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Maybe DIY Data Recovery Isn’t Always a Good Idea

Reading through the stats of our recent SSD Survey, I realized that DIY data recovery might not always be the best answer. Now, you might say that I’m jumping to conclusions, but there is some evidence to suggest that DIY recovery isn’t always the best solution. We’ll need a lot more data to see a clear connection, so for now these are my own thoughts.

Survey Background

In May 2016, Kroll Ontrack conducted a global survey on SSD market proliferation and failure during use. We had over 600 U.S. respondents and close to 2,000 responses worldwide.

One of the key findings shows that 38 percent of respondents experienced a failure while using an SSD. Was it the SSD’s fault? In majority of the cases, no. Physical damage accounted for 24 percent of the failures, 16 percent were due to a power surge/outage, 15 percent responded that the SSD reached its write limit, eight percent were due to a software/firmware update, and 38 percent responded “other.” (I read through those responses from the U.S. and found: “Random failure; no longer recognized; and just stopped working” as some of the responses.  Majority of them were “unknown.”)

Notably, we found that within the group of respondents who experienced a failure, 64 percent experienced data loss.

Was the data recovered?

One question we asked, “Were you able to recover your data?” really intrigued me. Being in the data recovery business, this is something I want to know. I was surprised that only 17 percent answered with a confident “Yes,” while 27 percent answered “Partially” and 32 percent answered “No.” (There was a further 24 percent who reported not even attempting recovery.)

I started to wonder why most weren’t able to recover all of their data. Are SSD recoveries more challenging than a traditional HDD recovery? Technically, they are, but our in-house data recovery team has had a lot of success recovering full data sets from SSD failures. Could it be these respondents had damage that was just too severe? Possibly, but 59 percent is still a lot of people who weren’t able to fully recover their data considering our internal success rate with SSDs.

DIY Data Recovery = 73%

I found a very plausible answer to my question looking at survey results further down. When asked, “How was the recovery performed?” 73 percent of respondents who lost data and attempted recovery indicated that they or their company tried to recover the data on their own. That’s a lot of do-it-yourselfers out there.

That’s not to say it can’t be done, because there are definitely scenarios where data can be recovered successfully using a DIY data recovery software. If the SSD which experienced a data loss was still working properly and they called into Kroll Ontrack, one of our specialists would list software as an option for recovery. So of all of the respondents who were using a DIY data recovery solution, did their drives fall within a DIY recovery scenario? Could more have reported a full recovery if they consulted with a professional data recovery service first?

What do you think? Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!

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