One of the most important aspects of being a photographer is backing up your pictures. I understand this importance, so I have two hard drives: a 2TB disk for daily use and a 4TB disk for archiving (I use this less often). I'm quite meticulous with my photos' organization, as I think it's essential and makes my life easier.
While I was archiving my latest photos, I knocked my 4TB hard drive off of the table. As I watched it smash into the floor, sheer panic flushed over me. After picking it up from the floor, I plugged it in, finding that I could not access all my professional and personal archives between 2015 and 2019 and my professional contract files.
The loss of these archived files was devastating, as not only did it affect my work, but it also meant I couldn't continue to write my photography blog – which is a great hobby of mine!
Given the importance of the data I had lost, I chose to contact a professional, which happened to be Ontrack – mainly because of their years of experience in the data recovery field.
While passing through Paris, I dropped my hard drive off for a free evaluation. The process was super easy, as I just had to fill in a quick form. Ontrack assured me that there was no obligation for me to go ahead with the recovery; they also said that they do not charge if they can't recover any data.
The evaluation aims to determine the problem and estimates the recoverable percentage of data. For my hard drive, they estimated that they could recover 90-100% of the files. I was offered a quote with three different service options: Standard (10-15 business days), Express (3-5 business days), and Urgent (12-48 hours).
I was put in touch with one of the Ontrack engineers (Alex), who explained the details of the damage my hard drive had suffered. Alex explained that when my hard drive hit the floor, the playback head was damaged, resulting in a scratch to the disk, damaging the files.
After talking to Alex, I decided to go ahead with the quote. A new playback head was ordered, and my disk went to the cleanroom. Alex kept me informed throughout the whole process, which was very comforting.
Below are the final results.
Good files: 116,238 files or 1.03 TB
Partial files: 28,701 files or 1.06 TB with a risk of not opening
Ontrack managed to recover 80% of the files, leaving 20% as 'partial' files – I could still access some of these files.
I received my data on a new encrypted 4TB hard drive, with the files separated into two folders: Good and Partial. To my surprise, the files were in my usual, beautiful order, which made it easy for me to sort through and check if I was missing anything important.
Can you put a price on the recovery of years of personal files and professional work? I don't think so! Many people deem data recovery expensive, and I suppose it is, but with the level of expertise and service you receive, you must expect to pay for it!
For the data recovery and transfer to an equivalent hard drive (4TB), I paid €649 (ex VAT). Ontrack offers a payment plan if you can't pay your fee all at once.
All my life was on that hard drive, so it was truly an awful moment when I lost that data. In such moments of panic, it is important to know who can be trusted to help you recover your precious data.
Thanks to Ontrack, 80% of my data was recovered, limiting the damage to my business. All I can say is thanks, Ontrack!