Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

How does Drivefish give you the best chance of recovery?

January 13th, 2009 No comments

When your disk arrives at the DriveFish headquarters, your order is scanned into our secured database (you’ll get an email letting you know we received it) and then assigned to an engineer. Then begins a process that is designed to make sure the integrity of your data is not compromised.

The notes you made about you disk are read and interpreted to help us understand whether the issue is logical or physical. If the issue is probably logical, your disk is immediately cloned to a hard drive we know is in perfect working order. This ensures that when we get to work trying to put your file system back in order, that we don’t aggravate any latent physical or hardware issues with the disk you sent in. Many recovery companies don’t bother doing this because it does take a long time and just adds another step to the recovery process. Anyone that you deal with should be able to promise you that this step will occur and that they know how to do it properly. Cloning is a must. The next time you power on the disk could be its last to work properly!

If the issue seems to be physical or hardware based (from reading your comments about the disk), we will do a disk inspection before spinning the drive up in an attempt to clone it. We will check the circuit boards, the power supply the internals (read/write heads, spindle, head actuator) and the platters – all in a clean room environment. One key thing we are looking for is a head crash. Not only will we check the surface of the platters for damage but will check the pillows (filters) under a microscope for any indication of magnetic coating on the filter. If we see any indication of a head crash – the process stops there and the disk is carefully put back together so we can advise you to go with an advanced recovery. We will never jeopardize your chances of recovery by trying to resolve a head crash here at DriveFish. That is not a job for us but rather our partner DriveSavers.  Read more here about why this is important.

If there is no indication of a head crash we will solve the electronics or motor problem(s) if present, put the disk back together and attempt to clone the drive. The point is we never will just sit there powering your drive up and down trying to get it to mount. It is very important to take powering a malfunctioning drive very seriously – and at DriveFish we do just that! This ensures that regardless of whether we collect a fee, you can count on us to ensure your best chance of recovery.

$9500 for a Recovery?!

December 2nd, 2008 No comments

It happens more often than you might think.  A poor soul send their disk to a “world class recovery specialist that has been in business over 300 years” and gets taken for all they can afford. It works like this: Promises are made to recover the data for a low price, the disk is delivered to the promise making party, the price is raised – many times based on the emotional state of the customer, the customer ends up paying a ridiculous amount for recovery.

Please don’t fall victim to this! Be sure you have a clear view of all prices and markups before doing business. Be sure you ask the right questions. We have seen “estimates” for single volume disks without massive hardware issues totaling over $9500. Luckilly, that customer opted out and sent the drive to us. If you want to be taken care of without the hassle, give us a call.

Tales from the Darkside

June 14th, 2008 No comments

At least once a week, we receive a submission that had previously been sent to another recovery company – generally because of false promises and lowball quotes. The following are some of the most insane stories we have received from clients who attempted to do business with less than reputable companies. We have tons of these and it truly was tough picking our “favorites”. We will withold the company names but hope that you will choose very carefully when picking a data recovery partner to work with!

We received a disk from a teacher in Texas who had been told by another firm they could do the recovery for $199. Because the company was in Dallas the teacher tried in good faith to do business locally. When they received his disk he waited over a week for a call claiming that the recovery was more advanced that previously thought. He told them he had received a firm price of $199 and couldn’t afford more than that. When he asked them to send the disk back, they claimed there was a $100 “fee” for diagnosing the drive. Their diagnosis was that the “motor had failed” and that they would need around $700 for parts PLUS the $199 he was quoted. When he refused to pay the “fee” that he was never told about they tried to KEEP his hard drive as ransom! It took threats to the “owner” of the company and 2 certified letters to get the disk back – and only then after agreeing to split the fee and pay them $50. When we received the disk it was covered in stickers with this companies logo on it and a big red X written in permanent marker on the case. Expecting to have to replace the motor, the disk was disasembled and prepared for a motor swap. We found that the motor was working perfectly! The disk was put back together, cloned and within a few hours We completed a full recovery.

A nice girl who was in class at the University of Colorado at Boulder sent us a submission previously sent to another company who lowballed the price and tried to raise it to $2200 once she sent it in. While they gave her no problems when she opted out, when she received the disk she claimed there were DENTS in the case that werent there before. She called us in a panic: “Can they do that?” We of course arent sure they DID but wow – to think they might have tried to damage the disk before sending it back! There were significant hardware issues with the drive but we managed to set her up with all of her lost files – including one key research paper!

Another customer sent us a disk with an email that had us laughing for days. It was a copy of the “diagnosis” from her initial choice of recovery companies. We hear technical double-speak all the time. Companies will use it to confuse the customer and make them think the issue is severely technical and over their heads. This reduces the likelihood that the customer will ask questions or want answers. This techno-jabber however, took the cake:

“…unstable causation unit allowing intermittent access, furthermore causing read errors/logical problems, affecting file system structures within the static loader, etc.  We need to manually rebuild the seeker corridor and decompile corrupted file-system components, adjust file pointers by at least 10 degrees and mount the recovered volume(s) before retrieving data.”

Naturally they tried to raise the price and she opted out. When we received the drive, there were no real issues and we completed a full recovery for her. There definitely wasn’t any trouble with the “static loader” !

We have had a few customers whos disks were LOST. Literally. One account stands out because of how flagrant the negligence was. A computer tech sent a clients disk in to a fly by night company he found on the web with an air carrier and tracking number. The disk was delivered and he even received an email from the company confirming this. After a week or so he wrote in asking about the progress and got no response. It took him another week to finally get a response saying they had “misplaced” his disk and were looking for it. He finally got fed up and demanded answers. They claimed that it had never been delivered. When confromted with the tracking number they said it must have accidentally been thrown away. Finally the guy got a call from ANOTHER recovery company claiming they had his disk, had managed a partial recovery and wanted a credit card number as payment. His disk had been outsourced without his knowledge and he was kept totally in the dark! He was more fortunate than some others whos disks were never found. After he paid the company who called him, he received a bill a few days later for over twice the price from the company who lost his disk! When he had need for another recovery, he called us with this story. We promised him he would never have the same problem with us and he has been a great customer ever since.

Be careful who you do business with!

USB Enclosure? Priceless!

December 9th, 2007 No comments

While you can always set the jumpers on a hard drive you want to recover and slave it in an exsisting system, it is much easier to use a USB enclosure to connect a hard drive to your system for testing/diagnosis. When hooking directly to the system, you risk the integrity of the connections and hardware inside the case. If you are looking for a better way – go pick up a USB enclosure from a local computer store (try to find a locally owned shop) and use that instead!

If you want to order online, here are some good prices:

The only thing you need to be concered with when buying is the connection type of your hard drive.  Generally they are either SATA or PATA (IDE). You need to buy the type that supports your type of hard drive.


PATA (IDE) is on the top, SATA is on the bottom.

Once you connect your disk, simply plug the USB cable into your computer to access (or attempt to access!) the data.