Poll: Do self-service hard drive recovery tools do more harm than good?

Self-service data recovery tools offer the chance to recover data from a failed hard drive, but also the possibility of further damaging the drive and losing the data forever. Have you ever used a self-service hard drive recovery tool and was your experience positive?

Self-service data recovery tools are both a benefit and a hazard. Many power users and IT pros alike have used them to successfully retrieved data from failed hard drives. Yet there is always a chance that a self-service tool will further damage a failed drive, making data retrieval impossible.

In a recent IT Dojo video and blog post, I demonstrate how the Zero Assumption Recovery (ZAR) tool can be used to find and retrieve data from a failed 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 a few 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.