Computer data recovery is a sensitive beast, failing drives are finicky, customers are worried and sometimes pushy, understandably. Their whole life is riding on that drive, years of pictures, emails, client info, you name it. Here at Austin Mobile Computer Repair we take your data personally. Unfortunately you can’t predict when a drive is going to fail but you can recover the data and prevent it from being lost again. I would much rather meet you before your hard drive fails and all of your data is on the brink of being lost but usually that isn’t the case. Most people don’t know the imminent danger of not backing up their data and so never think to look someone like me up to help implement a data backup plan. I like to instill a healthy fear of data loss into my clients. Preventive measures are always cheaper than data recovery on a failing hard drive. Data recovery can range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on how far gone the hard drive is and how much data there is on the hard drive.
Is Your Power Dirty?
What is dirty power? Well, it’s just that: not clean. Spikes in electricity, drops, voltage variations, etc.
One of the leading causes of hard drive failure is dirty power. From the day you set up your new computer to the day the hard drive fails the computer most likely has dirty power being fed to it. Ever notice your lights going dim when your AC comes on? That plays havoc on all of your electronics and appliances in your house but especially on your hard drive.
A typical hard disk spins at 7200 RPM’s. Its heads scan the hard disk reading and writing data much like a CD or vinyl record but in thousandths of a second. Imagine how long your lights just went dim for, all of that data that was just read or written is potentially corrupted not to mention the damage it does to the hard drives motor. The voltage coming into the house should be a steady 120v but it never is. Loads down the power line as well as in your house will create high and low voltage situations that are all detrimental to a hard drive.
Imperfect Hard Drives
I know I may seem like I’m beating on my bible here but like I said before I would rather meet you before your hard drive fails and it’s good to know why they do fail. I’m just barely scratching the surface here because sometimes you get a new hard drive that is failing before you ever have a chance to power it up. I’ve bought hard drives that are bad out of the box more than several times. Ever notice that when you buy a 500 gig hard drive it only shows up as 465 gigs? That’s because hard drive manufactures cannot produce a perfect drive. Every hard drive has imperfections and so when they create a 500 gig drive they plan on 35 gigs of it being unusable due to corrupted sectors on the hard disk. Take a look at the picture of this hard drive.
See how shiny it is? How perfect it has to be to work? Even in the picture there are specs of dust that would ruin a drive. The data is stored on the drive in areas so tiny it’s hard to imagine. Typically you have 10 gigs of data per square inch of surface area. The smallest imperfection will wipe out tons of data. That’s why it is impossible to create a perfect hard disk. What is possible is to back up your data. Short of that we can always get it back.
Look at the collapse of the World Trade Center. In the bottom of the buildings were hundreds of hard drives storing hundreds of millions of dollars in digital money. All of it was recovered using blue laser technology. It’s almost never a matter of if it can be recovered but of how important it is to you and how much you are willing to spend on having it recovered. As I said before your average hard drive recovery is going to run in the hundreds of dollars but I’ve seen drives that have been recovered after a flood or fire run into the thousands and in extreme cases tens of thousands. Fortunately insurance usually covers the expense in the case of flood or fire.
If you find yourself in a situation where you think that your drive is failing be sure to call us right away. The longer you wait the worst off you are going to be. The drive is going to continue to fail and get more expensive to recover. We know what we are doing and we are good at what we do.