Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Data Related Services

ADRC's Data Recovery Services

Q: What is data recovery?
A: To rescue your lost data not accessible by normal means. Depending on the type of failure, it could range from using software to probe your hard disk to retrieve the data hidden inside or physically going to the very bits and bytes of magnetic coating on the hard disk platter to extract out and reconstruct your data.

Q: What is computer forensics and how is this different from data recovery?
A: Computer forensics is the investigation and examination techniques to preserve, gather, analyse, extract and report evidence from a computer device in a way that is suitable for presentation in court of law. One very important aspect of computer forensics is to maintain a documented chain of evidence while performing a thorough and structured investigation.

In fact, in order to extract evidence from the device, data recovery must be performed to recover hidden, deleted or inaccessible data which may contain the relevant information for presentation. So data recovery forms an important part of digital or data forensics investigation.

The data extracted from forensics investigation must be permissible to be presented in litigation process. Therefore it must be reliable, reproducible and relevant. As for data recovery, the data recovered only needs to be relevant, uncorrupted and use-able.

Q: How do hard disks fail?
A: Ever wonder how does your hard disk drive work ? A hard disk can fail logically or physically. In a logical failure, the hard disk itself and your data are fine, but the computer has “forgotten” where and how your data is stored. This could be a result of application software or operating system conflict. In a physical failure, something has gone wrong with the hard disk mechanism, commonly the read-write head stack. This could be happen if the hard disk is dropped or knocked, or could be just plain wear and tear or end of product life. This is commonly referred to as hard disk crash. For hardware failure, it is not possible to recover the data using any software utility and the failed hardware must be fixed first. Running any utility, or the mere action of powering the disk, may cause further damage to the data platter resulting in permanent loss of data.

Q: What are the signs that my hard disk will be breaking down soon?
A: You may hear grinding, scraping, whining or clicking sounds or the computer BIOS sometimes doesn’t recognise the hard drive. When these happen intermittently, they are an early warning that your hard disk may be failing or have failed. But a hard disk may not always “complain” beforehand with such sounds before it fails. Remember that the platters in your hard disk spin at an incredible speed (typically more than 5400 revolutions per minute) so some sound is expected. It is the unusual or new sounds that we need to worry about. When your computer does not even “see” your hard disk, your hard disk has failed.

Q: What should I do if my hard disk fails?
A: Firstly, you need to know the complexity of hard disk technology. If you data is important, leave the disk alone and entrust it to experts to recover your data. The more you meddle with your failed hard disk, the more you may be further damaging your data and sharply reducing the amount of your data that may be recovered. Think of it like a crime scene in a CSI episode – the more it is left undisturbed, the better the chances of uncovering the criminal. It is entirely possible to lose your data permanently if you attempt to write back to your hard disk, or worse, if someone unqualified actually opens the hard disk and exposes the sensitive platters inside to contamination.

Q: Why should I choose ADRC when I can find cheaper services elsewhere?
A: If you have gone through our web pages, you would have gathered that data recovery is a professional effort demanding sophisticated facilities and advanced skills. We take pride in our ability to deliver results – succeeding where others have failed. Despite this, we are very careful on how we price our services. Given our results, our rates are reasonable. We look forward to establishing a relationship of trust with you and your associates that can stand the test of time. Please take a look at our customers' testimonial and judge for yourself.

One also need to remember that the chance of recovery is drastically reduced if the disk has been worked on unsuccessfully by some with wrong techniques or handling. Imagine this, if you are very sick and need an operation, will you choose to be operated on twice with more unknown risks or will you choose carefully a good doctor with reasonable fee to get it straight on first go ?

Not to forget ADRC take extreme care in handling data confidentiality to ensure your data is always protected.

Q: Can you provide some tips on how to select the service provider for me to make a decision ?
A: You may want to see the article on how to select the service provider.

Q: How do I know the price by ADRC is reasonable ?
A: Though we can not be the cheapest (and we do not intend to be), we are confident that our price is reasonable, and for the work quality we deliver. Remember that you are looking for reliable service at a reasonable price and your data is important. If you have a bad head crash, you only have one chance of successful recovery.

Q: How do I know what price will be charged ? How do you determine the price ?
A: We will determined the exact price of recovery after we have received and evaluated your disk. The price depends very much on job complexity which has a lot to do with the disk models, failure mode, any data encryption, types of file systems used, user's action after disk failure etc. Most of the time, the price will not depend on the amount of data to be recovered.
You could check our general pricing for more info.

Q: How long is the whole process for evaluation and recovery work?
A: On average, we take 1 to 2 days to evaluate and upon confirmation, another 1 to 3 days for recovery. You may learn more about our evaluation process.
In case the situation is urgent and the customer select the Express Service queue, we will be able to complete the job within 24 to 48 hours.

