Some typical recovery jobs we perform...
8/30/2016: I've done several dozen significant data recovery jobs since moving home but failed to write anything about any of them. My favorite, though, was a simple one: A couple had travelled to Asia and had captured their entire trip with a new camera (and new SD card). When they returned home, they were unable to retrieve any photos from their card. I actually see this quite a bit, and the reason is typically a counterfeit SD card (cry in your beer time). This time we got lucky, the card was corrupt but the data was all retrievable.
4/4/2016 D.M.: 120GB drive which had been formatted/overwritten. He took it to another shop that told him they couldn't see his data. Reformatted drives are the greatest challenge, I was able to retrieve quite a few photos and some documents, but music and tax files were mostly unrecoverable. $99.
3/14/2016 J.R.: His notebook had trouble booting and sure enough the drive had reallocated sectors and pending reallocations. A simple clone of the drive wouldn't work due to read errors, so we imaged the drive using one of our D/R rigs, and then cloned THAT drive to a new SSD drive. Now his notebook boots much more quickly and the only file that we couldn't get was a PDF file from a hardware manufacturer (which can be easily replaced). $99 plus the SSD drive.
3/14/2016 M.L.: Passport 1TB hard drive. Unfortunately, this drive is unrecoverable, at least by me. I'm told it was nearly full but had the rough life of a portable drive and may have taken a few falls/hard knocks. I stopped on this one because the client said it was nearly full, and the sounds of the drive convinced me that there is a magnetic dust cloud inside the cavity from a head crashing the media. I don't think a national outfit could recover this drive either but I'm leaving open the possibility and returning the drive to the client.
3/9/2016 J.N.: Macbook hard drive (500-GB) with substantial physical damage. Imaging took 5.5 days and recovery results were 8585 incomplete files (of 461164), or 1.86%.
Put another way, 26056987995 bytes of 102284291778 (25.48%) were incomplete. When you see a large swing between those percentages, it is telling you that the larger the file, the less likely a complete recovery of that file is possible. That is because larger files are more likely to have been at least partially located in areas where the head likely skidded across the media. This one cost $129.
2/18/2016 T.J.: Dell Notebook with 1TB hard drive, often refusing to come ready and going off-line as soon as you tried to read data when it finally did come ready. Was able to image the drive by tweaking the firmware. Retrieved almost everything, missed some inconsequential files that were simply unreadable, though., $159.
2/4/2016 M.P.: A 4GB flash drive was unrecognized in his computers. I have special hardware for this, and was able to access his data. $59 and I was done same-day.
1/29/2016 J.G.: Vista stopped booting due to bad sectors on the hard drive. Was able to recover his data, install a new SSD into his Dell, and upgrade his O/S for about $300. A great performer and quite a bit more use out of his PC.
1/22/2016 A.B.: This is a work in progress. Western Digital 1TB Passport (USB) drive that was dropped. I'm getting a fairly decent image, but it is just crawling along. Lawns grow and paint dries faster. It is actually quite difficult to resist the temptation to interrupt the process and see what I've got. Looks like another 2-3 days. Oh well... UPDATE: Lots of physical damage to the drive, 3.92% of the files are not recoverable. A list was provided to the client, waiting to hear whether they'd like the successfully recovered data or not.
1/11/2016 S.V.: Toshiba notebook was dead, wanted files from password-protected hard drive. Passwords I was provided weren't working. Customer picked up machine right as I was about to unlock the hard drive using my data recovery software. They decided to try finding an identical machine on eBay to see if that would work. Not sure they will save much money going that route, I would have charged $99, but...
1/7/2016 C.B. (Corporate): Seagate 1TB drive with platter problems. Was able to recover 99.999999% (the only thing I didn't get, nobody would want). $258, as the client paid a $99 rush charge (done in two days).
1/4/2016 G.O.: Pinwheeling Mac refused to boot. Drive indicated dozens of g-shocks (bumps to the system when the drive was running). Imaged the drive, loaded the image on a NEW 480-GB SSD, fixed some previous attempts at filesystem repair, upgraded to El Capitan, all for $407 (which included the new SSD). Works great, documents and photos are preserved, machine boots quickly. Most any other recovery outfit would have charged more than this just to recover the data, for $407 we recovered the data and UPGRADED the machine.
12/30/2015 J.C.: Failure. The reality is, some drives are simply not recoverable. In this case, a Macbook Pro with water damage. The hard drive is (was?) an SSD with PCI-E interface. Water nailed the SSD's board in several spots, there were 5-6 spots where water contributed to component damage. No charge, a tip was graciously offered for my troubles and was politely declined. No data, no do-re-mi.