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Is data recovery the same as storage repair?

In this blog, we explain why data recovery is not the same as storage repair. 

A couple of days ago, our service team in Germany received an email from a customer that showed there is still a long way to go in regards to educating people about data recovery.

The email

Dear xxxxx,

At the beginning of November 2018, you sent me back the repaired hard disk (cause of the error: no drive detection). The PC now recognises the drive and I was able to access the data. In the following days, it recognised the drive again, but I couldn’t access the hard disk anymore.

I would like to send you the hard drive back again with the request that you check it in your system and send me feedback on its status. The second hard disk I have purchased from you cannot be unlocked. I have tried all possibilities, unfortunately, I did not succeed. I have written down the steps for unlocking in the appendix. Also here I beg for your help.

Please also check whether I still have warranty claims for my request.

Friendly greets from,

Xxxxx xxxxx

In the case above, the customer is making a major misconception: the original hard drive that was sent in to have data recovered from has been repaired.

This is not the case. Of course, on some occasions, the Ontrack engineers must repair the device or storage media in order to access the data, but this is only done to enable the data recovery. Data recovery is therefore not the same as storage repair. 

It is plain and simple luck that in the above case the original HDD started working again. Although, when an HDD or other storage media has broken once, it is advised never to use it again – even if it suddenly starts working again.

Data recovered by Ontrack

Any data that is recovered by Ontrack is transferred onto an encrypted external hard drive. The encrypted drive and the original drive are then returned to the customer. Once the customer receives these two items, the original disk should be securely disposed of or stored in a safe place. The original disk is always returned by Ontrack for data security reasons.

Customer advice

Once the customer has received the encrypted external HDD with the recovered data, that data should be copied onto another HDD. This is because the disk that Ontrack sends to the customer is intended as a backup device and is not for everyday use.

Encryption

Ontrack customers always receive their disk drives in a package without the encryption password. The password is sent separately via email. This is to ensure that if the device somehow got lost in the post, no one would be able to access the data stored on it.

Picture copyright: Ontrack Data Recovery