Q: How do you deliver the recovered data ?
A: User is advised to deliver us a data drive with sufficient capacity to transfer the recovered data (such as a USB drive). We can take any disk drive as long as it has sufficient capacity.

Q: Can you tell me what is your success rate ?
A: Normally we do not engage in such marketing hype. We feel that there is no point telling the customer that he has a 99% success rate and upon unsuccessful completion of work, we then tell the poor customer that he is now the 1% out. Data recovery is a rescue attempt and until we complete the recovery work, no one will be able to tell if the data is finally recoverable. We are proud to say that if we can not recover your data, no one else could. Read this if you need more assurance.
One also has to know that job complexity varies from case to case and therefore is the success rate.
If customer is eager to find out our confident level after evaluation, we could disclose on case by case basis.

Q: What is a “class 100” clean room?
A: The standard of a clean room is measured based on its air quality. The standard measures the number of particles larger than 0.5 microns in any given cubic foot of air in the clean room. To give you a sense of perspective, a normal person staying still just standing or sitting emits about 100,000 particles (0.3 microns and larger) a minute! Clean rooms start at Class 10,000 where there can be no more than 10,000 particles larger than 0.5 microns in any given cubic foot of air. ADRC has a class 100 clean room – no more than 100 particles in any given cubic foot of air. That’s the standard used by hard disk manufacturers themselves.

Q: What is the big deal about a clean room?
A: A clean room is a place where the environment is extremely stringently controlled. It is achieved and maintained by total environment control. The very air going in besides being thoroughly filtered and cleaned is further controlled down to flow rates and direction, pressurisation, temperature, and humidity. Once a clean room is built, it must be maintained and cleaned to keep its status. Entry into a clean room is tightly controlled. Only approved personnel are allowed in via airlocks and only if the personnel wear gloves, face masks, head covers and jump suits. The dedication required for a clean room is obsessive, not to mention expensive. The standard used to measure clean rooms is for particles down to the size of 0.5 microns. By that scale, a single human hair is gigantic - about 75-100 microns in diameter! Imagine a droplet of mist or fog, one micron is only a tenth of that.
If the hard disk needs to be opened up, one has to do it within a clean room. The gap between the Read-Write head and the data platter is just a few microns. Any dust particles that get into the gap will induce "crashing" of the Read-Write head onto the data platter (where your magnetic data bits are stored) resulting in total and permanent loss of data.

Q: I have very sensitive data on my hard disk, how will I know that ADRC will keep it secure?
A: Our facilities and recovery procedures are designed with security and discretion in mind. Your data is always safe with us. ADRC implements a series of meticulous and secured in-house processes. The office is secured with 24-hour video CAM and intrusion alarm. ADRC uses secured biometric door lock with daily access log. All customers' media is handled and logged at every stage of the process. Recovered data is always protected with tamper-proof seal and locked securely from all possible prying eyes. The data is stored in offline disk securely locked. ADRC will also sign separate legal Non Disclosure Agreement upon customer's request and all customer's data is subjected to ADRC's in-house NDA by default.

You may also look at how ADRC handles sensitive data.

Q: My hard disk has crashed but I desperately need a file inside. How can ADRC help?
A: ADRC has the ability to recover your data within 24 to 48 hours. That means that it is possible to retrieve your file – particularly if you know the exact location of the file and its name – in a shorter time frame.

Q: I am impressed by your services but I am not in Singapore. Can you still serve me?
A: We have served clients regularly from as far as Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China - just to name a few countries. Give us a call beforehand so that we can walk you through what to do and then have your courier stand by!

Q: What if I am not satisfied by the extent of data recovered?
A: At ADRC, our promise to you is if we don’t recover the specified data that you want, there is no charge. Be assured that every cent spent by you at ADRC will be as a result of the satisfaction of a job well done by us. Unlike some other professions where you need to pay them whether or not your problem is solved, at ADRC we take pride at our professionalism to deliver results.

Q: I have a laptop computer which is under warranty which forbids me from opening up my laptop. If I send it to the manufacturer, my data may be gone. If I send it first to ADRC to recover my data, would my warranty be affected?
A: If your hard disk inside your laptop is not physically damaged, ADRC has the capability to read and extract the data directly from the laptop without touching a single screw. As the laptop is “untouched”, your warranty remains intact. Bring your laptop in for a consultation and this will put you in a better position to know what your options are.

Q: What kind of media can ADRC handle?
A: Name it! We can’t recall an instance where we turned away a customer because we couldn’t deal with his media. Also, data damage could be caused by fire, water, virus attacks or whatever it is. Bring it on!

Q: I need your services and I really like what you are saying but I am facing financial constraints.
A: Weren’t we all! But seriously, consult us. The consultation and evaluation of your hard disk are free. We will help you if it is within our means to do so. We do make special provisions for home users and students, whenever possible.