Thinking about following YouTube instructional videos on your drive?
As videos of data recovery techniques in America has skyrocketed in the last few years, it may seem like a logical thing to try. One of the most common phrases that we hear is “I’m in I.T. and I’ve opened the drive.” Watching some videos on YouTube about data recovery may even provide a better insight on that individuals techniques, good or bad, but be warned, without a proper understanding of how a drive accesses data and functions, you may be in for an irrevocable disaster. Most of the videos found and highly ranked are from companies or individuals just starting out in the industry that are taking advantage of their large fanbase and seeking to increase their revenue from popularity through the general public.
While it may seem cool or even exciting to give it a try on your own, it’s very important to first understand why a hard drive has failed in order to proceed with any feasible data recovery attempt. Once we can diagnose the initial problem correctly without causing further damage, you may then make an educated decision on attempting this task yourself without professional tools and experience, or letting the engineer proceed with the attempt. Most cases from a drop or bang result with the drive clicking or beeping, which almost always indicates head damage and requires a cleanroom, designated tools and much needed experience. Based on a common three level data recovery model, three being the most advanced, these cases are considered level three. A less severe case could consist of bad sectors or media damage which would be considered a level two recovery but still requiring experience and professional equipment to target the user data without reading unnecessary sectors and causing more strain on the drive which could lead to a potential head crash.
The high ratings of some of the videos found on YouTube do not necessarily indicate that the technique is good or even safe. The people rating these videos are mostly spectators, and to the untrained eye it may be hard to differentiate. A good rule of thumb to follow when considering attempting data recovery on a damaged drive would be, Is the data important? If it is, just stop and call a professional service after researching online. One mistake could render a drive unrecoverable by anyone.
A computer technician is not the same as a data recovery engineer. Most of us in professional data recovery started out in I.T., including myself, but there is a right way and a wrong way to transition into the position. Learning from YouTube videos and reading information on forums may provide some insight, but by no means is this proper training for the title. Many companies, even “data recovery companies”, have underqualified and trained personnel working on client hard drives. Many times these cases are passed off as unrecoverable with vague answers as to why, or outsourced to a third party for a final, less likely attempt.
In conclusion, if this is something that you are truly interested in learning, practice away. Just don’t do it on a drive with important data. Anyway that you look at it, it will be costly. Parts and equipment required to do the job are not cheap. My recommendation would be to start out in logical data recovery, which is considered level one data recovery to most companies and does not require the costly equipment, rather some good paid software programs such as UFS, or R-Studio, time, and a basic understanding of HEX. Anything further will require more of a substantial personal investment. DATA is not just random documents and images, but the fuel that runs a company and the memories that tend to fade over time…
Don Anderson had an interest in I.T. back when he was a teen reading PC World magazines in the early 90's, until he was finally old enough to work as a computer repair tech. Graduating from college he worked many contract positions throughout his twenties including IBM, SAP and Dell. He now has control of several companies and is a renowned expert in the field of Data Recovery and Digital Forensics with expert witness experience. Not to mention an animal lover.