Self-attempt data recovery: Ctrl_F reveals rip-offs

When the computer breaks down and the data on the hard drive seems to be lost, one word is quickly typed into the Google search bar: data recovery. And already you get numerous advertisements as well as regular search results, which companies advertise for data carrier analysis, hard drive recovery, file recovery and so on. Strg_F, the NDR's documentary and reportage channel on YouTube, tried out the largest providers - and came across a widespread rip-off. Spend several hundred or even over a thousand euros on data recovery? Does not have to be! Here I have summarized the most important information for you.

Rip off data recovery - you can solve the problem yourself with free software to save the data yourself, with a hard drive backup and / or with a boot stick.
Rip off data recovery - you can solve the problem yourself with free software to save the data yourself, with a hard drive backup and / or with a boot stick.

Self-experiment data recovery - a film by Armin Ghassim

You will find it under the title "Self-experiment data recovery: Which company is ripping me off?" Video of STRG_F on Youtube. In 19 minutes and 16 seconds it is shown how you can find some data recovery providers via the Internet, that most companies offer local data carrier acceptance, but some are located abroad, and much more. 

Customers are asked about the importance of their data via queries, for example directly on the phone. If they are important and need to be replaced quickly, the price rises exorbitantly. The companies solve a (for experts) simple problem depending on the stress factor of the customers with usury.

Data recovery software: do data recovery yourself

In the comments below the video you can find some tips on how to do the data recovery yourself. The TestDisk App called whose download you with this link finds. Documentation and instructions for TestDisk are available here. You can download the program from the linked download page for macOS, Windows, Linux and even for Dos / Win9x.

In addition, there are some other comments that you should consider before entering the greedy clutches of the data recovery rip-off (or so that you don't even do it):

No matter which city you live in, there is always that one small traditional computer shop that has been around for many years and can do the simplest crafts yourself. And for everything that can't be done there, for a tip of 10 you can at least get good advice on who to turn to.

[...] If it is an HDD with magnetic data carrier, physical damage to the read or write heads of the hard disk would probably be if no data recovery / inspection was possible via software [...] In ALL other cases EVERYONE who can use google can use his Save data yourself if you are not afraid of it and just give it a try!

USB hard drives and sticks hardly cost anything and a backup program can be found for free on the Internet.  Unfortunately, anyone who needs a data saver for private purposes has no idea or has too much money.

My recommendation: make regular backups

Here in the blog you will get to read it again and again, before a macOS upgrade as well as as a Protection against ransomware: Make backups! Take an external hard drive, a USB stick, an SD card or a cloud service to hand and regularly copy the contents of your hard drive to it. I have already introduced you to some services for this:

Bootable data carrier: hard disk, USB stick, DVD-ROM

With some of the apps suggested above, you can even create a bootable backup, i.e. a backup copy from which you can start the operating system. This also works with a boot stick, on which only the operating system is located and which you can create for security and, in an emergency, to start a Mac or PC: 

In case of doubt, you can still access the computer and save data from the hard drive (if it still reacts). At least you can back up files, folders and projects from a second built-in hard drive, if this is still intact and you just lack the operating system for booting and displaying the user interface. 

Your tips against rip-offs in data recovery

Do you have any hints, tips and tricks on how to deal with the alleged loss of your data? Have you ever recovered files from a crashed hard drive? and if so, with what software? Please leave a comment so that future readers can find a little help collection here;)

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5 comments on "Self-experiment data recovery: Ctrl_F uncovers rip-off"

  1. Beatrice Willius

    Multiple backups are better than one backup. Cloud AND on hard drive. USB sticks are way too small and I lost them one after the other.

    If the hard disk is too big and you move data, you have to make two copies of the data.

    Even if, according to the court, cookies are now subject to approval, this does not mean that the warning is clapped on the forehead in anticipatory obedience. I hope this verdict will be cashed in. Sorry, the verdict is absurd.

    1. Hello Beatrix! You're right about both things. I also use cloud, time machine and local hard drive for backups. Something like this usually works in an emergency.

      Because of the cookies: Yeah, that thing is a bit tough and annoying. I'll take it out again until the courts have come to an agreement.

    2. I can only agree with that. Data should be backed up several times and preferably not in the same place on a regular basis.

      However, should you ever need a data recovery, I would still recommend Ontrack. I have had very good experiences with it so far.

      LG Werner

  2. Backups are absolutely essential! I use a combination of cloud storage for permanent data backup and two encrypted external hard drives for a weekly backup. These are kept in different places to be on the safe side in the event of a fire.

    Since customers of mine have already had a data loss and came to me with it, I was also confronted with this topic. As an Austrian, I still went to Ontrack because they a) seemed most professional and b) have a branch in Austria. Back then, my customers were satisfied with Ontrack's service.

    Best Regards

  3. It is a real shame that the entire industry is polluted by such dubious companies.
    My tip against rip-offs would be to get different opinions. Consultations are usually free of charge.
    A small note on this: logical errors are usually always cheaper than mechanical or electronic defects.
    You can also check where the actual company headquarters are in order to rule out dubious acceptance points.

    Greeting Björn

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