Data Recovery & Backups
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Data Recovery & Backups
I have become an evangelist for computer back-up systems. Until 6
weeks ago I (very ignorantly) didn't even know that a ''crash''
could be more than an annoyance, and I backed up on CD's whenever
I got around to it, sometimes regularly, and sometimes, um, not
so regularly at all.
Then, my less-than-a-year-old computer totally and completely
crashed, and I learned that any hard drive, of any age, on any
type or brand of computer, can crash suddenly any time. I also
realized that I hadn't done a back-up for 6 months.
The computer is being replaced under warranty, but the cost of
data recovery was on me, as was the cost of my business program
specialist to try to restore corrupted files, and the cost of my
bookkeeper to re-enter the data from the last 6 months (the crash
was so bad that the unbacked-up files were unrestorable even by
the company that makes the software).
I have already spent about 20 hours sorting through thousands of
recovered data files (all file names were lost, they have only
numbers, and are randomly grouped) and I'm maybe halfway through
them. It's been a complete, and an expensive, nightmare.
I'm sure that many of you already knew all this and already have
good back-up systems in place, but I've been surprised how many
of my friends, including some like me with small businesses, were
as casual about backing up as I was.
I now have an external hard drive programmed to do daily
back-ups, and am preaching the 'back-up your data gospel'!
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
I crashed my old Window's based computer and am hoping
I can get some of the data back. Can anyone recommend a
service? We lost six months of baby photos and want them
We lost all the photos from the first week of our twins' lives
(though it was a corrupted memory card, not a computer crash that
caused it). We sent it to DriveSavers
(http://www.drivesavers.com). They recovered all the photos from
the card, plus old photos that we'd already deleted! The service
wasn't cheap--$250 or something--but we were desperate, and it
was worth it. I'm pretty sure they refund you everything if they
can't recover your data. Also, they're in Novato, so turnaround
Think there is a link on the Berkeley webpage to a recovery
company called Data Recovery Group, in San Leandro, and their
number is 888 462 3282. I had a similar problem (accidentally
reformatted my hard drive). They gave me a rough cost estimate
of $1000. The data and pictures I lost weren't that valuable
so I tried to go it on my own. Thus, I went to C-Net's
Download.com and typed in data recovery. From there you could
see many different programs that would recover data. You could
run trials on most of these. Some trial runs were not very
helpful since they would only pull up files of a smaller size
and I too was looking for lost pictures. I also found that
most of these programs are not user friendly. Files would be
located but stored under weird names and hard to search through
to find what you were looking for. So, if they could find the
data it was going to take a ton of time and be hard to find the
specific files you are searching for. I bought full versions
of a couple of programs for $50 - $75 each after trying them
out and had a couple of false attempts. I finally found one
program that worked pretty well for me called GetDataBack
Recovery 2.3.1 (www.runtime.org). I don't think it recovered
all my photos but it recovered most of them.
Although this was cumbersome this solution worked for me since
the data was not critical. I should also note that I had to
buy a hard drive so that the recovered files could be placed on
a separate drive. Thus, the total cost to me was probably $300
for this process.
I lost all the pictures of my newborn baby boy when my computer
crash. I could not even turn it on! All my life was in that
hard drive and I had to recover the data. Well... I was quoted
over $1k to get this done. So... I sent my hard drive to be
fixed in Brazil (it helps that I am Brazilian but they speak
perfect English). I was amazed on how professional and
responsive they were. They were able to recover ALL the data
and it did not cost me even $200.00 dollars. I would be glad to
give you more details if you are interested, just email me.
Meanwhile, you can check their website www.helpnow.com.br (in
I am hoping that someone out there can help me out on this. My
computer broke down and I lost all the pictures of my 3-month-
old baby boy. Including the ones from his birth! That's right,
I didn't have a backup and now they are gone! Please help! All
my contacts in Outlook (years of friends, family, work
contacts) are gone! I am so crushed you can't imagine. But I
surely learned my lesson.
We contacted some data recovery firms but learned that the
recovery of the data costs around $1500.00. I don't think I can
afford that. So I am hoping that someone out there has an
affordable, reliable and responsible source to recover this
data . Any advice or recommendation is welcome at this point.
Thanks so much from this bummed mom.
Before you go to the trouble of a remote repair company, you
might try doing it yourself. If your harddrive isn't
physically dead (ie making scratching or grinding sounds), try
software by www.runtime.org to see if you can rebuild index
files needed to read your drive. Corruption of these indexes
or loss of them because of a local sector failure might be your
issue. Runtimes products are good and pretty easy to use and
you only pay if you can recover your data. If it is making
grinding or other ugly noises do NOT keep trying to boot or fix
it, you will only damage your data more. Good Luck!
We just had a horrible incident where we neglected to transfer
our digital photos from one computer to another, then
REFORMATTED the old computer. Arrgh. Completely panicked, we
called Jaime Florence of MicroForensics and he was able to
recover a good percentage of photos from our hard drive and
digital camera flash memory cards. His phone is (415) 482-9952
(Direct); Mobile (415) 297-9958; E-Mail: jaime AT MicroForensics.com
Web Site http://microforensics.com. We were very pleased. Good
HELP! I lost everything on my hard drive by following (to the letter!) the
instructions of a Dell Technical Support technician.
Ironically, I had called Dell because I was having trouble backing up data
from my hard drive to diskettes. Anyway, Dell has
offered me $100, an apology and an 800 number for a data recovery company
that can (maybe) recover what I lost for $1,200 - $1,800.
This seems totally inadequate to me in terms of recompense.
Does anyone out there have experience with this type of computer disaster?
I try to get Dell to cover the cost of data recovery? Is there another
company or individual
that someone can recommend that might be able to do this more cheaply? Most
of what I lost is in
Excel and Word and I have not been using my computer since this happened a
few days ago (I'm sending this e-mail from
someone else's computer). Thanks in advance for any advice!
I am really sorry about your hard drive crash. I wanted to suggest that
you give Steve
Edlen of Berkeley Backup, 510-848-5990, a call before you spend over $1000
at a data recovery
place. I'm not sure he'll be able to help you, but he is very honest and
priced, so he won't waste either your time or money. Unfortunately, I
didn't find out about
Steve until after I'd spent $1000 on data recovery five years ago, so I
don't have firsthand
data recovery experience with him, but I've been very pleased when I've
used him for general
systems setup and similar work, and he was highly recommended to me. Good
Whether you can get your data recovered or not depends a lot on what the
Dell technician did. Given
their response, I'd guess that they think he/she was at fault and there is
a good chance that you can
recover your data. I can tell you for certain that you will in all
likelihood not get any more money
from them (I'm surprised you got any money at all). If you read the
warranty they are very clear that
they are not responsible for any lost data. You might also confirm with the
folks at Dell that your
warranty won't in anyway be affected by you attempting data recovery, since it
expressly forbids folks from opening the harddrive. I'm sure they'll extend
it but you should get this
That being said, usually you can get an evaluation from a data recovery
service for a fixed fee,
which can then be applied to the repair if they think it can be done. I've
worked with a few vendors
on this, and the one easiest to use from the East Bay is the Data Recovery
Group in San Leandro. Their
Most of the time, folks get an evaluation and decide not to go ahead with
the recovery effort because
it is so expensive, especially on the very large drives that come standard
with most PC's. The only
times I've seen folks go through with it are when they aren't personally
footing the bill.
All of this is said as someone who has been dealing with harddrive failures
in some form or another
professionally for more than fifteen years.
As always, the best defense against hardware failure is good backups. (and
off site backups, if you can).
this page was last updated: Apr 8, 2007
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