What is Data Recovery?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Data recovery involves restoring access to data that appears to be lost due to damage or failure of some type of electronic data storage medium. There are various types of data recovery methods that may be employed in the event of some sort of system failure, or damage to disk drives, storage tapes, and floppy or CDs.

In the event of a server crash or hard drive failure, the loss of data can be crippling to a business. This is especially true if there has not been some attempt to archive important data on tapes, disks, or online data storage. Fortunately, there are often methods that an information systems technician can employ to salvage data from damaged devices. Depending on the severity of the situation, simply replacing a circuit board with a new one will be sufficient to correct the problem. Another possible solution is to replace the read/write head assembly, which may be all that is required to achieve access to the stored data. A qualified information technology professional may also try extracting the hard disk platters from an inoperative drive and insert them into a compatible drive. One thing to keep in mind is that these possible methods of data recovery usually invalidate any existing warranties on the equipment, since they require breaking into the casing.


When it comes to attempting to recover data from servers that have locked or been damaged in some manner, it may be necessary to contract the services of a company that specializes in data recovery. Generally, it is possible to send the physical drive or server to the company for an evaluation. The firm will determine if it is possible to extract data from the damaged device, as well as how much of the data will actually be usable. After determining what can be accomplished, the service provider will submit a quote to the client. Generally, this quote will include a fee that can be in the thousands of dollars. However, when the quoted price is compared to the time and resources that would be involved in rebuilding the data from other sources, the cost may quickly be seen as minimal.

Data recovery is a process that businesses and individuals should avoid if at all possible. Making sure to schedule regular backups of data on all systems, including a server, will make immediate replacement easier, quicker, and considerably less expensive.


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