If you Google search “cheap or low-cost” data recovery you are likely to come up with a slew of sites claiming that they can do data recovery for as low as $199, sometimes even as low as $150. Given this, you might be wondering, why am I now being asked to pay hundreds or sometimes even thousands of dollars for my data recovery job? Or, if you are just beginning your recovery exploration, you might be wondering if these offers are right for you. We wanted to share some thoughts on why you should or shouldn’t use one of these companies because we care about what is best for you and your valuable data, as I am sure you do too!
Tl;dr – The $199 companies are only appropriate for extremely uncomplicated software issues. However, if you have anything even slightly more complex like mechanical, electrical, or even minor sector damage, $199 companies will not be able to help you.
At Flashback Data, we offer a No Data, No Fee Guarantee.
When is $199 is not right for you?
First of all, if you have a drive that no longer is recognized in your operating system or is making clicking sounds, stop right there. These inexpensive data recovery companies will not be able to help you. Most of these companies are not capable of recovering in situations where the drive is actually not registered by the operating system. When this happens, the $199 companies will usually tell you one of two things:
- “Your drive is unrecoverable.”This might be true, but keep in mind, a lot of times it isn’t What might actually be happening is that they do not have the equipment to recover your data. So if you hear this, never fear, there is still hope! Or they will say…
- “We need to send it out to someone else”When they say this it is again because they do not have the equipment to recover your hard drive’s issue so they need to send it out to a firm that does, like ours! However, this is not always ideal for you. $199 companies naturally want to make some profit for their handling of the situation so often they will add additional cost on top of the outsourced work. In the end, their quote will end up at least 10 times higher than what they originally stated. In other words, you could save yourself $300 and “outsource” your job yourself to a company with the proper equipment for your issue.
If you do decide to go with the $199 company be sure to ask them these questions or you may be putting your data at risk:
- Security – Can you view their lab? Where is the recovery taking place? You want to make sure your data is safe from predators that might take advantage of it.
- How long they have been in business? Data Recovery takes years of experience to become a reliable source. For example, our engineers have almost 15 years of experience recovering data.
- Do they charge if they can’t recover the data? Paying $199 for recovered data is a steal. However, paying $199 if they are unable to recover is less of a deal. Most firms with more resources, like ours, will only charge you for your data if a successful amount is recovered.
- Do they have a clean room on site to work on physically damaged drives? Hard drives are incredibly sensitive machines. An improper environment could damage your data forever. If a company is going to open a drive in any way, that drive is ONLY SAFE if it is in a Clean Room facility, like ours. Most $199 place do not have the resources for such an expensive facility.
- Can they fix damaged electronics or flash-based devices? Often, the smaller a piece of electronics is the more difficult it is to work on. So, chances are… if they can work on flash drives or fix complicated electrical issues…they can also work on more complicated hard drive issues; such as mechanical or electrical failure.
Generally speaking, the $199 companies are only appropriate for extremely uncomplicated software issues. However, if you have anything even slightly more complex like mechanical, electrical, or even minor sector damage, sadly,…
$199 Companies will not be able to help you.
If your data is valuable to you it is likely not worth the risk if your drive has particularly complex issues. Think about it like heart surgery (hard drives certainly have the capacity to be similarly complicated). The $199 services are like the general nurses. They are able to give you shots, take your heart beat, etc; but they wouldn’t necessarily be capable to do open heart surgery, nor would you want them to. Firms like ours are hard drive specialists because they can help with really difficult procedures. And like most things, specialists are the best at what they do and work with the best equipment, and that that is why their services cost more.
The engineers at Flashback Data have over 15 years of experience and everyone on our team cares just as much about your data as you do! Here are just a few other valuable resources we have that $199 usually do not:
- 24/7 video surveillance
- 4 zone Biometric access with man trap into the lab
- All employees are FBI background checked through the Texas Department of Public Safety and are licensed private investigators.
- Our lab has a steel evidence cage with video and motion detectors surrounding it for devices involved in litigation
- We have Class 10 (ISO Level 4) and Class 100 (ISO Level 5) Laminar flow clean workstations
- We are the only Lab in the world with the same accreditation as the FBI and DEA for handling digital evidence – ASCLD/LAB (ISO 17025)
AND REMEMBER, if the drive makes strange noises, smells burnt, won’t spin, or any other odd physical symptom, DO NOT KEEP TURNING IT ON, this could cause more and more damage to your dive.
When $199 is right for you?
- When your data is not very valuable and you don’t want to try over-the-counter data recovery software yourself.
- When you know that your drive only suffers from a failure related to the file system and not anything related to physical or electrical damage to the drive
- When you do not care about the security of the facility that you are sending it to, or the security of the data
What about over the Counter Data Recovery Software?
In general, we don’t recommend trying to run over-the-counter data recovery software. BUT if you have the ability to connect your drive in an external USB caddy or enclosure and install trial software (you can find many data recovery utilities by Google searching) on a different computer, you may be able to see if you can recover the data on your own for much less than $199. However, if there is anything more complicated going on; sadly, no amount of Google or store-bought software will save you. Again, this is where we can help.
Flashback data is in the business of getting people’s data back at a fair honest price, and unfortunately, sometimes that price is high. Data recovery is an expensive business to run and an expensive process.
If your data is very valuable, please be careful who you send it to. We feel terrible for people when they come back to us after trying the cheaper options. We have many testimonials of people who almost lost their job or the entire business or even irreplaceable pictures from the first years of their child’s life. If your data is irreplaceable, use a respectable data recovery lab.
Again, we truly care about data loss and do not want you to get in a bind with someone that may not have the capabilities that are needed for your situation. We are even happy to recommend a reputable company that we know can help you out if you do not want to use us.
If you want to see more about us and actual video of the inside of our lab see the following links: