RESCUECOM Saves People's Data and Prevents Disaster
By Allan Hoffman, Newark Star Ledger:
Rescuers save data from fried drives
So, you didn't heed the warnings to back-up the files on your personal computer.
Your hard drive is kaput and you need a professional to retrieve your data -- an admittedly sterile, unemotional word for the irreplaceable stuff on your personal computer -- snapshots of your daughter's birth, years of business records, and on and on.
You may find yourself seeking a data-retrieval expert for any number of reasons, such as fire damage, a dropped computer, or maybe a hard drive that's just stopped working. Hard drives, after all, are mechanical devices with moving parts. They don't last forever.
And this time of year, it so happens, is the season of fried drives.
"Summertime is one of our busiest times," says Jim Reinert, senior director of software and services for Ontrack Data Recovery. "It's due to temperature and electrical storms."
Hard drive problems often announce themselves with an unfamiliar noise, such as a clicking or grinding sound. If you hear any strange noises from your computer, shut down your system immediately, experts advise. Such sounds may mean your hard drive is malfunctioning, damaging your data even as you stare at your screen and wonder what you should do.
Just stop what you're doing and turn off your computer, say data retrieval experts. Then call for help.
A number of companies, including DriveSavers Data Recovery (www.drivesavers.com), Ontrack (www.ontrack.com), and RESCUECOM (www.rescuecom.com), specialize in recovering data, whether due to a hard drive failure, flood, fire or assorted software problems. They will even help you recover files that were accidentally deleted.
Keep the phone numbers of several companies handy.
Procedures vary from one company to another, but you can usually expect a two-step process involving diagnosis and then recovery. Some companies, like RESCUECOM, will pay a house call, while others require you to send your hard drive or computer to them.
Prices vary, too, but expect to pay about $1,000 to have your data recovered from a drive, depending on the situation. You will pay more if your drive needs work in the dust-free environment of a so-called "clean room."
RESCUECOM will have a technician out to your home or business in an hour for about a $200 per hour fee under its emergency service plan; otherwise, the cost is about $100 per hour.
Ontrack requires you to send your hard drive or computer to the company. For $100, you will get a detailed report on the condition of your files, viewable with the same file and folder structure as on your computer. The report will help you decide whether you want to proceed with having data retrieved.
Needless to say, you don't want to go through any of this. "We have people who often call up crying on the phone," typically about the loss of family photos or a term paper, says Josh Kaplan, RESCUECOM's marketing director and the owner of several RESCUECOM franchises, including two in New Jersey.
"As computers are more connected to people's lives, they're more emotionally attached to them," Kaplan says. "It's no longer the value of the computer that matters. It's the data."
Online resources can help you to prepare for data disasters -- if, that is, you read (and print) the material when your computer is still working. Ontrack's guide to protecting your data (www.ontrack.com/dataprotectionguide/) includes helpful tips on keeping your computer safe, while a guide to disaster recovery from DriveSavers (drivesavers.com/disaster_recovery) outlines the steps to take when disaster strikes.
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