FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

This section of the site answers many of the questions related to the data recovery process including
evaluation, shipping, turnaround time, data recovery cost, storage media and operating systems covered.

If you cannot find the answer to your question please contact us to ask us directly.

Click on any of the questions to reveal / hide the answers.


FAQ's - Main Topics
   Data Recovery Process
   Data Recovery Cost
   Shipping Information
   Hard Disk Drive
   USB Keys & Flash Card
   Digital Camera Card
   Outlook (Email / PST)
   RAID Array & Server
   CD, DVD & Floppy Disk
   Media Conversion
 
Download the Data Recovery Request Form
 
Download the Data Recovery Confidentiality Agreement
 

 

 
      DATA RECOVERY PROCESS

Why choose us?

We have been in the Data Recovery business for over 25 years and we have delivered thousands of data recoveries to our many customers over this time. We understand the importance of providing a proper professional service to recover customers’ data in an efficient and also a cost effective way. We are constantly investing in and improving our processes and equipment to ensure that we can have the highest recovery rates and are the first choice for all Data Recovery needs.

We work with several Data Recovery wquipment providers as well as other specialist engineering companies and universities in the development of many specialist tools and techniques that are not found anywhere else in the world and we jointly have a number of patents in this regard. We have at our disposal the highest skilled engineering expertise gained from working with leading hard drive and storage media manufacturers over many years. We have full clean room capability in our own workshops and do all the work on the drives within our own laboratories.

We work with a broad range of customers from the smallest end users to the largest IT departments and companies including other data recovery companies. While these customers requirements maybe a little different we treat all projects with the same level of professionalism. We have been doing work for many organisations big and small who return to us time after time as they know we are professional and consistently deliver in a low key cost effective way. We adopt very strict policies and watertight procedures regarding data handling and processing and we treat all customer’ information with the utmost confidentiality. We sign up to our own charter for non disclosure and are usually happy to sign any specific customer additional agreements.

 
 
 

What do I do when I suspect a data recovery problem?

The best advice is stop whatever activity your doing and don’t do anything further that can likely make a bad situation worse. You should quickly note all observable facts and shut the machine down as quickly and as safely as possible. If you’re in doubt call Data Recovery Ireland who will talk you through the process. We strongly suggest NOT to run off the shelf basic data recovery software as in many cases it is of poor quality and more importantly when ran on a failing drive, it can cause it to deteriorate further.

 
 
 
 

What is the normal turn around time?

Typically this depends on the root cause of the issue that is with the drive under examination. We aim to have all evaluations done within the first 8 hours of receipt with the full data recoveries ranging from 24 hours to rarely more than 5 days from the time we receive the customer approval to proceed. We have automated many of the processes which speed up the turn around time and we have projects running in our laboratories 24 hours per day 7 days per week.

 
   
 

Do you employ a confidentiality policy? Is my data safe with you?

Yes, absolutely, this is something we constantly review and put significant emphasis on in our process. All our staff are strongly vetted and sign up to our charter of total client confidentiality. Virtually all the data we recover is personal and /or company confidential and must be always handled very carefully. We carry out work for staff and departments of Banks, Health Services Executives, An Garda Siochana to name but a few. We are bound by the confidentiality clause in the Non-Disclosure Agreement which can be downloaded or we are usually happy to review and sign customer specific agreements. All recovered data is encrypted (using true crypt) before transportation if not collected by the customer in person.

We have also committed ourselves to safeguard your data by registering with the Data Protection Commissioner. Click on the logo to be taken to our listing:

Data Protection Commissioner Listing

 

 
   
 

Can you guarantee to recover my data?

In short no! Without seeing your drive and evaluating it we cannot say but no data recovery company can guarantee to recover your data as this does depend on what is actually wrong with your media in the first place. However, we are confident that no matter what the problem is we have likely seen it or similar before and if there is the remotest chance of recovering data we can do it. We are confident as using our advanced proprietary data recovery tools and processes, as well as our Class-100 clean room facility we regularly recover data from drives that others including several data recovery companies have pronounced unrecoverable. Many other data recovery companies send data recovery work to us that they were unable to recover. We are very confident we can successfully recover data from many instances where other recovery companies fail but of course it is always easier, simpler and less expensive the less work that’s done on the drive after the failure.

 
   
 

Someone else has looked at this and said the drive is damaged…How possible is data recovery?

We are experts in data loss recovery. We will do everything possible to recover your valuable data as we are well recognised as the leading data recovery experts. Even if you think (or are told by an expert) that your data is lost without trace we can in many cases still recover that data using our smart specialist data recovery tools.

It should be mentioned and worth noting though that we have found the data recovery process to be in most cases much easier, simpler and of course cheaper if we can receive the drive in its "as failed condition". We find that in many cases the secondary damage caused through inexperienced investigation after the initial fault can add more complications than the original failure! We also recommend that you do not use cheap data recovery software as much of this does nothing and can reduce the chance of a successful recovery.

 
   
 

What types of media do you work with?

We work with virtually any type of media, but we see the majority of our recoveries still come from desktop, laptop and external hard drives. These drives fall into four main interface types IDE, SCSI, SATA and SAS which are usually single drives within the machine but we also see drives configured in RAID arrays used in servers and large capacity desktop machines.

In recent times we are seeing much more of the data recovery requirements for the data stored on portable media such as USB Memory sticks as well as solid state drives (SSD), camera cards (SD/XD) and compact cards and digital recorders. We have developed, many new techniques and tools that allow us recover data from these types of storage media and hold a number of key patents on this equipment.

We also provide full recovery services for data stored on DLT and DAT Tapes, Floppy Disks (3.5”, 5.25”), Magneto optical disks, Zip disks as well as providing data conversion from many other media types.

 
   
 

What Operating System platforms do you work with?

We can recover data from virtually any Operating system including DOS, Windows (3.x, 95, 98, 2000, Me, XP), NT, Novell, Unix, Macintosh and other proprietary systems found in some Digital Camera systems. We have experience and familiarity with NT, FAT, UFS+, XFS, HFS, XT2, XT3 as well as other proprietary ones found in some digital video recorders.

 
   
 

Do you have a clean room and is one necessary for a data recovery job?

We have of course a fully environmentally (Class 100) controlled clean room laboratory enabling us to carry out the most intricate data recovery work to the highest standards. This laboratory is constantly monitored and is properly maintained and calibrated. This facility is available as handling and opening of the drives can only be done safely in a clean room environment to increase the chances of recovery. While not all data recovery situations require the use of the full features of the clean room it is very important that the patient drives are handled properly and carefully and that no further deterioration occurs to them while undergoing analysis.

 
   
 

Will all of my files be recovered?

The majority of our data recovery cases result in a full recovery and all files are recovered. In certain cases if there are damaged sectors on the drive certain files may not be retrievable from these sectors. This is why we provide a file listing and an error log to show all the files that are recoverable as well as any that are damaged so that you can be sure all the important data needed is recoverable before you proceed.

 
   
 

Will the old file names be intact?

In most cases filenames will be intact as they were when you last saved them. However, in a small percentage of cases recovered files may not have the original filename and will be recovered by file type (e.g. MS Excel) with a generic name.

 
   
 

Are there tricks that I can do myself that could work to facilitate a recovery?

In short, no! In our experience DIY recovery is not possible and in fact most cause significant further damage to the chances of a full successful recovery. When data recovery is required it is usually because an issue has occurred with the storage media; careful examination of the problem is always best before embarking on any recovery option. If your data is important to you we would always recommend that you do not take risks and we suggest that you please contact us to hear how we can help instead!

 
     
   
 
      DATA RECOVERY COST
 

How much does data recovery cost?

This depends solely on the problem there is with the media. The first and most important thing we do is to properly evaluate the drive in the laboratory to comprehensively identify the root cause of the problem with the drive while also outlining the recommended corrective action needed including the exact materials and time needed to recover it. The information you will receive will be clear, unambiguous and accurate. This evaluation stage is really the most crucial stage of the recovery and needs to be carried out competently. We make available all of our advanced tools to carry out this evaluation fully and comprehensively to get a full and accurate picture of what is wrong as well as the most cost effective way to rectify it.

Once we have completed the initial evaluation, we will be in a position to give you a full and comprehensive breakdown of the exact problems on the drive, what needs to be done including the details of each stage of the process. We will repaort the exact costs and of course we will seek your full approval before progressing any further.

We do have an initial small evaluation fee which covers some of the costs associated with carrying out the full and comprehensive evaluation of the suspect drive. Our prices are totally open and transparent and are always fair and reasonable and there are no hidden costs or nasty surprises.

