In my last blog I recounted how we managed to recover the data from a multiple hard drive RAID array AFTER two different European data recovery companies had failed. In that situation, we were the white knight, coming in to save the data where others had failed. But recently, we were painted as the villain for performing similar data recovery magic right here in Toronto. In fact, the title of this blog came from our 1st ever negative Google review as a result of this recent case.
To summarize, we received a 2.5” Western Digital WD hard drive for data recovery. The particular model drive sent in, has a USB3 interface built onto its PCB (printed circuit board) and it does not have typical SATA connections. From experience, we have found that data recovery imaging utilities (both in-house written and commercial) work terribly with USB interfaced hard drives. As a result, we don’t attempt to access or image USB3 type WD drives using their native USB PCB. Instead, we have learned how to convert a particular standard WD SATA PCB to work with these native USB drives.
So when we received this case, we immediately converted one of SATA PCBs to work with this drive. The conversion process required us to remove one small 8 pin programmable chip from the client’s original USB3 PCB and transfer it onto our SATA PCB. Once we did this, we were able to evaluate the drive fully and concluded that the drive had bad heads and likely minor disk damage. We contacted the client and quoted them $1300, which they declined. We transferred the client’s 8 pin chip back to their original PCB and returned the drive to the client.
The client then took it to another data recovery company who claimed it was unrecoverable because we had damaged the PCB and furthermore we left solder paste around the 8 pin chip and were thus “VERY AMATEURISH”. Ok we forgot some totally inconsequential solder paste on the PCB. But we never once applied power to the PCB so the claim we damaged it seemed unfounded. Of course there was a chance we damaged the small 8 pin chip so we suggested the client bring it back to us. They did; we removed the chip and verified it’s functionality using a chip reader. While it was here, we re-established the fact that we could still recover the data, but again the client did not want to pay us anything and left with their drive intact but with no solder paste residue to complain about.
Apparently, the client then went to KROLL ONTRACK, “the industry leader and the largest data recovery provider in Canada and in the world”. The client claims they also declared the drive unrecoverable due to the same “damaged” PCB.
The client then came back to us, and we again re-iterated that we had not damaged anything, and we could still recover the data for him. In fact, just to keep our good guy image alive, we offered to reduce the cost by $300. At 1st the client accepted thinking we offered the recovery at $300. But when he realized we weren’t giving it away and still required $1000 to complete the recovery he declined and created his mean spirited Google complaint.
Whether this client was trying to get a free recovery or not, I don’t know, or care, but in the end I am aghast that 2 other professional data recovery companies in Toronto cannot recover the data from a situation where we regularly do.
It helps to realize, that the world wide data recovery industry has no standards, no way of knowing a company’s competency, or a company’s integrity. There are lots of bad guys waiting to take your money for very little in return and many posers issuing inaccurate statements about what is recoverable and what is not. The damage they can cause is inexcusable. I have heard it said that something like 70% of small companies that lose their data permanently are out of business within 6 months. Don’t be one of them!
If your data is important, don’t believe the 1st “It’s UNRECOVERABLE” that you hear. Data recovery companies and technicians are not created equal. Please seek a 2nd or 3rd or 4th opinion, or maybe you should just come to Memofix Data Recovery Services first.