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Home-made Data Recovery ? You can send your data to the silicon sky forever

When should you send your data medium to data recovery experts? And when can you try to recover the data yourself?

We will advise you when to send your data medium (hard disk, SSD, USB key,...) to experts and when you can try to recover the data yourself. Here is however what is highly recommended: if the data is completely unavailable, or the data medium is mechanically damaged or if it makes abnormal noises, do not attempt to recover the data yourself and seek help from data recovery experts !

From time to time we get into our hands a data medium we can no longer handle for data recovery, because someone tried to recover data using unprofessional methods. Such a medium is most often a classic hard drive. Someone had already tried to diagnose a disk defect. He had probably be convinced that when the disk would be opened, the defect would be obvious at first glance, it would be corrected one way or another, and the disk would run smoothly. Instead of recovering the data, however, most of the time it sends your data and disk to the silicon sky forever.

So what should you do and avoid if data from your hard disk, SSD, RAID, memory card, flash drive, mobile phone or any other media is unavailable ? First of all, it is necessary to determine whether it is a data medium or a software defect.

When should you not try to recover the data by yourself ?

Do not attempt to do anything by yourself if, for example:

  • The computer does not boot, displays an error message at startup, or restarts itself spontaneously at startup.
  • The external hard drive has been dropped or hit, the data is unavailable when connected and/or the drive makes unusual noises.
  • Some data is available, but unusually slow, while others are completely unavailable.
  • The server or NAS, respectively RAID ceased reporting and data is unavailable.
  • The memory card in mobile phone, camera, etc does not report, and data is unavailable, or if the device wants to format the memory card.
  • The flash drive or memory card is broken.

In such cases, you can damage even more the data medium and/or the data and definitely prevent any data recovery. Contact us to discuss this issue and we’ll be happy to do a free media diagnosis.

There are cases where the data medium behaves abnormally, or the data is only partially available or loads slowly. Then you do not know exactly what is happening, and whether the problem is with the computer itself or elsewhere. In such cases, it is always better to first discuss the problem with experts. People often run Check disk on Windows, First Aid on Mac OS, or other data media integrity verification tools as a first repair attempt, but if the hard disk has coincidentally another defect than an OS software defect, any subsequent data recovery can get even more complicated.

When can you try to recover data yourself … with a dose of caution ?

To mention other examples, you accidentally deleted the data, or you inadvertently formatted the data medium, or your computer or other device is functioning normally, except you are missing some files or folders.

In such cases, you can try to recover the data yourself, only there are some rules to follow :

  • First of all check the trash bin in your operating system. If you simply deleted files you could find back your data there.
  • If the data loss affects the computer's system disk, then shut down the computer and continue working with the drive using another computer. If you continue to use the disc as a system disc or write other data on it, the deleted files original location may be overwritten and the data will be irretrievably lost.
  • Use verified apps to recover data. Some of them are free.
  • If data recovery fails and the drive or device starts to behave abnormally, then avoid further attempts on this route and ask a Data Recovery Specialist for help.

However, with modern computers, SSDs or other devices using NAND storage media as data storage (such as mobile phones), the deleted data may not remain on the data medium until it is overwritten by other data. For example, an SSD with TRIM enabled to speed up data processing and increase the efficiency of the SSD itself, deletes deleted data irreversibly as soon as the user deletes the data, respectively empties the Recycle Bin.

In such cases and as a rule for any important data, a regular data backup is the best prevention of data loss. We will be happy to advise you on this as well. If you need any advice on working with data, do not hesitate to contact us.

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