We have automated many aspects of the basic process and with the high utilisation of our equipment we have much reduced direct labour allowing us to complete recovery in many cases at a significantly lower total cost in comparison to our competitors.

 
   
 

Is there a diagnostic fee? Yes but please read why!

We believe that this initial diagnostic (what we term evaluation) is the most critical stage of the data recovery process and since we employ the best processes, equipment and expertise in the business we find that our customers are more than happy to pay a small fee to get the proper advice and the real facts.

This fee of course is also fully redeemable against any further charges that may occur if the customer opts to proceed with the recommended work and would be refundable if the drive was found to unrecoverable due to a limitation in our process. We are confident that we are the best in the business and by utilising our services the probability of a successful and cost effective recovery is the highest in the industry.

 
   
 

I only need a few critical files is there a different price just for them?

The answer is generally not! The reason being that the process of data recovery is not so much about the actual data that is on the drive, but the difficulty in getting the data off the drive. In some case however a limited recovery might only be possible (what’s termed partial recovery) and in this case then prices would be discounted versus a total recovery.

 
   
 

I see there are a couple of companies who have a fixed charge and also no fix no fee can you match this?

The answer is we can do better than this! These companies are charging what may seem like an attractive price to get the job in hoping that it if it is a simple or easy recovery they can do it. The problem is that if the recovery is anything above what a competent IT engineer would be able to do, many data recovery companies are unable to deliver and worse still can add a lot of extra complications to a relatively simple recovery. Damaged drives can deteriorate fast and so a proper competent initial evaluation is vital. The reality is there is nothing for nothing and anybody who suggests no fix no fee on data recovery is simply gambling with your data.

 
   
 

If you can't recover my files is there a charge?

We very proud of our high success rate and it is not often that we find that we cannot recover the data for our clients. If the worse should happen and the data is deemed unrecoverable due to shortcomings in our process we will refund the initial evaluation fee charge in full, along with your media device and there will be no additional charges for re-assembly or parts used for the initial evaluation we have performed.

 
     
   
 
      SHIPPING INFORMATION
 

How do I ship my drive to you?

When shipping your media to us please follow these step by step instructions:

  1. Download and print the Data Recovery Form. Click here to download.
  1. Fill in your details on the Data Recovery Form, email the form to us and also place a printed copy in the parcel with the faulty media storage unit in the box.
  1. If it is a hard drive, wrap it in anti-static material (or a freezer bag if you don't have one) and then use bubble wrap for padding.
    If you wish to send another drive on which we can transfer the media, pack the two drives with padding between them.
    If you do not know how to remove the media or how to remove components and you cannot get someone to do it for you, please send the entire unit.
    Do not send power cables, keyboards, monitors, etc. with the exception of the power adapter in case of notebook computers along with necessary cable(s).
  1. Do not seal the box and please place a label with our address on the outside of the box:
    Data Recovery Ireland
    90 Phibsboro Road
    Phibsboro
    Dublin 7
    Tel: 00353(0)18306495
  1. We will contact you on receipt of the item to confirm its arrival and proceed to carry out the initial evaluation. Once this has been completed we will contact you with all available updates.
 
   
 

How will the data be returned to me?

We will return the recovered data and faulty media to the delivery address you have provided in the Data Recovery Request Form through a secure and traceable courier delivery service which provides real-time details of your shipment’s progress as it speeds through the network on the way to its destination and guarantees that you media will be returned to you in the utmost secure conditions.

The recovered data will be returned on any suitable storage media depending on the size and the customers’ wishes. Sometimes our customers supply us with a drive to use for the recovered data. In many cases the data will fit on a CD or DVD and in some cases customers require a memory stick or if it’s a lot of data we generally put the data onto an external portable hard drive. We will encrypt all the data before sending it back to you.

 
     
   
 
      HARD DISK DRIVE DATA RECOVERY
 

The external hard drive fell and now it's not being recognised by the computer / laptop. Can the data be recovered?

Similar to the scenario where there are unusual sounds coming from the hard drive, if after a fall the drive is not being recognised, we recommend that you power off the machine / device and do not attempt to restart / format or open the drive as with each attempt you run the risk of further damaging the drive and reducing the chances of full data recovery. It is advisable that you contact the Data Recovery Ireland specialists immediately. In our considerable experience we have found the data recovery process to be in most cases much easier, simpler and of course cheaper if we can receive the drive in its "as failed condition".

