The first response of many people when they suffer data loss is to grab their phone, search for ‘data recovery at home’, and follow one of the many tutorials that are out there. While there is a lot of useful and informative information out there, much of it is misleading, and can actually make the chances of a successful recovery even less likely. We regularly get hard drives in that have been subjected to botched DIY data recovery, which can potentially turn a £200 job into a £2000 job.
Even simply plugging in a physically damaged hard drive can result in platter damage. Even if the problem is simply logical, some data recovery software can modify existing file structures and cause further data loss. Hard disk drives, solid state drives and more recently, solid state hybrid drives, are becoming more advanced, with higher capabilities. More data is being stored on them, and the designs are becoming more complex.
If you have accidentally deleted a file, then software like Recuva might be able to get it back. But once the data has been overwritten, recovering it is far more difficult, and likely to far beyond the capabilities of home software packages.
When it comes to physical problems, you should be even more wary. Opening up sensitive hard disk drives can run the risk of causing more damage – hard drives are assembled in controlled environments. When you send your drive to a data recovery specialist, the drive will be opened in a controlled environment, free of dust and moisture.
In short, for minor problems like accidentally deleted files, trying to use software might be beneficial and result in success. But for more serious incidents, like overwritten data or physical damage, it is likely to end up costing you more money in the long run.