Data Recovery Services vs. DIY (Do It Yourself)
Responsibility for Unsuccessful Recovery
Data recovery in a dedicated service shop differs from DIY (Do It Yourself) data recovery mainly in the fact that in DIY recovery there is more chance to irreversibly corrupt something. If so, when choosing a data recovery you should be guided by considerations about responsibility for the unsuccessful recovery. For example, if the data is yours and the only person who will be upset in case of insufficient recovery is you, then you can certainly try to recover the data yourself. It is quite another thing when you recover data not for yourself, but for someone else.
In case of a successful recovery you will become a hero, but you have a little chance to revel in glory if something is even slightly damaged. The necessary equipment is expensive and requires special skills that can be only obtained by experience in disassembling the real hard drives. Briefly speaking, it means that before you are able to repair a hard drive at home you have surely killed a couple of them in training.
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Data Recovery is Not for The Sake of Data
Another aspect that is not so obvious at the first glance is the fact that data recovery is not always done for the sake of data, but sometimes data recovery involves obtaining legal evidence. If the data is involved in any litigation or forensic investigation, it is essential that a data recovery service has appropriate certificates and therefore its word would be accepted in court.
On the one hand, all people know that data recovery at home is cheaper than in a data recovery lab. However, there are several aspects which are overlooked.
- data recovery in a lab is expensive however the “no data – no fee” policy (which most services adhere to) allows you to save money in case data recovery doesn’t bring acceptable result. If you choose DIY recovery, then cost of unsuccessful recovery may be even higher since you will try more and more ways until you admit defeat.
- When recovering data at home, a few people really consider opportunity cost. Roughly speaking, on the one hand there are your time and effort you spend to recover data on your own, on the other hand – estimated price of a particular data recovery lab.
- In case of a large storage you need to buy or borrow a lot of various complex and expensive hardware which you may never use in the future. If, for example, you deal with a 24 disks array most likely you don’t have a PC to which you can connect so many disks simultaneously. More than that, if you would purchase such a PC, it is unclear for what it can be used after the recovery.
The requirements to the operator’s skills depend directly on the data which is needed to recover. In case of typical data recovery from a RAW filesystem drive, it is enough to know how to install software as an administrator, identify a failed drive and partition and then organize copying the recovered data properly (not to write to the same disk).
If we are talking about RAID array, the recovery of which will almost certainly require connecting the disks either to a PC’s motherboard directly (recommended option) or via USB, an operator should know how hardware is organized. In this case first you have to remove disks from an array – disconnect them from a controller or get out of a NAS. Then connect them to the ports on the motherboard or set up the connection via USB, and provide free space to store the recovered data.
Note that among the requirements to the operator’s skills there is no a requirement to be able to use data recovery software. This is because there is plenty of such software both for advanced users with many features and for those who want to recover data by just clicking one button. Under such conditions, anyone can find something to work with.
If you have skills needed in your particular case, safely try DIY data recovery. Even if you have a rough idea what to do, still try to recover data at home, but before getting to recover data, consult with a geek you know. Typically, people even without special skills manage to recover data at home.
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In this sense, large data recovery services are more reliable than the small ones since they bear legal responsibility for disclosure of confidential customer data.
One of the DIY recovery advantages is that it is faster to try: you download a piece of software and some time later you either get data or not. It is interesting that if you can’t get data for the first time, it doesn’t mean that the data is unrecoverable. Possibly, this particular software you used had not worked and you should try another one. Therefore, in case of unsuccessful first attempt, the recovery time increases for an indefinite period.
Usually, the recovery time in case of a data recovery service is known in advance. The full recovery time includes the time needed a lab to recover data which you are provided immediately after the case evaluation and the shipping time. Surely, at first glance it seems that data recovery in a lab takes more time than DIY; however, service recovery time is more certain rather than the recovery time at home.
Thus, the conclusion – for typical data recovery cases it is faster to try DIY data recovery, that is run data recovery software like free Recuva or advanced ReclaiMe File Recovery software and see what it brings. If you need that the recovery time would be known in advance or you will have to answer for the failure of recovery time, it is better to contact a lab and get data back (or an answer that the data is unrecoverable) slowly but for a specific time.