Data Recovery 101: Improving Your Chances of a Successful Data Recovery

Thursday, 28 October 2021 by Ontrack Team


This is the finale of Ontrack’s Data Recovery 101 training series, a collection of blog posts designed to help identify device failures and data loss scenarios that may need professional data recovery service.

Over the course of this series, we’ve discussed various ways in which data loss can occur, including contrasts between logical and physical data loss as well as common signs of potential failure in hard drives (HHDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). Now that you’ve been equipped to spot data loss, there’s only one thing left to do: take the proper steps to ensure a successful recovery.

Improving Recovery Success: Physical Damage

Burnt Hard Drive

As previously discussed, physical damage can take on many forms, including a variety of odd noises, liquid damage, and fire damage. Should you find yourself with a physically damaged device, there are important measures to consider as a means of preventing further harm.

  • Never shake, disassemble, or attempt to clean a damaged device.
  • If a device is visibly damaged, do not attempt to operate it.
  • Turn off the device immediately. Further operation could damage data beyond repair.
  • Do not use recovery software.
  • Try not to remove the hard drive from desktop computers or laptops that have suffered fire damage.
  • Never use heat sources to dry liquid-damaged media.

Improving Recovery Success: Logical Damage

When it comes to logical damage, the best course of action is to shut down your device and get it into the hands of a data recovery expert immediately. The longer a logically damaged device is kept running, the higher the odds of permanent data loss.

Ontrack’s Top Tips for Data Recovery


No matter the circumstance, there are five tips to keep top of mind when data loss strikes:

  1. Stop
    Once data loss occurs, your best bet is to stop what you’re doing and take note of what happened. The more specific you can be, the better.


  2. Don’t Panic
    Take a moment to assess all your options before taking action. Spontaneous behavior may make the situation worse.


  3. DIY…With Caution
    Let’s be clear: You should never try DIY methods with physically damaged media. However, in logical cases, it may be safe to use data recovery software at the suggestion of professionals. Speaking of which…


  4. Call A Professional

    You’ll likely need expert advice regarding what to do about data loss. Ontrack’s data recovery engineers are available for initial consultations and device evaluations to provide a proper scope of damage, free of charge. 

  5. Package Safely When Shipping to A Recovery Service

If your damaged device needs to be shipped to a recovery service location, proper packaging will make all the difference. Typically, you’ll need to pack the device in a box roughly twice its size fand fill it with bubble wrap or newspaper as cushioning. If your device has water or fire damage, don’t attempt to dry or clean it yourself. Simply place it in a sealed plastic bag to prevent further contamination.

This concludes our Data Recovery 101 series. Whether your data loss scenario stems from an everyday occurrence or your device falls victim to a once-in-a-lifetime accident, Ontrack is equipped to provide successful recovery from any make, model, brand, or operating system. Start your free evaluation today and let us determine the best course of action to help you get your data back.