First off, data recovery is just that; “Recovery”. Its quite obvious that when something cant easily be restored from an offsite backup, replaced or repaired, it then has to be recovered – meaning restored, salvaged or returned to a once functioning state.
I can completely understand that when someone essentially attempts to recreate something from nothing or in this case a physically damaged hard drive and corrupted data, it cannot be guaranteed. – and further to that, its perfectly acceptable to understand that it would be next to impossible to report on outcome until at least part of the recovery effort has been completed.
It seems to me that most labs have no idea the level of damage and what they’re dealing with until they can evaluate the drive, hands on.
This plays into timeline. An accurate timeline cannot be given until the drive is assessed, hands on. After I sent my hard drive in, three days later I was given a full report and a few different scenarios as to completion date.
Assuming that “time is money” a lab most likely will not keep your drive any longer than they have to.
With regards to cost, you only have to do a little digging on the size and scope of what a professional off-site data recovery lab has to deal with when attempting to recover a hard drive.
From hard drive repair involving a clean-room to the logical repair applied to the dataset after it is recovered, make no mistake – this is no quick trip to your local PC retailer for a $40 diagnostic.
Personally for me, getting to know the lab and learning a bit about what data recovery really means has given me a good respect for the labs offering the service.
On the flip side, any labs that come across this article – you have your work cut out for you! Transparency through communication and taking time out to educate the public will go far in building trust and a good understanding for Everything from hardware and software, to the specific know how of a trained lab-tech is not easily found.