Have you dropped your laptop? Perhaps your computer won't boot up because the hard drive crashed and you don't know what to do next? After taking a moment to breath and relaxing your state of mind, you are ready to handle the situation: the data stored on that device is lost and you'll need to recover it. But just how much will data recovery cost? The answer isn't easy because it depends on at least two factors, the type of data loss: either logical damage or mechanical damage.
Logical Damage and Recovery Costs
A logical drive is a partition on a physical hard drive made to segregate various files from one another – think user data or system files. When a logical failure of a hard drive occurs, this means the problem is with the hard drive's file structure rather than the physical drive itself. The most common causes for logical hard drive failures are as follows:
- Partition table corruption.
- Operating system error.
- Data deletion.
- Sudden power loss.
In these situations, data recovery is possible via software so long as the damage is not physical, but if there is physical damage then software won't help. Logical or software-level recovery will only work if you have accidentally formatted the drive or partition, or deleted data.
Since logical damage is at a software level, you can use either the built-in utilities of macOS or Windows to repair it or purchase third-party software. If the latter scenario applies, the cost depends on the software and license chosen. Prices of data recovery software range from free to $300, so it’s important to make a well-informed choice, which can be done by taking a look at reviews of the various applications.
Some aspects that should be considered when looking for the right software:
- How many file types does it support?
- Which file systems does it support?
- Does it have a free/basic version that can be used to test to see if is able to recover the lost file(s), or not?
If you choose to recover data by yourself, the only expense is the software license. However, if you need to take the physical drive to a data recovery firm, then the costs will go up.
Mechanical Damage and Cost
Data recovery services are the best solution for every user because the risk of making things worse is reduced if you hand over control of the situation to an expert. But that comes at a cost, with a price range that again varies by company. In this case, data recovery is essentially a four-step process:
- The consultation phase, where the third-party service assesses the data loss to determine the best and most cost-effective solution for the client.
- Pre-recovery evaluation, during which the service provider analyzes the media for damage and determines the condition of the data.
- Data recovery, where the actual process of recovering the data happens using various tools, the toolset depending on the service and its experience.
- Data delivery, where the recovered data is delivered to the client on their preferred storage medium.
The evaluation cost, for example, might be free or cost up to $100 per case. But beyond that, the actual data recovery cost can range from $200 to $3,000 or even more depending on the severity of the case. In other words, if you don’t value your data at least as much as the proposed cost, then don't get in touch with a data recovery company but download DIY software instead.
Since there is a whole industry around data recovery, it's hard to determine precisely how much the process will cost. As long as the damage is only at the logical level, the cost is actually only the software license, which for a home user is roughly $100. However, Disk Drill, Stellar Data Recovery or similar applications cannot recover data from a physically damaged hard drive. For that you will need help from a professional, and that's when costs can get out of control.
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- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My Flash Drive or Memory Card?
- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My HDD?
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- Can You Recover Corrupted Files?
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- How Does Data Recovery Work?
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- How Much Does Data Recovery Cost?