Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Hard Drive Doctor less expensive than the competition?

This company was founded with the primary intention of offering an affordable solution to small businesses and individuals who have lost precious data but cannot afford or do not want to pay thousands of dollars to get their data back. The costs of maintaining the facilities and staff, research and development, and replacement parts dictate that this is about as low as the costs can go. Also, Hard Drive Doctor Data Recovery does not outsource any engineering work like many of our competitors, so there is no "middle-man" taking a cut of your service fee.

What happens if you recover a bunch of data I don't want or the recovered data is corrupted beyond usability?

We don't accept up-front payment and a service technician will walk you through the results over the phone before you pay us anything. You will have ample opportunity to make sure we have what you are looking for before you pay us. If there are critical files that you must recover, instruct your data recovery technician to thoroughly test those files before paying.

Do you have a cleanroom?

We have a class-100 cleanroom on site at our facility where we work on drive internals in what the data recovery industry calls "invasive data recoveries". Sometimes it's necessary to work on the internals of a drive chassis in order to recover data. This type of work should only be done in a particle free environment. Sometimes when drives need to go to the cleanroom a surcharge of up to $300 may be necessary. This surcharge is due to the extra time, labor, and replacement parts.

Please indicate on the service form if you wish to authorize Hard Drive Doctor to work on your drive in the cleanroom if it becomes necessary. If you prefer, you can indicate that we first call you for authorization. Please be aware this may cause a 1 to 2 day delay in service while we contact you.

Will my drive need to go to the cleanroom for servicing?

Approximately half the drives we receive will require some cleanroom work. If your drive is making unusual noises there is a good chance cleanroom work will be necessary. If the drive is not making strange noises it reduces the likelihood of cleanroom work being necessary.

Which drives are the most difficult to work with?

In general, the larger the capacity and the more modern the disk is, the more difficult the recovery will be. This is especially true if your drive needs to go the cleanroom. As the manufacturers continue to increase the capacity and speed of these drives, the drives become more complicated.

Drives that have sustained physical trauma such as getting dropped off a desk are likely to have physical damage to the platters. This will often result in a failure to get any useful data.

My drive isn't making any strange noises and it's spinning but it's not detected in BIOS or it's detected as something unusual in BIOS. Can you help me?

Yes. Most of the time a drive isn't detected in BIOS or is detected as something atypical (I.E. Maxtor N40P, Ares.64K, ROMULUS, RIGEL, NIKE, ATHENA, PROXIMA, ) it is a corruption we can fix. Most of the time we can fix these without cleanroom intervention.

My drive is detected as the wrong size in BIOS, can you help me?

Yes. These problems are generally fixed without going to the cleanroom, this is especially true if the drive is not making clicking noises. For example, with Western Digital drives, you may notice the drive is detected as 8455 MB instead of the natural size. These probably require a logical data recovery.

I opened my hard disk in an attempt to fix it but it didn't work, can you help me?

If the warranty seals have been broken, we will evaluate the case for you free of charge and call you with a price estimate of the recovery.

If the platters have been visibly damaged during your attempt you should save your money and do not send it.

If it was a multi-platter drive and you attempted to remove the platters you should save your money and do not send it.

What are the most common causes of failure?

If we inspect a drive and find out the platters have been physically scratched or damaged we will more than likely fail. This is especially true when the client has spent multiple hours messing around with the drive themselves and scratched the platter beyond readability.

If you guys fail, will I be able to go to another service for an attempt?

Of course, although in cases where we notice physical damage to the platters we'll probably suggest you do not as most of these attempts are often beyond repair.

I have a RAID that crashed, why is this more expensive than your standard service?

When dealing with most types of RAIDs, we will need to repair and image multiple disk drives, not just one. RAID data recoveries will require a lot more machine and human time than a single-disk recovery. The process of re-building the drive images into one logical image is quite complicated. In fact, the majority of the time one of our software engineers will write a custom software program to rebuild it. Due to the many variables of these cases our RAID data recovery sales team will provide an up-front quote for all RAID cases.

I would like my drive to be bootable again, will you be able to permanently repair it?

In the cases of failed drives it's usually not a good idea to attempt this. Many times the root cause of the problem will still exist and the drive will break again in the near-term.

