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Data Recovery Horror Stories

Data recovery can be a tricky feat. If the damage is mechanical, in that the physical device itself is damaged, then it requires a team of professionals to try and get your data back. While your drive might have just been damaged by something relatively normal, like after being dropped on a hard surface, there are a number of horror stories out there about how people have nearly lost their data.

Each year data recovery service Kroll Ontrack releases a list of some of the strange data recovery requests they’ve had. In each instance they’ve managed to recover the data from the devices, which sounds quite incredible when you hear about some of the stories. If anything, it shows that you should never give up hope that your data is lost forever – there’s always a chance.

Having your drive submerged in water isn’t necessarily going to stop your data being recovered. One firefighter was in action when his Nokia Lumina 610 was damaged by water, losing all his personal photos. Another person had been in a ferry accident, causing their phone to be submerged in water for more than an hour. In both these instances the data was recovered.

A third water-based story, and perhaps the most extreme, followed a flood in the Balkan countries and took a RAID server 100 meters from the building it came from. It took over two weeks to find the server, only to discover that it’d been sitting in water for the entire time. All of the data was recovered.

Ever heard of the age-old story of the dog eating homework? How about the modern alternative of the dog eating the USB drive? That happened to someone in the United States; their dog had mistaken the USB stick for a toy to chew on. Luckily the owner noticed in enough time to give the drive to Kroll, who got the data back.

You’d imagine that working at a data recovery company has the great perk of free data recovery for employees (well, at least we hope it’s free!). That must have come as a relief for one employee who, when visiting the toilet, found that their phone had slipped out of their back pocket and into the toilet. The employee got her phone, soaking wet, and handed it off to the recovery specialists to bring all her data back to life.

Some of these stories are actually quite tame when compared to ones from earlier years. One person was so annoyed that their hard drive was squeaking that they drilled a hole in the casing and poured in some oil – the squeaking may have ceased, but so did the hard drive. Don’t try that one at home, folks!

Another strange story comes from Thailand, where a photographer had found that their external hard drive had been taken over by ants. Not one to stand for that, the photographer sprayed the drive with insect repellent. You guessed it – bye to the ants and to the drive.

What’s the moral of these stories? Well, for one, it’s that you should always try to take the greatest care with your devices that you have and to always backup your data. But should that fail, it might just be possible to get your data back through recovery specialists.


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