Why You Should Never Attempt DIY Data Recovery

Data recovery is often a procedure that is intricate and highly specialized. Therefore, great care must be taken to avoid any damage happening to the fragile components in hard drives and other types of electronic media. This is one of the reasons why data recovery can be expensive, depending on the amount of data you need recovered. When people receive a quote from a data recovery company that they believe to be too high, it is becoming more common for people to take matters into their own hands.

People think that by attempting to recover their own data, they will be saving a large amount of money. In reality, they will most likely be costing themselves more money than the data recovery company was going to charge them. Inexperienced people usually end up damaging expensive computer components that cost a lot of money to replace or repair. Worst of all, they will often permanently lose all of the data they were trying to recover.

1. Disk recovery software

There are many types of programs to recover lost data on the market today. Some you have to pay for and some are free. However, they all can be dangerous to your computer and the data that you want to recover so desperately. One of the most important things that most people do not realize is that running programs for data recovery on a hard drive that is damaged can cause more problems to your hard drive. The end result could be that your data can not be recovered. For example, if the data recovery software you are using is attempting to constantly access the same data on your drive repeatedly over the course of many hours, this could be a serious problem. Your hard drive could end up overheating. There is also a distinct possibility that the physical media that is in that location could be destroyed.

The end result of this can be the appearance of a physical line appearing in the place where all of the magnetic coating has been rubbed away. This is caused by the write/read heads being in the same spot for an extended period of time.

Do not run any type of disk recovery software. Doing so can result in files being lost forever. This is because there are many utilities that write on the disk when these types of programs are being used. This will usually cause important data to be permanently overwritten. Many utilities operate using measures that are very complex in nature. Sometimes only one mistake is required to destroy your disk’s file structure to the point where it can no longer be repaired. To put it very simply, if you choose to use these programs, you are putting all of the data on your computer at risk.

2. Reformatting

Do not reformat your hard drive. When hard drives are reformatted, file recovery becomes next to impossible, even for an expert with the necessary tools. Accidentally overwriting the master boot record is possible during the reformatting process. Also, if you are prompted, you should never initialize your disk or adjust your partition data at any time when trying to recover lost data.

3. Opening the hard drive

This is another mistake that people make when they try to pretend that they are a computer repairman. The majority of people have no comprehension of how delicate a hard drive’s internal pieces are. It is not just a matter of damaging the internal components by breaking them with your hands or tools. Even some very fine dust floating through the air can get inside the thin openings of microchips and other delicate components. A hard drive should only be opened in a place that is clean and has no air blowing around that could kick up dust or particles of other contaminants.

Other things inside the hard drive that are very easy to damage are the platters that are used to retain data. These platters are usually manufactured from a glass or aluminum and ceramic substrate. There could be one or several platters in a disk drive. These platters are fragile and sensitive to contaminants such as finger prints and dust.

4. Printed circuit board

Another troublesome issue encountered by people attempting to recover lost data deals with the printed circuit board. Few people are aware that some of the electronics on a hard drive’s printed circuit board are made specifically for certain hard drives. Therefore, if an electronics problem is causing your hard drive to malfunction, replacement of the printed circuit board will not solve the problem. In fact, it may do more harm to your hard drive.

5. Solving the problem

Your best bet at saving your money and saving the data that is so precious to you is to go to a professional data recovery company. Not all companies are the same, so find one that is reputable. Get references from friends, family and colleagues.

Daniel Johns writes for SpectrumData – a leading provider of Data Recovery Services, helping customers recover lost data in Perth, Western Australia.