It even happened to me, just two years ago. I went to grab some files off of my external HD, and got an error message. I thought it might have been just the external case, however it was actually a physical hardware problem. My wife still won’t talk about it, but we lost all of our pictures pre 2007. The only copies of the pictures of our wedding. The pictures of our “dating” etc.
As we go increasingly digital, you have to take even further precautions to take care of all of your data. Our music collections, our digital pictures, and documents of all sorts are all saved electronically, and every effort should be made to keep backups of your data. Barring that however, there are other alternatives.
There are basically two types of data recovery services that you can get.
The first is Tier 1 data recovery, that’s when the drives aren’t actually physically damaged. The drives still work physically but you’re having problems getting you data off. Even recovery after an accidental format is still possible. Tier 1 is the type of data recovery you hope you have to use, as it’s much, much cheaper. Typically Tier 1 data recovery is available through many different sources and usually runs around $ 200-1,000.
Tier 2 data recovery is a different ballgame altogether, and is usually only necessary when you have physical damage to the drive. These services entail the use of specialized “safe rooms”, that are specifically designed for the reconstruction of your hard drives platter by platter. This is a pretty exhaustive way to get your data back. However the costs can be astronomical. They can be in the $ 3,000 – $ 20,000 range.
I would say that 80% of data recovery calls we get fall into the Tier 1 range. So, make sure you know what type of service you need so that you don’t end up getting charged too much money for work you really don’t need. Most Tier 1 services will charge you a $ 100 or less for a diagnostic fee to make sure that they are able to get the data off, which is much cheaper than springing for a complete $ 10,000 data recovery that you don’t really need.