July 18, 2014
We all tend to treat our computers and memory devices as if they were indestructible. The truth is, they are material and like other material things – they can get destroyed and the information contained in them can simply get lost. Even though practically every kind of damage can cause data loss, the current data recovery technologies are developed sufficiently enough to deal with those problems.
Specialists of data recovery often face critical situations, where the lost data is of great value and the memory devices are severely damaged. Still, they can deal with almost every problem. Almost – that depends on the creativity of the users, who each year find more and more inventive ways to damage their hard drives.
Here at DATA Lab, we’ve been in the business of data recovery for more than a decade and we still get surprised by the stories brought in by our clients. Some of those cases were easy to solve, others presented a great challenge. Here’s what we learned on our data recovery journey – read on to see what customers are capable of when it comes to their hard disks and memory devices.
How often do we have to wait for that e-mail to be sent or that important website to load? When our operating system lags or gets completely frozen, we tend to get annoyed. Some of us more then others. Over the years of practice, we’ve learned that people tend to solve those disagreements in a slightly violent manner – some resort to hitting their laptops, others kick them or hit them against the nearest furniture. Naturally, the potential success of recording data depends on the damage and some cases are really impossible to deal with. Here’s a picture of a hard disk brought by one of our clients – you can only imagine what happened to the laptop in question.
All of us have at least once spilled something over our computers. During our long practice, we had many people coming in with laptops that have somehow finished bathed in the water – a nice hot bath might not be as nice and relaxing for our electronic devices as it is for us. Still, some people can really take this damage category to the next level.
Imagine a guy, a successful businessman who wants to stay on top of his work during holiday and takes his laptop along to the beach. It’s time to get into the water, but the guy isn’t going to leave his laptop unprotected – he procures a plastic bag, carefully wraps his device and together, they go to have a refreshing swim in the sea.
Naturally, after a while he realizes that his DIY protective case is not as efficient in fighting against water as he supposed. We receive a desperate call and prepare for the worst – the man has plenty of important data on his soaked hard disk. We managed to successfully recover all the data – we doubt the guy will ever take his laptop for a dip again.
Curiosity Killed the… Hard Drive?
Once, a customer came with a broken laptop. Evidently, the cause was water – someone has spilled some liquid onto its keyboard. The client swore that nothing like that happened and she was not the one to blame. After a moment of reflection, she came up with a possible cause of this unfortunate flooding. What happened? She was a proud owner of a cat, who decided that an open laptop on the floor could easily serve as his toilet. All the data from the flooded hard disk was recovered, but the process itself was particularly smelly.
The Magic of Oil
They say oil is great for everything – our food, our skin, our hair, our… memory devices? Apparently, some people really believe that. Once, we had a visit from a man, whose SD card stopped working. Analyzing the broken device, we found out that some liquid was spilled on it. The customer admitted that he tried to repair the broken device on his own, following the guidelines he found on the Internet.
Our customer found a tip for recovering data from CDs and applied it to his SD card. Can you imagine what was the tip? Apply a thin layer of oil to help the driver read data from your CD… In the end, the man swore never to use oil again – not even in his kitchen!
Some stories we hear at our office are too amazing to be true. This is one of them. There was a man, whose dream was to go to Africa and take some truly breathtaking photos. And that he did. Back at home, he started to edit his photos, when suddenly a fire broke in his flat. His laptop caught fire, but the firemen came quickly and managed to salvage what was left of it. Almost.
When walking down the ladder, an unfortunate fireman dropped the laptop on the ground, inflicting further damage. Despite the burning and the fall from high altitude, the data survived and were successfully recovered. Now, the photos that have almost burnt can be seen in the promotional materials of a traveling company.
Starting With a Bang!
Another great story that shows how easy it is to lose all your data within seconds. A manager who was having a really rough morning was so concentrated on getting her child to sit inside the car, that she left her laptop on the car roof. Without a second thought, she headed off.
The loud bang in the back reminded her of that poor laptop. The landing was tragic enough to forbid any data recovery. Fortunately, her company has a rigorous data backup policy so she never lost anything really important. Still, that event gave everyone a chill.
Situations like that will and must happen in the data recovery business. Sometimes we can deal with the damage, other times we struggle with it. It’s fair to say we’ll never keep up with all the creative methods for inducing damage that are constantly devised by our customers, but that’s what keeps the work interesting – you never know what kind of amazing story is behind this particular piece of broken electronics.jackfrenson