How to Recover Data After It Has Been Lost or Corrupted

If you’re reading this because you’ve lost data, don’t panic; all is rarely lost. A lot of data is recoverable, including critical files, documents, videos, and photos. Your data is missing, but it’s not lost forever until a professional tells you it’s lost forever.

The most important thing you can do is nothing. Yes, you read that correctly. Hands off the device, at least until you’ve contacted a data recovery service (or, called in your IT department). Leave it alone until a professional has a look at it; however, if you have reacted (restarted your computer, emptied your recycling bin, etc.) don’t worry, you can probably still recover what’s missing.

Recovery Service versus Recovery Software
Basically, there are two ways to recover data (outside of doing it yourself, which isn’t recommended unless you’re an IT professional). You can hire a recovery service or you can subscribe/purchase data recovery utility software. Recovery services are actual human beings that recover your data either remotely, over the phone, or in-person. The alternative, recovery software, is an application that’s downloaded onto your device, and it doesn’t include human intervention.

Data recovery cost is going to vary depending on which method you choose. For example, it may cost nothing to hire a recovery service because many offer a no-fee guarantee. If recovery isn’t possible, you may not be charged. In most cases, software will cost you regardless if it works or not, which is why you should at least consider taking advantage of the free diagnostics and quotes recovery services offer.

Types of Data Recovery
Diagnostics are performed because it’s important to determine the cause of data loss, so you know where to look for the missing files. In general, most data is lost because there’s an issue with software. New (or even old) software may be corrupted, infected with a computer virus or malware, or it could be plain old human error, such as accidentally deleting a crucial file and then emptying the recycling bin. Whoops.

Data could be missing due to physical issues with your hard drive or storage. Perhaps an internal component was damaged or burnt out, such as the motor or the PCB. If this is the case, you definitely need a recovery service because these components must be replaced with donor drives, which are replicated components. Donor drives are replaced in “clean rooms,” which are sterile dust-free environments.

Although not as common, it is possible your data was stolen from you. Some hackers have the ability to bypass cloud security, such as encrypted connections, and illegally access files. If they choose too, they may copy your files and then delete. Or, they may hold them hostage with ransomware. Definitely talk to a professional about recovering this data (it’s possible).

Other types of storage that can be recovered include:

  • RAID
  • Virtual servers
  • DAS
  • NAS
  • iSCSI
  • eSATA
  • Fiber Channel Storage Devices
  • And, other complex storage systems

How Long Does Recovery Take?
Speed is sometimes crucial to the recovery process, so the faster you get your device in the hands of a profession, the better your odds of recovering what was lost. Or, it could be that you need the data recovered quickly so you can return to business-as-usual. Many recovery services offer emergency recovery and will work around-the-clock to repair your drive as quickly as possible.

If time isn’t of the essence, you can expect recovery to take as little as two days. Most businesses will update you with an expected delivery time within forty-eight hours.

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