I do not wish to pay by credit card, can I send a check?

Sure, although please do not send it with the drive. We will accept checks but we will cash them and wait for the check to clear before sending you your data.

What is the average turnaround time on a standard service hard drive recovery case?

The average turnaround on a case with our standard service is 5 business days. This is the time between when we receive the drive and when the data is shipped out. If the drive needs to go to the cleanroom or parts need to be ordered the turnaround time goes up to around 7 business days. Please note that these timeframes are estimations. We cannot guarantee service will be complete in that timeframe.

What is the average turnaround time on an advantage service hard drive recovery case?

The average turnaround on an advantage service case is 3.5 business days. When you choose advantage service a technician will be inspecting your rush-order any necessary parts, and in the event it needs to go to the cleanroom you'll be moved ahead of standard service customers.

What is the average turnaround time on a priority service hard drive recovery case?

The average turnaround on a priority service case is 1.5 business days. When you choose priority service a technician will be inspecting your disk within the first few hours of it coming into the building. We will rush-order any necessary parts, and in the event it needs to go to the cleanroom you'll be first in line.

What is your security policy, how do you protect my data?

First and foremost, your drive will be worked on in our lab in the Madison, WI area and absolutely will not leave the shop without your consent. Many of our competitors will outsource the actual engineering work or recovery work. Some will even send your drive overseas to Israel or India to have work done. All of Hard Drive Doctor's data recovery engineering work occurs in our facilities in Madison, WI. Second, our data recovery machines are not in any way on the internet. Therefore, there is no chance of a hacker getting their hands on your data. Third, we have a 24-hour security service to protect our assets and your data. Fourth, our data recovery customer support staff is trained to respect your privacy and will not poke around in your data for any reason other than verification of your data's integrity.

Will I get my old hard drive back?

You can request to have your failed hard drive returned but a fee of $35 will be assessed. This fee covers any processing, reassembly, ground shipping, and handling. Failed hard drives are not returned in the same shipment as the data.

Will you void my drive's warranty?

In the event that we have to break your warranty seals to work on your drive, we will place stickers on the drive that will show the vendor that the drive was opened by a professional data recovery company. Usually when a vendor sees that the drive was opened by a professional data recovery company, they will still respect the warranty. However, if the warranty seals on your drive were broken prior to your drive's arrival at Hard Drive Doctor we will not place those stickers on the drive. If you are overly concerned with the drive's warranty, you should contact the vendor directly to make sure they will still honor the warranty.

I need to return my drive to a vendor because it was under warranty, but I don't want my data on that drive when I return it. Can you help?

Yes. After we recover your data and you have reviewed it, you can instruct us to make sure the data on the drive is completely destroyed before we send it back to you or to the vendor. A fee of $35 will be applied if you wish us to perform this procedure on your drive. This is to offset the cost of engineering staff and server time.

I need to return my drive to a vendor within a short period of time or they will charge me for the drive they sent me. Can you help?

Yes. One option is for you to choose a priority service option which will speed up your recovery significantly. Also, most vendors are very understanding when the delay is due to data recovery by professionals. Dell, for example, will usually grant extensions if you tell them you sent your drive to Hard Drive Doctor for data recovery.

Why is there a surcharge for working on SCSI drives?

Replacement parts for SCSI drives tend to be a lot more expensive than other types of drives. Rather than increase the base-price across all types to accommodate these drives, Hard Drive Doctor decided to proceed with the SCSI surcharge. Fill out a service form and choose SCSI in the interface section to see the exact pricing details.

A disgruntled employee has erased critical files and emails from his computer, can you help?

Hard Drive Doctor has two levels of service for these forensic data recovery cases. If you simply want a complete recovery of all recently deleted and lost files and were running Windows, we can provide that data to you for our standard service fee. If you need a more in-depth forensic data recovery, I.E. if you needed to recover individual emails on a certain topic or to a certain address, we provide those forensic data recovery services at an increased rate. Call to speak with a representative for details.

Does Hard Drive Doctor's flat-rate pricing apply to drives involved in fires or floods?

Hard Drive Doctor's flat-rate pricing does not apply to drives involved in fires or floods. Hard Drive Doctor will evaluate and provide a cost estimate on fire and flood drives on a case by case basis.