they’ll be copied to a new disk. A data recovery specialist can do this in a number of ways, usually cloning the disk to keep the original settings intact.

This new drive or disk will have all of your recovered files on them as the technician was able to retrieve them. For extra safety and security, the best data recovery companies will wipe every trace of your data from their systems and computers.

The 4 Most Important Steps to Take After Data Loss

Have you lost your files? Download our free guide to get your checklist on what to do in the event of data loss.

When You Need Data Recovery Services

You usually need data recovery services in the event of data loss. This can be a result of human error, malware or a data breach. Data loss can be a lurking fear for business owners, which makes it all the more important to prevent it. However, it can still happen to anyone at any time.

Whether you drop your phone in water or crash your computer, there’s still a chance your data can be recovered. The data recovery itself will depend on the kind of damage your device has suffered from. There are two major types of damage in the world of data loss:

  • Physical damage
  • Logical damage

Sometimes, minor logical damage can be fixed using data recovery software. But if you experience physical damage, it can be more complicated to get the data back. Both types of damage are serious and will dictate the steps a data recovery expert takes in order to get your files back.

Hardware: Physical Damage

Physical damage can occur when you drop a hard disk, damage a CD or if you’re the victim of a natural disaster. It can also happen as a result of a faulty motherboard, or a “head crash,” when the read/write heads of a hard drive collide with the rotating platter beneath them. The actual hardware itself is damaged, so repairing it is the best strategy for getting your files back.

Computer with a broken screen needing data recovery services to be repairedRepairing physical damage can be a delicate process, so it’s best to let an expert handle it. After all, you don’t want to risk further damage to your hardware by repairing it yourself. Once the actual repairs are completed, data recovery services can determine if there’s more damage they need to assess.

Software: Logical Damage

frustrated user with a failing laptopSometimes, data loss can be the result of a failure in your device. Your computer might start, but you can’t access any of your files. This kind of issue isn’t always the result of physically damaging your device. This is an issue present in the software of your computer.

Software damage is called “logical damage” and can have many different causes, including power outages. The most common type of logical damage is a logical hard drive fault. Logical damage can cause data to become:

  • Corrupted
  • Lost
  • Deleted
  • Overwritten
  • Inaccessible

If you try to recover the data yourself and need to repair logical damage, you’ll need to use data recovery software. Keep in mind that overwriting data is intended to permanently delete it, so overwritten data is unrecoverable by design. In most other cases, data can be retrieved and files can be restored.

Preventing Data Loss

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Being prepared in case of an emergency is essential. With natural disasters like hurricanes or floods, preparation (or lack thereof) can mean the difference between safety and harm. The same goes for your data and files.

The best way to prevent data loss is to back up all of your files and routinely update the backup. There are two ways to do this: locally on a hard drive, or remotely on a cloud-based server. If you’re backing up your business’s data, like a customer database, you should make sure you’ve backed up all the information you’d need to carry on day-to-day operations.

A local backup involves using an external hard drive to copy all of your files. This option can be a convenient solution, but if you lose or damage the external hard disk, it defeats the purpose of backing up your files in the first place because you need the physical drive to access them.

Remote backups, on the other hand, put your data in a safe, remote place. You can access your data or files any time over the cloud, and you can even back up entire servers if necessary. With a remote backup, you can access your data from any device, no matter where you are, as long as you can access the service’s website or platform.

One important thing to note is that a remote backup isn’t the same as services like Dropbox. While Dropbox is a cloud storage application, it’s best suited for storing files, documents and other media. A remote backup service can back up your entire system and its settings and many offer a terabyte or more for your backups.

No matter how you back up your data, always remember the 3-2-1 Method:

  • Three: Different copies or versions of your data need to be backed up.
  • Two: Types of media should be in use for any backups and not of the same type.
  • One: Off-site backup has to be in play, so your data is in a separate location than what you’re backing up.

This method ensures there are multiple copies of your data in existence, should the worst happen and you need your data back right away. Having multiple different copies of your data in existence will help protect your files. Always be prepared and back up your files. You’ll be glad you did in the long run!

What Is the Best Data Recovery Service: Our Take

Before you pull out your toolbox and try fixing your device yourself, it’s best to take a second and see what your options are for getting your data back. There are a lot of different options out there for recovering your data, from free software to specialty data recovery services.

As mentioned previously, it’s best to keep calm and seek outside help for data retrieval. This is especially true in the case of physically damaged hard drives. Data recovery software can even help with unique problems that call for unique solutions, such as retrieving contacts, messages, photos and videos from your phone.

Not every tool may be able to help, depending on the scope of the data loss. Here are some of the options available if you need to recover your data quickly.

