Are all data recovery cases recoverable?
To be blunt no.
While R3 takes pride in its track record of recovering cases deemed unrecoverable by others it is not the case that given enough resources time money etc. all data can be recovered.
R3 Data Recovery have adopted a different philosophy to data recovery than others in that rather than looking at each case from a business perspective we treat highly problematic cases as research and development projects.
While others may regard cases as unrecoverable due to complexities beyond their capabilities and will not spend significant time on cases they deem unprofitable if working for a low recovery fee, customers are for the most part not advised that the investment of time and often donor disk can result in the recovery of data in cases that aren’t relatively straight forward. The use of the word relatively cannot though be emphasised strongly enough, data recovery is a highly complicated and specialized skill in all its areas, most genuine data recovery labs are very good at what they do but people requiring the services of a lab need to know that there are some out there offering data recovery services that do not actually have a lab and simply offer a service and at best outsource recovery services to another company or worse still attempt recoveries themselves without the skills or the tools required.
Something that is concerning is the number of cases we see where by a home user has attempted to fix the problem with the disk themselves or very alarmingly cases whereby experienced IT professionals have attempted to carry out work with no real knowledge of what they are trying to do. The cases we see when mechanical disks are sent to us previously opened with contaminants such as dust and even fingerprints is frightening from the perspective of a data recovery company, it isn’t as though there is a big red reset button on the inside that will make the drive work, as for poking the platters (or and yes this has happened, wiping the platters with a cloth) don’t get us started, mechanical hard disks should not be opened by anyone not experienced in data recovery.
While we appreciate this might and probably does sound alarmist, there are many myths surrounding data recovery such as the freezer myth that if you put a hard disk in a freezer for several hours it will start working again this is simply not true although some people, even IT professionals who risk data by advocating practices like this. R3 have been involved in R and D projects involving the lowering of temperatures for solid state devices unrelated to mechanical hard disk but a normal hard disk is just that, a mechanical device. If you had a large enough freezer would you put your car in it to try and fix the engine? Of course not.
The fact of the matter is that some disks sustain such severe damage that nothing can be done, this is one of the reasons that certain rules need to be followed when dealing with a failed hard disk, continually applying power to a failed disk will eventually cause this kind of irreversible damage.
What we advise to all our clients in all cases is simple, before acting too quickly and contacting the cheapest, the local one who fixed your printer, or even considering trying to get the data back yourself; what is the data really worth? Do you have a backup somewhere? Can you recreate the data? If you’re reading this the answers to the questions are probably no, and the data is more than likely worth employing the services of a highly skilled data recovery company.