Data Recovery Service

By Deane Barker on July 13, 2005

E.R. for Hard Drives: An interesting article on data recovery services.

DriveSavers operates from an anonymous office building in Novato, 24 miles north of San Francisco, that houses a “clean room” for inspecting drives and separate data extraction rooms for the most common computer operating systems.

[…] Depending on the size of the drive, the complexity of the problem and the requested turnaround time, recovery costs at DriveSavers range from $500 for the slowest service — five to seven days — and fewest recoverable files, to $8,900 for a rush job, which will begin the moment the drive arrives and continue around the clock until the data has been extracted.

For those customers who can wait up to seven days, recovery tops out at $2,700 for a drive up to 600 gigabytes. For one- to two-day turnaround, expect to pay $900 to $3,900. When nothing can be recovered — typically when drives cannot spin or data has been overwritten — DriveSavers charges a $200 inspection fee.

I always thought this would be a good business for Sioux Falls, since when people have a problem they’d want to hand the drive to someone the same day.

The article talks about how they have to get the drive spinning to get anything off it. But couldn’t they just remount the platters? There has to be a way to extract magnetic data from stationary platters.



  1. Dean,

    I have a friend who works for OnTrack Data Systems in Minnesota. He recovers data form crashed harddrives. He told me the only wat to recover the data is to use the EXACT same HD to pull the data off the platters. The reason for this is servo data, which tells the drive where to look for regular data, is mixed in with the regular data and there is no way to tell which is wich unless it’s the same drive. The firmware also varies from drive to drive whithin like models as well.

  2. Your freind is correct. Problem is diagnosing the problem. Drive could be clicking and it could be a board problem. I have even come across identical drives with different firmare also the amount of platters and head were different.

    The real concept is not switching boards.. long shot. But chip replacement and PCB diag. Then the head assembly. ATA drives have a shell containing vendor specific info about that drive. Adaptives give info on under and overscan of the head assembly. Don’t get me wrong you can do some hdd recovery on your own. However, always preserve the original pcb and don’t try swapping head assemblies on a customer data drive until you have done about 100 succsesfully. If you have questions you can post them on my blog.

    Good luck, Dave

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