 
   
 

The hard drive is making a clicking / grinding sound and only powers on for a few seconds. Can you recover the data?

Due to the sensitive nature of the hard drives if you hear any type of clicking or grinding sound coming from it we would recommend that you power off the machine / device and do not attempt to restart and with each attempt you run the risk of further damaging the drive and reduce the chances of full data recovery. It is advisable that you contact the Data Recovery Ireland specialists immediately. In our considerable experience we have found the data recovery process to be in most cases much easier, simpler and of course cheaper if we can receive the drive in its "as failed condition".

 
   
 

If the drive has been reformatted or the operating system has been reloaded can the data be recovered?

The success rate of the data recovery process depends on the amount of time that has elapsed since the reformatting of the drive and also on the available space on the drive at that time. When reformatting or reloading the operating system the new data is overwritten on the pre-existing files, which reduces the probability of recovering all files, however in most cases recovery is possible and we have been successful in retrieving data from internal and external hard drives under these circumstances. We recommend that you do not use cheap data recovery software as much of this does nothing and can reduce the chance of a successful recovery.

 
   
 

What is a head crash?

This is a physical failure that occurs when the read/write heads actually contact the platter surfaces. Many reasons may cause the heads to contact the data surface in a non normal way such as heat, vibration, power fluctuation etc. Once a crash occurs, and the damage is inflicted on the surface of the platters, more serious damage begins to present itself. The damage is usually compounded each time the heads traverse the damaged area. Occasionally, the damage will be to the heads causing no damage to the surface of the platters. In these cases the damage will often sound like a clicking noise or worse a whirring/grinding noise. The longer a hard drive runs after the initial crash, the more likely data will not be recoverable.

 
   
 

If the Recycle bin has been formatted can the files be recovered?

In many cases the answer is yes and the success of this depends on the time that has elapsed from when the files were deleted and the available capacity of the drive as new data is being overwritten on the hard disk which reduces the probability of recovering all files, however in most cases recovery is possible and we have been successful in retrieving data from internal and external hard drives under these circumstances. We recommend that you do not use cheap data recovery software as much of this does nothing can reduce the chance of a successful recovery.

 
   
 

I have deleted files from my Recycle bin. Can these files be recovered?

Similar to the formatting scenario in many cases the answer is yes providing the area on the drive where these files were saved was not fully overwritten. The success of the recovery in this case depends on the usage from when the files were deleted and the available capacity of the drive. Writing new data generally reduces the probability of recovering all files but if the drive is very big and the overwrite is small the percentage lost can be small. Again, we recommend that you do not use cheap data recovery software as much of this does nothing BUT can reduce the chance of a successful recovery.

 
     
   
 
      USB KEY & FLASH CARDS DATA RECOVERY
 

When connecting my USB key I'm prompted to format it and I cannot access the files. What should I do?

Firstly we would recommend that you absolutely do NOT format the USB key as this can reduce the chances of recovering the data and contact the Data Recovery Ireland specialists immediately. If the drive has not been interfered with since the failure, our success rate in recovering data from these devices is close to 100%. We recommend that you do not use cheap data recovery software as much of this does nothing and damages the USB further.

 
     
   
 
      DIGITAL CAMERA CARDS - SD / XD OR OTHER CARD DATA RECOVERY
 

I have accidentally deleted the photos from the camera memory card. Can these be recovered?

If you have deleted the photos from the memory card don't panic as we can usually get them back. SD and XD or other cards work in a similar way to computers in that files are not always completely deleted until that information has been formatted or overwritten. If you want to retrieve deleted pictures from your digital camera SD/XD or other card - stop taking any more pictures and send it to us straight away. If you haven't formatted the SD card or saved any more pictures to it, you are much more likely to get your erased pictures back. We recommend that you do not use cheap data recovery software as much of this does nothing and damages the cards further.

 
   
 

The camera prompts me to reformat the card and I cannot access my photos. What can I do?

Many professional photographers and digital camera users trust our services for their digital photo recovery needs. Firstly we would recommend that you do not format the card as this can reduce the chances of recovering the data from the card and contact the Data Recovery Ireland specialists immediately. We recommend also that you do not use cheap data recovery software as much of this does nothing but can reduce the chance of a successful recovery.

