We have a long-standing successful track record in lost data recovery and lost file recovery. Please contact us if you need help.
Of all the things that can go wrong with computers, losing all of your data is absolutely the worst. For home users this can mean losing years of digital photographs, letters and emails. For businesses it can mean losing your accounts records. Without proper backup procedures in place and up to date, it can be a catastrophe.
Fortunately most of the problems associated with hard disks, lost data and lost files are not due to mechanical failure of the hard disk and so lost data recovery and lost file recovery is relatively straightforward.
Computer Not Booting Up / Blue Screen Error
Quite often one or more of the crucial files which are required to the run the computer are corrupted or go missing. This does not mean that your data is lost. More often than not your data will be intact and fully accessible when the disk is removed and connected to another computer as a second disk.
Corrupt or Damaged Directory Structure
If the disk is the start up disk then your computer will not be able to start up for exactly the same reasons as given above. However your data cannot be accessed simply by connecting the disk to another computer. This does not mean that your data is lost. Your files are probably still intact on the disk even although the disk seems to be missing. What has happened is that the directory structure file has been corrupted or damaged. Effectively the files are still stored, but the map of exactly where everything is has been lost. By using specialised directory repair software, most of these directory structure problems can be repaired and file recovery is relatively easy.
Damaged Media Blocks – Bad Blocks
Commonly referred to as ‘Bad Blocks’ this is a physical problem which can play some part in the two previous problems. A very small proportion of the hard disk’s surface cannot be read properly. Sometimes this causes no problem until unused files which occupy these areas are deleted. Then these areas are put back into use and eventually an important system file or directory file will be stored there. The next time you try to start the computer you will get one of the errors detailed above. This does not mean that all your data is lost. The vast majority of your files are likely to be intact and can usually be transferred to a new hard disk. File recovery and data recovery, for most files is very probable.
Occasionally the electronics circuit board of a hard disk will fail. This is usually caused by overheating, which in turn can be caused by the disk constantly attempting to read from bad blocks. The only chance of data recovery is to replace the circuit with another one. If it is possible to source an identical disk drive, with the exact same ‘Revision Number’ as the failed disk, then it is possible to replace the circuit board on the faulty disk with the circuit board on the working disk, then the data can be recovered fairly easily. However, sourcing the exact same model of disk with the exact same circuit board revision number is not easy. We have thousands of old disk circuit boards stored just for this purpose. If it’s a common disk model, there’s a good chance that we will have the correct circuit board.
This is the only cause of catastrophic data loss. It usually occurs because a disk receives a severe physical shock whilst in use but can also be caused by the surface scanning head experiencing excessive stress in continually attempting to read data from bad blocks. Unfortunately data can only be retrieved by opening up the hard disk, removing the media platter and fitting it to another disk with a working mechanism. This process must be done in modern clean room conditions and requires very expensive machinery. It is a very expensive process with no guarantee of success. We do not have the facilities to do this work ourselves but we can arrange to have it done for you, if required.
What are the Chances?
From general information and our own experience over the years, we have put together the bar chart that you see above. The sectors are sized according to the proportion of all data loss instances, and the colouring gives an indication of the likelihood of full data recovery. Green is almost certain to be recoverable and red is almost certain to be unrecoverable.