When I decided to send my hard drive off to have it's data recovered I would choose to send it to a data recovery business, right? I wouldn't send it to Chuck E Cheese or Toyota... I would send it to a place that specializes in Hard Drive data recovery.
Well to bring you up to date on the whole Hard Drive fiasco, (click here to read what happened) I sent it out to DataTechLabs (I won't bother to link to it since I don't think it deserves any business). I got an email after a couple of days to call and discuss their findings. I called, all full of nervous energy. I knew the cost was going to be high. but I was just going to pay it and be done.
"Hi, this is Nathan Stout."
"Oh hi Mr. Stout!"
"I got an email to call about the hard drive."
"Yes, (rummages through papers) the technician completed the evaluation, and they say the data is unrecoverable."
Reek reek. Reek reek. (that's the sound of crickets chirping in the silence).
"They can't get anything off the hard drive."
"No, they state the actuator arm is broken, and there are scratches on the platters."
Reek reek. Reek reek.
At this point I can't find anything to say. I am speechless.
"Do you want us to recycle the drive or ship it back."
(very quickly) "No, PLEASE send it back."
I DID send it to DataTechLabs right? I didn't mislabel and ship it to the Toys R Us headquarters According To Whim's production offices, or Barnes and Noble, did I? I sent it to a 'data recovery' company... didn't I?
What's the point of calling your business a 'data recovery' business if you can't actually recover data. My issue was one of the most basic of data recovery issues you could have and they couldn't do it. It's like they didn't even try. Were they expecting for the hard drive to work and THEN they could recover the data? Pointless. Absolutely pointless.
I paid the 15 bucks to get it shipped back to me and I look for a 'real' data recovery place.
I have found DataSalvage, a company who claims to be able to recover data from damaged media (the scratched platters).
The whole 'free evaluation' I got from DataTechLabs isn't going to be free after all. All of these companies charge around $200.00 if your hard drive has already been evaluated by some other company (i.e. it's been opened up). Sheesh.
So I send my hard drive out toe DataSalvage whose motto is:
"Salvage the unRecoverable"
After a long week (because of Memorial Day) I get an email letting me know they got the hard drive and they will call soon.
They call soon because they want that $200.00 evaluation fee. FINE. I pay it and go on with life.
Now, before I sent it off to the second company, I opened the hard drive to look (since it had already been opened) and you can't see any damage on the top of the top platter. To me that means that the data stored on that top platter SHOULD be good right? At least that much. There is like 4 or 5 platters in there and there MIGHT be another one that's not damaged. That would be some data they could recover. My opinion of DataTechLabs went down a bit and my hope went up.
A week later I get an email about my hard drive... I won't tell you what it said. I thought I should show you:
Ok, I *MIGHT* have added the comment about my posterior, but the rest is all them.
ONCE AGAIN what part of hard drive recovery did I not understand? My damage was the simplest type of damage, and they state they can recover data from damaged media.
The part of my brain that is in tune with the X-Files side of life tells me these companies are a conspiracy. They take your hard drive and hope you have opened it, or someone else did, so they can get that $200.00 then just tell you they can't recover any of it. I mean, what proof do I have to even know they looked at it for one second? Sounds like a business I could start up.
So my advice to you out there with hard drive damage is
DATA RECOVERY COMPANIES ARE A BIG SCAM! DONT MAIL YOUR HARD DRIVES OFF TO THEM.
Looking back here is what I should have done.
1.) Turned off the hard drive.
2.) Opened it and moved the acutator arm off the platters (because apparently THAT is what caused the real damage). Then removed the platters (as carefully as I could) and video taped the whole thing for proof.
3.) Found a local BBB rated data recovery place and hand delivered it. Let them know it was evaluated and the damage was recorded on video.