It’s the worst kind of call we get. It goes something like ‘My computer won’t boot’. In addition, the computer or device may show a message similar to ‘cannot find boot drive’. If you ever want to get our attention, that’ll do it.
The very first thing we want to know is the status of the backups. Most likely there are none. Sadly, it’s rare that a backup system exists.
What is data?
- Keys, passwords, account information
Why data is lost
- Drive failure due to mechanical failure, theft, fire, water, or loss.
- Applies to internal, external, camera, and flash drives.
- Overwritten or deleted files.
- Program freezes and you never saved the document that first time.
- Locked out of tablet or phone.
- Non-booting computer or server with encrypted drive.
- Corruption for no known reason.
- An attack resulting in the encryption of your files, demanding a ransom.
- Password to your online data storage not working.
- Recovery phone numbers or email addresses no longer accessible.
- Failed ‘Cloud Backup’ service.
- Data Saved to unknown location.
- No backups or very old backups.
- And more…
Files are not accessible. What can you do?
- You can try to recreate the data, such as banking information or documents.
- If lost documents have been sent to you, ask people and institutions to send replacement documents.
- If the data is encrypted due to an attack, pay the ransom. Definitely a sketchy option and the last report we read only 25% actually decrypted their data. That’s probably a generous number. We have not seen a single instance where paying the ransom worked. .
- Accept the loss and move on.
That all failed. What now?
- Stop what you are doing. Don’t add, create, delete, or change anything.
- Turn off the device you are working with as soon as possible.
- Bring in the computer and any external devices used for data backup.
- If it’s cloud storage, supply the account name and password used.
What Sauve’s can do
- Evaluate the failure and determine what it takes to recover the data.
- Recover the data or the entire drive using a variety of in-shop techniques.
- Repair what caused the data loss if it was due to failure.
The recovery process required will vary based on where the data was stored and how it was lost. The techniques are all difficult and by no means guaranteed.
This happens to be the the worst time to find out your backups weren’t working, if they even existed at all. Unfortunately, for most people there is zero motivation to check that the backups are working unless you previously suffered data loss and don’t want to do that again. Up to that point, checking the backup status is akin to watching paint dry. The backup system we recommend make checking backups a 10 second affair using a calendar reminder or email notification.
What’s our success rate?
Over 90%. We may not be able to recovery the entire drive, but we can usually recover the important stuff. However, there have been a few times where we fail to recovery data and must recommend a dedicated recovery service.
Our longest, successful recovery took 6 days of continuous operation. We’ve had several recovery procedures take 5 days. Usually it doesn’t take anywhere near that long, but it does illustrate the lengths we will go in order to recover data.
A typical data recovery may cost up to $200.00 plus a replacement drive versus a possible dedicated data recovery service cost of $2000 or more. The cost can be considerably less due to the variable that contribute to data loss and recovery.
Not so fun fact: Highest cost we experienced shepherding a dedicated recovery procedure was $15,000. It was either that or the business closes it’s doors. Based on that, a backup system is cheap insurance.
What if Sauve’s cannot recover the data?
- The option exists to send the failed component to a dedicated data recovery service. It’s typically very expensive and not guaranteed by any means.
- If the loss is related to an online storage service, do battle with that particular service.
- Consider the data lost, such as pictures and documents, and move on. Start the process of rebuilding financial data or recreating documents.
There are times when neither we nor the data recovery services can recover anything. On average, of the countless machines we work on per year, perhaps 2 or 3 result in no data recoverable.
We have had phones and tablets lock the account due to lost or forgotten passwords. Data recovery is near impossible in those instances unless cloud services have been enabled previous to the lockout.