A lot of times when someone has a computer hard drive that’s crashed, they’ll look at many options to get their data back. That’s good and bad, since a well-intentioned friend or family member can actually cause more harm in their attempt to help you recover deleted files or files from a crashed or broken hard drive. Here’s some simple guidelines to live by:

Deleted File Recovery: If you are trying to get computer files back, after they’ve been deleted or emptied through the trash, the one thing you DO NOT want to do is load software onto that same hard drive to try to recover the files.. Instead, follow these steps:

1) Stop using the computer as soon as you realize you need to recover some deleted files. When you delete a computer file, the Operating System marks that file as “ok to write over”. That is, the file is still there, but at anytime, it could now be written over…. Whenever you use your computer, the computer is saving and creating a bunch of temp files.. Those temp files could then write over the deleted file(s) you want to get back.. That’s why it’s so important to stop using the computer asap….

2) You need to get some recovery software, but you can’t load it onto that same computer (Since loading software onto the drive could also write over those deleted files). There are a few options, but the easiest is to use a product like Data Rescue 3 or Data Rescue PC 3 from Prosoft Engineering. They both come on bootable discs, so you don’t need to load them onto the computer to use them– This is crucial for deleted file recovery…

3) You will also need another hard drive to recover to, since computer recovery should NEVER involve saving the files to the same hard drive (that puts your data in harm’s way).

Crashed Hard Drive: If your hard drive is not making strange noises (or smoke!) or you can hear it spinning up, then it should be ok to try computer hard drive recovery software like Data Rescue from Prosoft Engineering. If your hard drive is physically ok, then Data Rescue should be able to scan the drive and copy and/all files over to another drive.. However, if the scan is taking too long, then it could be a sign of physical issues with the drive and we recommend stoping the scan, as that can put more strain on a failing drive.. Also, if Data Rescue cannot “see” the drive, then it is very likely that the drive has a physical failure of some sort and therefore physical drive recovery would be needed.. In this scenario, a helpful IT person may try “too many times” with scanning, and put your hard drive into a dangerous situation where the many failed attempts may have come at a price where not even a recovery service may be able to salvage data.

Physical Hard Drive Recovery: If you’ve tried software to no avail, or if your hard drive is making strange noises, then you will likely need physical hard drive recovery, like The Data Rescue Center offers… If your hard drive requires being opened up, then you will need to make sure that it’s done in a Class 100 cleanroom and not in the empty cubicle by the IT person’s desk! If your drive is opened in a non-Class 100 room, it will cause air particles to enter the delicate environment within your hard drive, ruining the data most cases. Demand that whomever works on your hard drive be a professional recovery engineer within a Class 100 cleanroom. Anything less than that is putting your computer files at risk-