Data Recovery Software

Our Verdict: Great for Personal Use, Not for Businesses

Software options do exist for DIY data retrieval and data recovery, but not all of them are free. If you’ve lost personal files on your computer or your phone, these software options are great for getting your data back.

If you backed up your files on your computer, you can always check if your Windows or Mac device can restore the files themselves. If not, here are three options we recommend:

The Best Data Recovery Software

Recuva by CCleaner

Recuva by CCleaner is a free data recovery software for Windows computers and other devices. It can recover files like photos, videos, pictures, music and documents. It even has an advanced mode to dig through files for buried data, and if you need to, you can also securely delete files.

Pros:
  • Free
  • Works with removable media like USB sticks, flash drives and external hard drives
Cons:
  • Paid upgrade required for virtual hard drive support

Prosoft

Prosoft is a data retrieval program for Mac and PCs that also lets you create backups for your files. Beyond just your computer, you can recover files from USBs and SD cards. You can demo the software for free or purchase a standard or professional license.

Pros:
  • Works with both internal and external hard drives, USBs and SD cards
  • Comes with Mac- and PC-compatible versions
Cons:
  • Free demo only
  • Drive Genius monitoring currently only available for Macs

Stellar

Stellar is a data recovery tool specifically designed for iPhones and iPads. You can recover text messages, videos, photos, contacts and more. Stellar is available both for individual use and for businesses, depending on your needs.

Pros:
  • Free download with premium option
  • Compatible with many iPhone models
Cons:
  • Free version only allows for one gigabyte of recovered data

Beware that the more complicated data retrieval operations may require the help of a professional. This is especially true if you’re trying to recover your business’s data. Some data, especially overwritten data, can’t be recovered. If you’re ever unsure if your data can be recovered or not, call an expert and get their input. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

GeekSquad

Our Verdict: Ideal for Quick Fixes

GeekSquad is a service from Best Buy that offers assistance for troubleshooting and everyday technical support. They install and set up devices and teach you to use them. If you’ve lost personal files like photos or videos, GeekSquad can help.

You’ll have to make an appointment and bring your device if you want assistance, so it may not be ideal in an emergency or if you want your files back right away. It’s also important to note that GeekSquad is usually for personal tech support and troubleshooting, so business owners may need to look elsewhere for a solution.

Pros:
  • Available nationwide
  • Phone support
Cons:
  • Appointments required for all technical issues
  • Pricing varies

Specialized Data Recovery Companies

Our Verdict: Good for Businesses and Complicated Jobs

If you’re a business owner and your entire database has gone missing, you’ll want to enlist a specialized data recovery service. These data retrieval companies can inspect your damaged hardware and use specialized tools and facilities to repair and recover your files.

Some data recovery jobs may require specialized equipment or facilities to complete, which makes it difficult to recover the data yourself. If you’re looking for a seasoned expert to recover data from multiple machines, a professional data recovery company will have the tools and experience you need.

Pros:
  • Specialized experience for difficult recovery jobs
  • Personalized customer support
Cons:
  • May not be ideal for personal data recovery

If you need the help of professional data recovery and data retrieval services, your best strategy is to do your research. If you know exactly what kind of damage your device has suffered from, you can narrow down your choices. In some cases, data recovery software is all you need to get your data back.

Data recovery costs can vary between situations and the number of devices, especially when it comes to software. However, a professional data recovery specialist is the most experienced to get your sensitive information and files back safe and sound. No matter what you choose, it’s likely your data isn’t gone forever.

Frequently Asked Questions

Data retrieval services can be complicated or straightforward—it all just depends on your situation and the kind of data loss you’ve experienced. Whether it’s your phone, computer or your entire server, it helps to be prepared and have a clear picture of what you need for recovering your data. Knowing what to expect will help you choose the right data recovery solution or service.

How much does data recovery cost?

The cost of data recovery services can vary depending on the scope of the retrieval job. Many businesses have a policy not to charge you if nothing is recoverable.

Can I recover data myself?

We don’t recommend it. DIY data retrieval can result in mistakes and making your data unrecoverable.

What devices can data recovery services work on?

Data can be retrieved from phones, computers, tablets and even servers.

My hard drive is physically broken. Can my data still be recovered?

Yes! You’ll just need to have the physical hard drive for a specialist to work on.

Does Geek Squad do data recovery? What about other retailers?

GeekSquad does offer data recovery as part of its program with Best Buy.

Is data recovery software always free?

Not always. Some services offer free software, while some may only offer a free trial.

What if I need phone data recovery services?

Phones can still be serviced for data retrieval. There are even special platforms available for retrieving iPhone data.

Can hard drive data be recovered?

Yes, it usually can. Whether it’s physical or logical damage, a specialist will be able to evaluate the best course of action.

