Beware of Warranty Repairs and Data Recovery Software

This post is all about the dangers of using a warranty repair service on your faulty computer equipment without first backing up your data.. It’s then about the pitfalls of using data recovery software to attempt to recover your files !

“I had a warranty repair done on my new laptop, and for no reason they wiped the internal (c:) 256 SSD and (d:) 1Tb HDD. For no actual reason, the warranty repair business reset the operating system, wiping the drives.

The HDD d: drive was empty, as only manually transferred content is was saved on the d; HDD. So prior to the wipe, it contained about 30000 photos and some short video taking up 150 gb’ish space on the 1Tb drive. With not everything backed up.

I bought Kroll easy recovery home. Installed in the c: drive and scanned the d: drive – showing many of the images etc where there and could be recovered. Unfortunately I thought the scan saved the data organisation – so I started the HDD content drive recovery, saving to the HDD drive – rather than saving any recovered data to a third location (or to the SSD). Unfortunately this error was not made clear in the help guide

What occurred was the recovery overwrote the d: HDD, The recovery, instead of saving only the 150 Gb of content, filled the entire 1 Tb HDD with data of some kind.

Rescanning showed some thumbnail images, but with both Kroll home, then Kroll pro, no information / photos could be saved / recovered with the web software.

The next step via Kroll would be sending the HDD into them to attempt a manual recovery. Which may or may not work.

Please can you let me know what your thoughts are about data recovery options for my HDD, and best options to try – and if that would be sending the drive into you what would this cost? Also, if you think anything could actually be done at all.”

Oh dear, you’ve inadvertently overwritten the data you were attempting to recover I’m sorry to say. This is one of the biggest pitfalls of using recovery software – it’s so easy to overwrite the files you want to get back.

Once data has been overwritten there is nothing that can be done to get it back again. Please note: overwriting is different from deleting or erasing. Deleting a file on a Windows system doesn’t actually overwrite the file – it’s still on the hard drive until it is overwritten by something else at some future time. Therefore if you delete some data you would like back it’s important to switch the machine off asap and not use the hard drive again. This preserves the data and provides the best chance for recovery.

Unfortunately in this case the data is gone and nothing can be done to recover it. I notice you are in Sheffield – you are welcome to call in at our Sheffield office and we’ll confirm our thoughts free of charge. If anyone else is in a similar situation in the UK – call into our of our local data recovery service centres and we’ll do the same for you.