Data Recovery FAQ

Q. What type of media can you recover from?
We can recover from the following:

      Hard drives and Solid State Drives (SSDs) in Macs, Windows or Linux
      External hard drives
      Flash drives
      Compact Flash cards
      SD cards

Q. What is the difference between data recovery and a data transfer?
If a hard drive is healthy, the data can be transferred from the drive. If the hard drive is experiencing issues, it is failing and a data transfer cannot be done. When a hard drive fails, data recovery is required to extract any data from it.

Q. How much does data recovery cost?
The data recovery diagnostic is $75. After the diagnostic is performed, we contact you with a data recovery quote. The quote is dependent on how much labor is involved. Recoveries range from 1-5 hours of labor, billed at $200 an hour, so most recoveries are between $200-$1000 in addition to the diagnostic fee. When we call you with a quote, you can decide if you wish to proceed with the recovery.

Q. Do you offer a student discount?
We do! If you are a college student and have a student ID or transcript, we offer 50% off the hourly rate for recovery ($100/hour instead of $200/hour).

Q. What are the chances you can get my data back?
We have a 75% success rate. If we cannot recover your data, we can send your drive to our lab partner, DriveSavers ( for a free evaluation.

Q. How long does data recovery take?
This depends on how many recoveries we are working on and how difficult the data recovery is. Our usual turnaround time, from drop off of your hard drive to pick up, is 5-7 business days.

Q. Is there a way to expedite my data recovery?
Yes! We offer expedited service. Instead of a $75 diagnostic fee, the Rush Diagnostic is $200. The Rush Diagnostic allows you to cut the line and your drive is worked on immediately instead of being placed in line. While the speed of the recovery is dependent on the health of the drive, the average Rush Recovery is completed within 1-3 business days. Just like any recovery, we still call with a quote between $200-$1000, which you can then approve or decline. You are not obligated to proceed with the recovery even though you paid for a Rush Diagnostic.

Q. Can you recover my applications?
Maybe. Applications included with Mac OS X (like iPhoto, iMovie, Safari, etc.) are easily re-installable so we don’t try to recover them from your data because they could be corrupt. The data created in those applications (like your iPhoto library, for instance) is what we aim to recover. If you have paid applications (such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite, etc.), you should be prepared to reinstall them.

Q. Will my files be organized the way they were before my drive crashed?
In most cases, the organization can be recovered. If we are recovering data from and repairing your Mac, we try to make your data look they way it did before the drive failed. The one situation where it is difficult to recover the organization (and filenames) is when we recover data that has been deleted from your drive.

Q. Will my data recovery be more expensive because I have a larger drive?
In most cases, no. Our data recovery quotes are not dependent on the size of the drive.

Q. Can you recover data that was deleted?
We are able to recover deleted data. If your data was deleted, turn off your computer or disconnect the external hard drive immediately and do not turn it back on. The longer the computer or drive stays powered on, the less of a chance we have of recovering the data.

Q. What happens if you can’t recover my data?
If we are not able to recover your data, you do not pay anything besides the diagnostic fee. If we cannot recover your data, we can send your drive to our lab partner, DriveSavers ( for a free evaluation.

Q. How do I get my data back?
You can choose how you get your data back! Your target drive can be an external hard drive, a flash drive, a DVD, onto a new Mac, or onto your repaired Mac if we are also replacing your Mac’s hard drive. If we are putting your recovered data onto your Mac, we try to make your data look as close as possible to how it did before the drive failed.

Q. Do I have to buy a target drive or can I bring an external hard drive to transfer my recovered data onto?
You are welcome to bring in an external hard drive for us to use as a target as long as it is blank or okay to be erased. If you do not have one, we sell external hard drives from several leading brands such as Glyph, LaCie, G-Drive, and Seagate.

Q. Does AppleCare cover data recovery?
Data recovery is not covered by AppleCare. AppleCare does cover the replacement of the hard drive but not the data. We can recover your data and then replace your drive under AppleCare.

Q. What is the best way to backup my data?
Your data should be backed up in more than one location. We recommend backing up to one physical location (such as an external hard drive) and one cloud location. While it is rare for your computer’s hard drive and your backup drive to fail at the same time, we have seen it happen. Other reasons to consider more than one location for a backup are theft, loss, flooding, or power surges. You can never be too careful and have too many backups! We are big fans of Time Machine as well as cloud services such as Backblaze and Crash Plan.

Q. How often should I backup my data?
The answer is as often as you need to. Most home users are OK if they lose the last week’s data or so. Others with home businesses often don’t want to lose a day. Stock exchanges back up every second because they can’t afford to lose a second’s worth of their data. The most important thing is to backup regularly. A lot of our customers who get data recovery done actually have a backup but it’s been too long since they backed up. If you have an iMac or Mac Mini, we recommend an external hard drive that is always plugged in as your Time Machine backup; it backs up once an hour automatically. If you have a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, we recommend Apple’s TimeCapsules because it works wirelessly without having to plug anything in.. If you want to use an external hard drive for your laptops, you can but it requires you to remember to connect the drive regularly. And the time you forget is often the time that your drive will crash. Time Machine runs in the background when your Time Machine drive is connected; you can use your computer while it backs up! In fact, the more often you backup, the less time it takes since Time Machine only backs up the changes made since your last backup.

Q. Can you recover data from a clicking hard drive?
It is possible, depending on the drive. Clicking indicates a mechanical issue, which are best recovered in a lab. The hardware we use for data recovery allows us to pinpoint where data lives on the hard drive. Sometimes, the drive only clicks when accessing certain areas of the drive and it is possible there is no data on that part of the drive! All cases are different but clicking does not mean you are doomed to pay a higher cost for a lab recovery.

Q. Do you use a lab or clean room?
We use a combination of hardware and software to recover data. We do not have a clean room or lab (yet!) but only about 20% of recoveries fail in such a way that a clean room is required. Should your recovery need to be recovered in a lab, we have a partnership with DriveSavers (, a leading lab in the industry, and we can send your drive to them for a free evaluation.

Q. Do you use data recovery software to recover data?
We use a combination of hardware and software to recover data. Our data recovery methods are nondestructive; we do not modify the original drive.

Q. Can I use Data Rescue or other data recovery software to recover data myself?
The best attempt at recovering data is the first attempt. We do not recommend trying to recover yourself as it puts additional stress on the drive and software recoveries can further damage the drive. If the drive is in your computer, you should not turn it on anymore. If it is an external hard drive, you should not power it on or connect it to your computer. The reason for this is more the hard drive spins, the more stress it puts on the drive, making it harder and possibly more expensive to recover. If it is a mechanical failure, stressing the drive could actually grind your data away! We do use software to recover data but only after we use our hardware to safely image the contents of your drive onto a functional drive; we then work on that functional drive to piece the data back together.

Think you might have lost something irreplaceable?

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