My entire server crashed. Can it be recovered?

Data recovery can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We recommend you work with a data retrieval company for a job of that size.

What to Know About Data Recovery Services

Now that you know the ins and outs of secure data recovery services, how do you choose a data retrieval company? Should you work with a specialist at all? What do you need to ask before you sign up with a data recovery company?

You’ll want to work with an experienced data recovery services company to get you back up and running as soon as possible. You’ll also want to make sure the company can protect your data while they have your hard drive.

Get a quick and easy run-through of what you need to know before you sign up for data recovery services.

How Much Does Professional Data Recovery Cost?

Data recovery services technician repairing a broken motherboardThe cost of data recovery services will depend on the project. It can depend on how much data you lost, the situation and the time it could take to repair hardware if necessary. This means your costs could run from hundreds of dollars to thousands.

For instance, a sensitive repair job could require a cleanroom and the work of an entire team if its scope is large enough. Take this into account when looking for the right data recovery company. Many data recovery companies have a “no-data, no-charge” policy. That means that if no data can be recovered from the media or device, then you won’t be charged. Many technicians can recover a large amount of your data. It all depends on how damaged your hard drive or device happens to be.

How Long Does Data Retrieval Services Take?

If you’re just using data recovery software to retrieve your files, it could take hours. The software will need to dig through your hard drive and scan it in order to locate the files and then copy them so you can access them.

Some data recovery jobs could involve specialized facilities and multiple people to complete, especially if a lot of data was lost. Data recovery, if it’s especially complicated, could take days or weeks to make all of your lost data accessible again.

While waiting for your data might be anxiety-inducing, it’s important to remember there are many components and steps to retrieving data. As mentioned previously, physical damage can require special tools and facilities.

Why Shouldn’t I Try to Recover the Data Myself?

DIYing data recovery can be risky. If you’ve lost your data to logical damage, there’s a chance you might permanently lose your data if you jump right into data recovery. If you’ve dropped your hard drive and suffered physical damage of some kind, you risk further damage from trying to repair it yourself. Air particles, dust and human error can all complicate repairing physical damage, which is why many professional data recovery companies use cleanrooms for data retrieval.

You don’t want to risk your data, especially if it’s for business use. Customer information, financial records and other information protected by regulations and privacy rules should be treated with the utmost care for retrieval. With that in mind, a secure data recovery specialist is your best choice for sensitive data retrieval.

Can the Data Recovery Services Company Work on My Company’s Server?

Servers are essentially giant hard disks. In the event of a failure or data loss, they can still be repaired and the files can still be recovered. If you have a bigger data recovery job, and your entire crashed server, data retrieval services can still help.

IT specialist working on a company's serverEven if it’s a bigger job, technicians can still take the hard drives from the server and recover the data. For servers, the data recovery company will remove the hard drives, repair them as necessary and reconstruct the server. Some companies will even work at your business location and work on-site for the recovery process.

Is My Data Safe?

The best and most reputable data retrieval companies will be certified to protect their clients’ or customers’ data. These certifications require compliance with very stringent regulations in regard to privacy, security and safe handling of data. This can apply to financial data and records and other sensitive information. Once a company is certified once, they need to be recertified every year.

Besides certifications, a good data recovery services company will take proper precautions with your data. Data breaches from malware, phishing and ransomware are huge security concerns for any company, but with data recovery, it’s especially important. Once your data is recovered, the company or technician should clone the drive and securely delete all of your data from their system.

What Are the Other Benefits of Using a Data Retrieval Company?

When you opt to work with a data recovery services company, you’re working with seasoned professionals whose area of expertise is data recovery. Generalist IT services that certain big-box retailers offer may only work on simplified areas of technical troubleshooting. Since data recovery can be complicated, working with a specialist is a good strategy.

Beyond their expertise, a data recovery specialist can also walk you through what happened to your data and work with you directly to prevent future data loss. Oftentimes a data retrieval company will copy your files to a new drive or piece of outside media so you can physically access your files again. Having that extra care and guidance can resolve a lot of frequently asked questions and issues.

Conclusion

Data loss can happen to anyone, but it’s not cause for panic. Looking for outside help is the best way to ensure you can recover your data. Trying to DIY data recovery isn’t recommended, especially if you aren’t a computer whiz. You could accidentally overwrite data or make it completely unrecoverable.

Data recovery services themselves encompass more than just software. In all, it’s the process of retrieving as many of your files as possible. That can involve physical repair as well as repair to the software to fix logical errors. Bear in mind that while most data can be recovered, there are always exceptions.

Expert data retrieval companies have the resources at their disposal to get your files and sensitive data back safe and sound. So keep calm and don’t be afraid to call in the experts. They’ll have what you need and get your data back in no time.

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