True Data Recovery Horror Stories

When you lose data, you would want to recover it as quickly as possible. Our financial constraints inevitably play a major part in our decisions, and balancing the two factors makes for a difficult decision making process.

However, if you bungle in your choice of data recovery centre, the results can be deadly. Data which was once recoverable can be lost forever, and literally be ground to dust. And if the data is extremely vital, the consequences can be extremely detrimental.

From recoverable to unrecoverable

A customer had a crashed hard disk from his Apple Computer. He sent in the hard disk to a service provider in a well known electronics centre in Singapore. He was then made to believe that the vendor was one of the authorized Apple Service Centre. He was then quoted around S$ 1500 and also being promised that he would get back the data in 3 day’s time.

On the day he went to collect the data, he was told there and then that the data was “suddenly” not recoverable. As soon as the anxious customer asked for more details of the job, he was told that the disk was serviced by an expert and such professionalism should not be doubted. The vendor further told the customer that the laboratory report was only for internal usage and would not be disclosed, not even the name of the “data recovery expert”.

The customer then sent the disk to us. Upon evaluation, it immediately confirmed that the disk was serviced in some “carpeted” office as we saw traces of minute carpet fibres on disk platter, not to mention the dust contaminants. The disk read-write head crashed badly and damaged the platter completely. The head crash might have happened before the service or could have been caused by the contamination of data platter. As far as we could see, such work quality is unacceptable. We had to relate the sad findings to the customer.

We were equally puzzled as the Apple Service Centres will normally direct the customers to us for recovery job. We then contacted the Manager in Apple Service Centre and were surprised to learn that there was no authorized Apple Care Centre around that area.

In this case, a hard disk crash had caused the read/write head of the hard disk to crash onto the platter. It scrapes the magnetic material on the platter (which is where your data is written to by the way) off and takes your data along with it. To know more read this article about hard disk crash, which details the occurrences during a hard disk crash)

Data security worries

The cheap alternative is always enticing. However there are consequences which can jeopardise not only the recovery of your data, but also the privacy and confidentiality of your data. And as a long time data recovery service provider, we have seen quite a number of cases which demonstrates the dangers of sending to unscrupulous ‘data recovery’ companies.

A customer sent in a crashed hard disk to a computer vendor for recovery. However, he was then told that the data was unrecoverable. Urgently in need of the data, the customer then retrieved the disk from the vendor and sent to us.

We finally rescued all data from the damaged disk. We told the good news to the customer who then rushed to our office to review the data. However, upon further checking, the customer realized that all the data recovered was not his. In fact belonged to some one else! The vendor had returned the wrong disk to the customer probably due to poor logistic control. The original damaged disk is now long gone.

The furious customer cannot do anything. Data confidentiality is an issue as not only has he almost certainly lost his data for good, there is a high chance that someone else posses his disk and can recover his data on it.

Hopefully you can understand the importance of choosing a proper data recovery service provider. The wrong choice can lead to disaster as it can affect not only the recoverability of the data but also can lead you to losing data to unwanted hands.

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