A number of my friends have been asking what finally happened with my hard drive disaster. I believe it’s finally over and done with (the comment added yesterday by Mark Tessin’s son1 notwithstanding), though it didn’t turn out exactly has I’d hoped.
By far, the best things to come of this are:
- A huge reinforcement of the importance of backups.
- Finding a local data recovery shop that I trust in case I ever need recovery services in the future.
As I mentioned previously, I took my drives to a third data recovery place once I got them back from Reynolds2: DataTech Labs. These guys were as good as everone else had been bad. DataTech Labs is highly recommended.
I was actually contacted by Jeff from DataTech Labs after he read about the experience I was having. Jeff impressed me with timely follow-up and even tried to call Reynolds himself (of course, he couldn’t get through either) to help me get my drives back. Once I did get my drives back I decided to take them to DataTech Labs, largely because of my interaction with Jeff.
After dropping my drives off at DataTech Labs, I received a call with a status update later that day, the next day, the day after – they were definitely the anti-Reynolds . Unfortunately, as their work progressed the news they were bringing me because less optimistic.
By the time the drives got to them, the drives were no longer in the “just pulled from my machine” condition they were in when I first brought them to EBoxLab/DHE Computers. When DataTech Labs received the drives, they still showed signs of being a Mac OS X RAID array, but for some reason they also had Windows file structures and signatures. This Windows data overwrote some of the crucial Mac data structure information, making useful recovery next to impossible.
I don’t know exactly what happened, but I can put together enough of a trail to see what could have happened.
- I pull the drives from my mac and bring them to EBoxLab/DHE Computers.
- EBoxLab/DHE Computers is unable to recover the data, telling me that they tried to mount the drives on both a Windows machine and a Linux machine.
- I take the drives directly from EBoxLab/DHE Computers to Reynolds Data Recovery.
- I take the drives back from Reynolds Data Recovery and take them to DataTech Labs.
Based on this, I believe that the damage was likely done by EBoxLab/DHE Computers – before the drives went to Reynolds. Of course, if that was the case then I have a hard time believing what Mark Tessin of Reynolds told me; that they had evaluated the drives and had begun recovery. There isn’t really a way for me to know conclusively either way, so I’m pretty much SOL.
End result of this fiasco: I lost some work and some photos, but thanks to the backups I did have it wasn’t nearly as catastrophic as it could have been.
Like I said though, the guys at DataTech Labs really impressed me. Even though they couldn’t do a normal recovery, they really went above and beyond to try to get something useable off the drive. They outlined to me all the different techniques they used – it was pretty impressive.
Unfortunately, in the end they were only able to do what they called a “raw recovery”. All file information like file names, file dates, etc. was lost, but they tried to reconstruct the files themselves. So I’ve got a big mess of files to sort through – or not, I haven’t really decided yet.
Again, my highest recommendation to the folks at DataTech Labs. I’m technical enough to have a pretty good bullshit detector (and to be pretty skeptical given what I went through before getting to them), and these guys are 100% straight shooters. They gave me real status information along the way, were easy to get in touch with and completely earned my trust. If you need data recovery in the Denver area, don’t mess around – contact DataTech Labs first.
- Of course, I have no real way of knowing if this is actually Mark Tessin’s son or not – the commenter used ‘Pballinghick98@hotmail.com’ as an e-mail address and a local IP address if that is at all helpful. [back]
- The Reynolds web site seems to have gone away completely now. [back]
This post is part of the thread: Hard Drive Recovery – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.