How does it work? How much does it cost?
Data recovery is the process of copying data off of storage media that is failing in some way. Media like hard drives, SD cards, SSDs fail in many different ways. We use a variety of hardware and software tools to help gain access your data and copy it to a working drive.
Drives can fail because the software that runs the drive gets confused or corrupted. Drives can fail because the sectors on the drive get damaged. Drives can fail because of mechanical problems. Drives can fail due to firmware or other failures in the controller board. They can fail in many other ways.
Because media can fail in so many different ways, we need to first evaluate how your media has failed to determine how labor intensive the recovery process will be. It’s $75 to check in the media for evaluation: we determine how your media has failed, if we can get a full or partial recovery, and how much it will cost to recover the data. When we give you this quote, you can decide if you want to proceed or not. If you decide not to proceed, you do not owe us any more money and you can pick up your media. If you decide to proceed, we will then recover your data at the quoted price. Although rare, occasionally we cannot recover the data. In that case you would not have to pay the recovery fee just the $75 evaluation fee.
|Macs, Hard Drives, and SSDs||Price|
|Data Recovery Diagnostic (per drive)||$75|
|Rush - Data Recovery Diagnostic Fee||$200|
|Data Recovery Labor||$300-$1200|
|Data Recovery for iPhones, Flash Drives, Memory Cards||Price|
|iPhone Data Recovery Diagnostic||$75|
|Rush iPhone Data Recovery Diagnostic||$200|
|iPhone Data Recovery, Tier 1||$300|
|iPhone Data Recovery, Tier 2||$400|
|Flash Drive/Memory Card Data Recovery Diagnostic||$75|
|Flash Drive Data Recovery||$300|
Q. What type of media can you recover from?
We can recover from the following:
- Hard drives and Solid State Drives (SSDs) in Macs, Windows or Linux
- T2 Security Chip Macs
- Macs with soldered-on storage
- External Hard Drives
- RAID drives
- Fusion drives
- SD and Compact Flash Cards
- Flash Drives
- iPhone 4 and above
Q. What is the difference between data recovery and a data transfer?
If a hard drive is healthy, the data can be transferred from the drive. If the hard drive is experiencing issues, it is failing and a data transfer cannot be done. When a hard drive fails, data recovery is required to extract any data from it.
Q. How much does data recovery cost?
The data recovery diagnostic is $75 per drive. After the diagnostic is performed, we contact you with a data recovery quote. The quote is dependent on how much labor is involved. Recoveries range between $300-$1200 in addition to the diagnostic fee. When we call you with a quote, you can decide if you wish to proceed with the recovery. Some types of recovery have a flat rate in addition to the diagnostic fee: deleted data cases, SD card, and Compact Flash recoveries are a $300 flat rate; iOS recoveries are a flat rate of either $300 or $400. RAID recoveries have custom pricing based on a variety of factors.
Q. Do you offer a student or education discount?
We do! If you are a college student or an educator, we offer 50% off the recovery rate ($150-$600 instead of $300-$1200). A school ID, transcript, or paystub is required. This discount does not apply to: diagnostic fees or flat rate recoveries for iPhones, iPads, SD cards, CompactFlash cards, or flash drives.
Q. What are the chances you can get my data back?
We have a 80% success rate. If we cannot recover your data, we can send your drive to our lab partner, DriveSavers (www.drivesavers.com) for a free evaluation.
Q. How long does data recovery take?
This depends on how many recoveries we are working on and how difficult the data recovery is. A typical timeframe, from drop off of your hard drive to pickup, is 5-7 days.
Q. Is there a way to expedite my data recovery?
Yes! We offer expedited service. Instead of a $75 diagnostic fee, the Rush Diagnostic is $200. The Rush Diagnostic allows you to cut the line and your recovery is worked on immediately instead of being placed in line. While the speed of the recovery is dependent on the health of the drive, the average Rush Recovery is completed within 1-3 business days. Just like any recovery, we still call with a quote. You are not obligated to proceed with the recovery even though you paid for a Rush Diagnostic.
Q. Can you recover my applications?
Maybe. Applications included with macOS or OS X (like Photos, iMovie, Safari, etc.) are easily re-installable so we don’t try to recover them from your data because they could be corrupt. The data created in those applications (like your Photos library, for instance) is what we aim to recover. If you have purchased applications (such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite, etc.), you should be prepared to reinstall them.
Q. Will my files be organized the way they were before my drive crashed?
In most cases, the organization can be recovered. If we are recovering data from and repairing your Mac, we try to make your data look they way it did before the drive failed. The one situation where it is difficult to recover the organization (and filenames) is when we recover data that has been deleted from your drive.
Q. Will my data recovery be more expensive because I have a larger drive?
In most cases, no. Our data recovery quotes are not dependent on the size of the drive.
