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Data Recovery Myths

When courting a data recovery company, there is some misinformation that can be spread that is to the service provider’s advantage. This misinformation isn’t always propagated due to unscrupulous greed. Rather, some companies with high tech facilities and clean rooms may have a tendency to assess problems based on the solutions they are used to offering. As Abraham Maslow said it, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” But with clean rooms, that “hammer” can cost anywhere between $600 and $2,000 per drive to utilize.
This is why it may not always be a good idea to bring your hard drive to a clean room data recovery company right off the bat. Instead, you may want to consider bringing your hard drive to a data recovery specialist that works with hard drives that may not require expensive clean rooms to repair. Here’s what they may tell you:

All Failed Hard Drives Require a Clean Room
Clean rooms are the sterile hospital emergency operating room equivalent for hard drives. Likewise, they are the most expensive place to have your hard drive repaired. Fortunately ,not every hard drive repair requires a clean room. Clean rooms are only required if the case of the drive will be opened, exposing the platters. There are a number of hard drive repairs that can be done without doing this, including physical replacement of components, such as PCB (circuit board) replacements. Some hard drives can be fixed using software methods only. These cases obviously do not require clean rooms.
Hard Drives that Don’t Show Up in the BIOS, Disk Utility or Native File System Are “Dead”
Many assume that a hard drive that cannot be detected by a computer is dead and cannot be recovered. This isn’t true. Although you may not be able to access the drive from a Mac or PC, there are special data recovery tools that can interface with the hard drive on a low level to access the data. Using this equipment is much more cost-effective than taking it apart in a clean room.

A Clicking Noise Means Bad Heads
When a hard drive gets a bad head, then a clean room is required. This is because any use of the drive will cause further damage to the platter, and the hard drive must be taken apart to repair it. However, a clicking noise does not always mean there is a failed read/write head. Clicking may also be indicative of bad sectors, bad power supplies, bad PCB components or corrupt firmware. Knowledge of the particular manufacturer and model and further diagnoses will reveal whether or not a clean room is required.
If you assume that there are two types of data recovery problems—one that can be solved at home with software, and those that have to be sent to a clean room for a repair that costs thousands of dollars—you are wrong. If you find a reputable data recovery specialist (not just a neighborhood geek, Apple Store “Genius” or Best Buy Geek Squad member), then they will be able to tell you the most cost-effective way to fix your drive. Most data recovery specialists won’t do clean rooms in-house, and will instead ship your drive (with your permission) to another facility to have this work done. If you aren’t confident in the diagnosis, don’t hesitate to take it somewhere else for a second opinion. Although there are some drives that require repairs in clean rooms, be sure that your hard drive recovery professional is looking at all the options.


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