Data recovery is a specialized, complicated process. Proper hard drive recovery can require manipulation of data at the sector level, transplantation of internal components and various other procedures. These techniques are very involved and require not only talented, knowledgeable technicians, but also an extensive inventory of disk drives to use for parts when necessary and clean facilities to conduct the work.
Unfortunately these factors mean that, in most cases, recovery services are quite expensive. Technician training, hard drive inventories and special equipment all come with a cost.
If you search for disk recovery services, you will likely find several smaller companies that offer hard disk data recovery for a fraction of the prices usually quoted by larger, more experienced organizations. These companies often operate from small offices or, in some cases, private homes. They do not possess clean room facilities, large disk drive inventories or many other pieces of equipment necessary to successfully complete most hard drive recovery cases.
When you take into account all of the training, parts and facilities necessary, you can see how it is impossible for a company to charge $200 for a hard drive recovery and not operate at a loss.
What these companies usually do is run a software program on the hard disk drive. Sometimes, if there is no physical damage to the disk drive, this program is able to recover some of the data. However, hard disk data recovery is much more than just running software. No software can recover data from a hard drive that has failed heads, damaged platters or electrical damage. In fact, attempting to run a hard drive that is physically damaged can make the problem worse. Trying to use software to recover data from a hard drive with failed read/write heads, for example, can lead to the heads scraping the platters of the drive and leaving the data unrecoverable.
Another way these smaller companies conduct business is by forwarding data recovery cases they cannot recover to larger organizations. Of course, the smaller companies charge their clients a premium for this service. In these cases it would have actually been cheaper to use the larger company in the first place.
You will also likely find that many smaller recovery companies charge evaluation or diagnostic fees upfront. They charge these fees regardless of whether or not any data is recovered. In many cases clients desperate to recover their data pay these fees and get nothing in return but a failed recovery. Smaller data recovery services simply do not have the skills, training, facilities and parts to successfully recover most disk drives. It is more cost efficient for them to make one attempt at running a software program and then call the case unsuccessful.
Sometimes you may get lucky working with a smaller data recovery company, but in most cases you will end up paying for a failed recovery. In the worst case scenario you could end up with a damaged hard drive that is now unrecoverable by any data recovery service.
You will waste time and money working with these services. You could even lose your valuable data for good.
If your data is important enough to consider data recovery, it is important enough to seek a reputable, skilled data recovery company. All major data recovery services offer free evaluations and most do not charge clients for unsuccessful recoveries. Sometimes you only have one shot to recover data on a disk drive before the platters are seriously damaged and the data is lost for good. Taking chances with inexperienced companies is not worth the risk.