Hard drive failures are always a nuisance — if not a disaster — especially when the backups have gone missing or were never made. Whether it’s your own oversight or that of a panicked user, at some point you’ll probably attempt to retrieve files from a damaged hard drive. In this IT Dojo video, I’ll show you how the Zero Assumption Recovery (ZAR) tool can help you find and restore recoverable files from a failed hard drive.

During the video, I warn everyone about the potential dangers of using self-service data recovery tools and recommend that viewers contact a qualified data recovery company if the data is critical or the drive has physical damage. Despite my admonitions, I’ll no doubt receive a few complaints once this piece is published, and some will argue that tools like ZAR do more harm than good. But I’d like to move the discussion beyond an anecdotal debate and gather some real numbers–albeit through a nonrandom sample. Answer the following questions, and let us know if you’ve used a self-service hard drive recovery tool and if the experience was positive.

For those of you who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or you can also read Wally Bahny’s article, “How do I … restore files from a damaged hard drive using ZAR?,” on which this video is based.

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