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Becoming expert in data recovery.

By mirza ·
Hi, I would like if someone gave me some input. I'm a mid computer technician, I would like to get more involved in recovering data from bad media such as hard drive, cdrom, etc. I would like to get more input information. Thank you

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Short overview

by mariotroiani In reply to Becoming expert in data r ...

There are many types and techniques in DR and there's a whole industry out there that offers good services. These services are extremely valuable to the user who has just lost the data (often through his/her own mistake or negligence), so in theory they can command high prices. Below is a simplified list of some common data loss types and recovery methods:

- corrupted file system: this is one of the most common cases. It can be caused by removing power during a disk write. A quick fix involves moving the hard drive to a healthy computer and scanning it with specialized programs. These programs understand the file system and look for file headers and indexes in every readable sector (it takes many hours). Then they try to match the two, and thus reconstruct the volume folder structure. Where there's no match they put the healthy subfolders in the volume root. The best ones rate the recovery probability of the resulting file and folders and let you preview each file. I have recently used GetDataBack for NTFS ($79 from

- crashed hard drives: if you are lucky, what's gone are the drive electronics. In this case the quick solution is to swap them with a known good drive, recover the data and discard them (don't forget to "software shred" the media if the data is confidential and dispose of properly). Ordering the replacement electronics is an option, but would you sell such a "refurbished" unit? If you are not lucky, the media is damaged.

- damaged media: typically the magnetic head came in contact with the disk surface and destroyed at least portions of the recorded information. The data may still be recoverable through specialized hardware, but the chances rapidly diminish. Here I'd use labs that specialize in this business, such as (keep the electronics for use in the previous case).

- erased/formatted hard drives: to the best of my knowledge this also requires specialized equipment. See damaged media, though your chances here are excellent.

- crashed logical drives: there are additional issues if the lost data resides on a logical volume, e.g. a stripe set. Here you need knowledge of the specific OS and hardware. The manufacturer would be my first contact.

There are many outfits that advertise data recovery, so prices are tight. Where you can make more money is in the custom service. Pick customers who cannot wait to ship the drive to the lab (or think they can't). You go on site and handle the whole thing on the spot. Or pick customers who don't want or don't know how to deal with a lab.

BTW, this is the perfect time to resell preventive data recovery products (e.g. backups) and/or train customers to use them properly.


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