 
     
   
 
      OUTLOOK (EMAIL / PST/OST) DATA RECOVERY
 

I have deleted my Outlook emails, can you recover the PST files?

Yes, damaged or deleted email files can in most cases be recovered from ( .PST or .OST) but of course again the chances of retrieving the emails increase greatly when the hard drive / system is brought into us as soon as the deletion takes place, as this reduces the probability that the information will be overwritten by continuous use of the system, rendering some of the files unrecoverable.

 
     
   
 
      RAID & SERVER | TAPE & VM WARE DATA RECOVERY
 

Have you full capability on RAID?

Yes, here at Data Recovery Ireland we are experts in this area and have a wealth of experience and skills on RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) Data Recovery and RAID reconstruction having recovered lost data from some of the most complex systems on the market. We have found that while RAID’s are designed for redundancy, when a failure occurs the rebuild process may not always happen properly and it appears like all the data is lost and a backup has not ran correctly or has failed for a long time. In many cases the RAID recovery and reconstruction itself can be relatively straightforward and in most cases is fully recoverable. It is very unlikely that two drives fail together and while it may appear like so, a calm and cool proper evaluation can usually result in a full and proper recovery of these arrays. If however there is genuine multi hard drive failure, then the normal hard ware data recovery process will need to be used in addition to the RAID Reconstruction but again the recovery rates are very high.

 
   
 

Can you recover the files from file / web and application servers?

We have extensive experience and proprietary tools and processes along with the best expertise in the business to enable us to recover data from any server make, model or brand, any operating system or configuration as well as all causes of data loss. Our initial evaluation process enables us to discover exactly what data we can recover allowing the client to make an informed decision before proceeding further with the recovery service.

 
   
 

Can you perform VMware data recovery?

Yes, we have full capability and expertise in recovering files from all types of file systems, including VMware. We have recovered many VMware virtual machines from various configurations. Whether data loss has occurred as a result of a RAID Failure, VMFS File system corruption, deletion of files or formatting and re-installation on VMFS volume we are qualified and competent to perform proper recovery of the lost data.

 
   
 

Can you recover data from tapes?

We can recover data from all major tape types and formats. We have retrieved data from a very broad range of tapes that have been used as backup devices. We can recover from tapes used with a very broad range of backup software on the market and we can recover data from tapes experiencing a wide range of failures. We have recovered data fully from: accidentally erased or over-written data cartridges, broken or de-spooled backup tapes, damaged tape header or misalignment of drive heads, water/smoke/fire damaged media, corrupted files due to electrical or mechanical failures, failed backup systems and tape libraries, accidental file deletions and human error, bent or physically damaged tapes, software corruption and tape configuration or setup problems to name a few!

 
   
 

Do you provide MS Exchange data recovery?

Yes, we can and we have a very high success rate on these systems. In many cases, the actual recovery process is to some extent independent of the data type stored on the Server but nevertheless we have very significant experience recovering from damage to Servers running heavy duty database based systems across multiple drives. The more typical recoveries we have seen are MS Exchange Server, Windows SBE as well as Oracle, My SQL Databases, MS access etc. running on Windows or Unix.

 
     
   
 
      CD DRIVES, DVD & FLOPPY, MO DISKS, MINI DISKS & ZIP DATA RECOVERY
 

Can you recover data from other media?

We have extensive experience and proprietary tools that enable us to recover lost or inaccessible data from any type of removable storage media, including CD’s, DVD disks, Magneto Optical Disks, Sony Mini Disks as well as all flavours and sizes of Floppy Disks as well as many other types of media. Simply bring the storage media in question to us and we will do the rest.

 
     
   
 
       MEDIA CONVERSION
 

Do you perform media conversion and transfer form one media to another?

Yes, we can! We have a lot of experience in this area having recovered data from a broad range of media including as a couple of examples: Apple 5 ¼” DS DD disks used on old OS to a CD readable on current OS X systems, Compact disk MO cartridges to CD’s, Pioneer MO to DVD disks, Betamax and VHS to CD video, Zip and iOmega Jazz to CD, DAT Tape to CD , MFM Drive to IDE as well as many other conversions. Its is highly probably that we can convert old unusable media to a current usable format.

 
     
   
 
  © Data Recovery Ireland                              Phone: +353 (0)1 8306495                              Email: info@datarecovery.ie