Q. Can you recover data that was deleted?
We are sometimes able to recover deleted data. If your data was deleted, turn off your computer or disconnect the external hard drive immediately and do not turn it back on. The longer the computer or drive stays powered on, the less of a chance we have of recovering the data. Computers with solid state drives are typically less recoverable in our experience due to the underlying nature in which SSDs operate.
Q. What happens if you can’t recover my data?
If we are not able to recover your data, you do not pay anything besides the diagnostic fee. If we cannot recover your data, we can send your drive to our lab partner, DriveSavers (www.drivesavers.com) for a free evaluation.
Q. How do I get my data back?
You can choose how you get your data back! Your target drive can be an external hard drive, a flash drive, a DVD, onto a new Mac, or onto your repaired Mac if we are also replacing your Mac’s hard drive. If we are putting your recovered data onto your Mac, we try to make your data look as close as possible to how it did before the drive failed.
Q. Do I have to buy a target drive or can I bring an external hard drive to transfer my recovered data onto?
You are welcome to supply your own external hard drive for us to use as a target as long as you trust it to safely hold your data and it is blank or okay to be erased. If you do not have one, we sell external hard drives from several leading brands such as Glyph, LaCie, G-Drive, and Seagate.
Q. Does AppleCare+ cover data recovery?
Data recovery is not covered by AppleCare+. AppleCare+ does cover the replacement of the hard drive but not the data. We can recover your data and then replace your drive under AppleCare+.
Q. What is the best way to backup my data?
Your data should be backed up in more than one location. We recommend backing up to at least one physical location (such as an external hard drive) and one cloud location. While it is rare for your computer’s hard drive and your backup drive to fail at the same time, we have seen it happen. Other reasons to consider more than one location for a backup are theft, loss, flooding, or power surges. You can never be too careful and have too many backups! We are big fans of Time Machine as well as cloud services such as iCloud, Backblaze, and Crash Plan.
Q. How often should I backup my data?
The answer is as often as you need to. Most home users are OK if they lose the last week’s data or so. Others with home businesses often don’t want to lose a day. Stock exchanges back up every second because they can’t afford to lose a second’s worth of their data. The most important thing is to backup regularly. A lot of our customers who get data recovery done actually have a backup but it’s been too long since they backed up. If you have an iMac, iMac Pro, or Mac Mini, we recommend an external hard drive that is always plugged in as your Time Machine backup; it backs up once an hour automatically. You can also use an external hard drive as the Time Machine backup for your laptop, but it requires you to remember to connect the drive regularly—And the time you forget is often the time that your drive will crash. Time Machine runs in the background when your Time Machine drive is connected; you can use your computer while it backs up! In fact, the more often you backup, the less time it takes since Time Machine only backs up the changes made since your last backup.
Q. Can you recover data from a clicking hard drive?
We can! Clicking indicates a mechanical issue which may require a clean room (also frequently called a lab) for recovery. The hardware we use for data recovery allows us to pinpoint where data lives on the hard drive. Sometimes, the drive only clicks when accessing certain areas of the drive and it is possible there is no data on that part of the drive! All cases are different but clicking does not mean you are doomed to pay a higher cost for a lab recovery.
Q. What is a clean room?
A clean room (also frequently called a lab) is a highly sterile work environment where the temperature and humidity are controlled. Clean room environments are air-filtered to protect drives from contamination from airborne particles. Why does a drive need to be protected from dust or other airborne particles? Inside your drive, there are platters that spin thousands of times a minute. Magnetic heads sit right above these platters to read and write data but they never touch. The tiniest speck of dust touching the inner workings of a hard drive can mean permanent data loss.
Q. Do you have a clean room?
Yes, we have a clean room! Only about 20% of recoveries fail in such a way that a clean room is required. These are among the most labor-intensive procedures, and final costs can vary considerably depending on current market prices of donor drives required to complete the recovery process.
Q. I think I need data recovery. What should I do (or not do)?
If the drive is in your computer, you should not turn it on anymore. If it is an external hard drive, you should not power it on or connect it to your computer. If it’s in pieces, bring us all the pieces. If you need data that has been deleted, turn off the device immediately and do not turn it back on. Do not use data recovery software, even those marketed to be professional level software.
Q. Can I use Data Rescue or other data recovery software to recover data myself?
We cannot stress enough that you should not attempt to recover data with data recovery software. The best attempt at recovering data is the first attempt. Using recovery software as a first attempt can further damage your data. We have seen an unfortunate number of cases where the customer attempted to recover data with data recovery software first and when they were unsuccessful, they brought it to us and there was only so much we could do. While these cases are not necessarily lost causes, they are more prone to results like partial recoveries, more labor-intensive and costly recoveries, unorganized or corrupt data, or worst of all: an unsuccessful recovery. The reason for this is the more the hard drive spins, the more stress it puts on the drive. If it is a mechanical failure, stressing the drive could actually grind the data away! Not to say using recovery software is bad practice; after all, we do use it in some recoveries but only AFTER we use hardware tools to safely image the contents of your drive onto a functional drive.