When Software Can Help:
SSD and HDD
When experiencing a data loss situation, it is essential to be able to tell whether or not you can fix it yourself. Modern storage media is reliable enough so it’s hard to be damaged beyond repair. More often than not you’ll be doing fine by using a DIY tool of a kind, such as Hetman Partition Recovery manufactured by our company. In some situations, however, it’s better to bring the device to a data recovery lab as soon as possible instead of attempting to recover the data on your own.
This article describes signs of the different situations and gives you an idea on whether or not your data is potentially recoverable in-house.
It’s Gotten Blank!
If your hard disk drive, USB flash drive or memory card has gotten blank but is still accessible, your chances of getting all of your data back are pretty good if you use a tool such as Hetman Partition Recovery right away. If the disk appears empty, it was either formatted or corrupted. In either case, trying a data recovery tool is worthy.
A possible exception: solid-state drives with TRIM enabled. SSD drives have the ability to destroy deleted information on their own pace, without additional user interaction. If you have important information stored on an SSD drive, you may be out of luck. Traditional magnetic and flash-based media will probably be just fine though. Note: you will need to use a disk/partition recovery tool instead of an undelete utility. A simpler tool may be unable to find the missing files.
Computer Locks Up
If your PC locks up when accessing a disk, it may be a sign of excessive wear or hardware malfunction. If the disk is still visible, you may try recovering information with a data recovery tool such as Hetman Partition Recovery. However, in this case it’ll be a good idea to make a binary snapshot of the disk before the recovery (Hetman Partition Recovery supports virtual disk images; make sure to use this feature and not the regular recovery option). However, if the problem persists, you may be better off just bringing the disk to a recovery lab ASAP while it’s still functioning.
Can’t Access the Disk
Disks with corrupted file systems and/or damaged partition tables and other system structures cannot be accessed by the user, but are still visible to the computer and the operating system. If this is the case, using a data recovery tool may help. You’ll need to use Hetman Partition Recovery or other disk/partition recovery tool, as simpler unerase tools will not be able to see the files stored on a corrupted partition.
Inaccessible disks can be a sign of a bigger problem, such as bad blocks in disk system structures, heavy wear, hardware malfunction or misconfiguration. Except for misconfiguration (which should be fixed by adjusting setting in the computer BIOS), these are the signs of a disk that’s ready to visit a specialized recovery lab.
The Disk Disappeared
If the disk does not appear in the list of installed hardware, it will not be accessible or recoverable with software tools. If everything else (the controller, BIOS settings etc.) is right, you’ll have to bring that disk to a recovery lab if you want to see your files back. Data recovery labs may charge anything from $300 to $800 to recover information from a broken disk depending on the urgency and complexity of the issue.