Updated: Jan 2
Article by Brian Cometa - $300 Data Recovery
There are many reasons why data recovery may be necessary, but some of the most common causes include..
Hard drive failure or corruption This can include physical damage (e.g., dropping a hard drive), firmware corruption (e.g., SMART corruption or overflowing defect list), and logical corruption (e.g., partition corruption after your OS tries to fix minor corruption using fsck on Macs or chkdsk on Windows).
Accidental deletion of files If you delete files on a hard drive, there is a good chance the files can be recovered. But, this depends on file fragmentation and the exact file type needing to be recovered. On an SSD, deleted files are often not recoverable due to TRIM (which essentially "zeros out" the data as soon as it's deleted).
Virus or malware attack Viruses/malware comes in all shapes and sizes. Some can delete files, others encrypt files (i.e., Ransomware), and most will cause your computer to become unstable and potentially wholly unusable.
A power surge or outage Power surges/outages can cause issues like partition corruption, firmware corruption, PCB failure, and even head failure (blown head preamp).
Operating system crash BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) or "Spinning Wheel" issues are often caused by the corruption of crucial system files. They can also result from a faulty storage device or other components inside your computer (e.g., RAM, motherboard, video card).
Physical damage to the storage device Physical damage isn't just caused by dropping a hard drive. Sometimes just bumping a spinning drive at the wrong time can cause physical damage to the platter's surface. Platters can also become worn down over time as the magnetic surface degrades.
Improper shutdown of the computer Failure to properly shut down your computer or eject a mounted external drive can result in partition corruption. Typically, this is minor corruption that the OS repairs automatically at startup. Still, these repairs can fail (or make things worse) if the storage device has other issues (like bad sectors).
Worn or degraded NAND chips For flash and SSD devices, the quality of the NAND chip matters. Cheap and generic USB thumb drives often have the worst quality chips. When these chips get worn down after use, there are often too many bit errors to correct, resulting in complete data loss.
Fire or water damage to the storage device. Fire or water damage can destroy a device's PCB (but often doesn't make its way onto a hard drive's platters). For SSDs, with all their chips exposed on the PCB, recovery is only sometimes an option.
Failure of a RAID array RAID fails for all the reasons mentioned above. But RAID failure can also be caused by defective RAID controllers or RAID corruption after a failed rebuild. That is: one drive fails, a new drive is installed, and the RAID's automatic rebuild fails (often due to bad sectors on another drive in the RAID).
A Data Recovery Professional can help recover your important files in any of these situations. Visit our Members Listing to find a qualified data recovery technician near you.