General Data Recovery FAQ

  • What is the general process?
    The customers drive is received into our facility and a clean room inspection is performed using a fiber optic inspection scope. Email updates from our automated server will be provided to the customer as the status of the data recovery case changes. All accessible platter surfaces are carefully inspected as well as the devices drive electronics. If donor parts are needed, customer will provide payment up front for parts. Parts are sourced and acquired. When parts arrive, parts are utilized to restore functionality to the original drive. A drive image is built using the customers original (patient) drive. Once the image is complete the data recovery extraction to a new media drive which is typically a usb flash drive or a usb external hard drive to store the customers recovered data.

  • Why is Apple Mac data always recovered to a PC formatted drive?
    All of our data recovery machines manufactured by Ace Laboratories are PC based. In addition, version(s) Mac OS X v10.3 or later can read the contents of an NTFS-formatted PC based drive, but will be unable to save any new files or make changes to existing files without first reformatting the drive (and deleting any existing data on the drive in the process). We provide the data recovery on a media which should only be used to transfer the recovered data to an additional backup, even though it can be used continuously on an ongoing basis, we highly encourage our customers to backup their recovered data immediately and keep the drive we provide stored away for a rainy day.

  • Why is data recovery so expensive? Data recovery is a very technical discipline and requires a very advanced skill set in addition to tools that can be very expensive. To be successful in data recovery one needs knowledge of the following: Troubleshooting electronics to the component level with the use of an oscilloscope and other electronics test equipment under a microscope or large magnifier, An advanced skill set with usage of hot air soldering rework station and advanced SMT (surface mount technology) soldering techniques under a microscope or large magnifier, An advanced knowledge of computer file systems including FAT, FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, HFS, HFS+ and others, Advanced knowledge and usage of a HEX editor, expensive advanced tools and combined software and hardware suites used for data recovery. In addition, a clean room is required under many circumstances limiting the number of dust particulates per cubic feet of air.

  • What should I look for in a data recovery company? One can spend days researching data recovery companies trying to decide which one is best. In the data recovery industry the most expensive is not necessarily the best. Many companies claim to have a high success rate, best price, 24 hour turn around, years of experience, recognized by hard drive manufacturers, a ton of testimonials, etc, etc.. The fact of the matter is: Data recovery techniques are developed over time with a lot of trial and error. The best data recovery companies in the world developed their success with a tremendous amount of trial and error including the development of many varied in house techniques, tools and procedures in addition to the ongoing training. Keep in mind, some of the larger companies “cherry pick” their cases taking on the easier jobs for quick turn around. We treat every case with the utmost passion and importance and never turn a complicated or extremely difficult job away.

  • What is Brute Forcing data recovery? Brute Forcing is the automated process of repeatedly trying to enter the correct password to unlock your image. Many millions of iterations and mutations are based on the following keyword list(s) provided by:
    1. Direct input from the end user
    2. One that is provided by a forensic investigation
    3. A combination of both a forensic investigation and keyord list(s) provided by an end user

    Essentially a specialized automated script is used and designed to take advantage of the full power of multi-core processors and high end GPU power to provide several million variations per minute. Depending on the complexity of the password and the accuracy of the keyword list, the brute force process can take from several minutes to many years to break a password. In most cases if the keyword list is large accurate and comprehensive, the password can be recovered quickly.

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