Frequently asked questions

Answers to your questions about our data recovery services and processes.

FAQs - Data Storage

What is data storage?

Every time you use your computer or laptop, the emails you type, websites you browse, music you download and documents you create will be stored (if saved correctly) on your hard drive or storage device as "data".

On the next occasion you switch on your computer or insert your storage device, these saved and stored items will be accessible for you to use again.

What is data recovery?

In the event that your device fails or is damaged, all of your information will become "invisible" or what is generally referred to as "lost". There are many reasons why hard drives fail, but the result is at best inconvenient and at worst extremely distressing.

Data recovery is the term given to the process of retrieving "lost" data from damaged, failed or corrupted hard drives. The most common scenarios are operating system failure, disk-level/media failure or accidental or even malicious deletion.

How does data storage work?

Hard disk drives are data storage devices used for the storage and retrieval of digitally encoded data, typically using one or more rapidly rotating disks or "platters" that are treated with magnetic coating or material.

The disk platters are read with heads that are positioned on an actuator or arm.

These read/write heads read and write data to the platter surfaces. Data is typically accessed in what is known as a random access manner, which means that individual data blocks can be stored or retrieved in any order rather than in sequence.

What are hard disk drives?

Hard disk drives are termed as permanent storage, as the data is retained even when power is removed completely.

The two most common types or "form factors" that are in use for modern computers and laptops are the 3.5” form factor for desktop computers, and the 2.5” form factor which are typically found in smaller devices such as laptop and other portable computers where size is a limiting factor.

All of these hard disk drives are connected to their host systems by one of a number of standard interfaces such as PATA (Parallel ATA) SATA (Serial ATA), SCSI (Small computer Systems Interface) or SAS (Serial Attached SCSI).

General FAQs

What causes hard disk failures?

Hard disks and storage media fail for many reasons whether they are desktops, laptops or external/ removable storage devices.

Some of the common hard disk failures are caused by overheating, firmware problems, electrical/power issues, impact (such as being dropped). As always, a full inspection would be required to establish the exact cause so we can offer an effective solution to recover the data.

How long have you been recovering data?

East Anglian Data Recovery Services was officially launched on 1 June 2010, however, our personnel have been in the IT industry, working with hard drives and recovering data for many more years!

How do I get my device to you?

Depending on your location, you can bring it to us in person to our office in Dereham, Norfolk, or if you’re further away you can send it in to us via Royal Mail or your preferred courier service. We would always recommend that you send it with at the very least a “tracked” service, and ensure that the device is suitably protected with plenty of bubble wrap or alternative padding.

Do you offer a collection service?

We can certainly arrange a collection for you, but unfortunately we do have to make a charge for this, which is currently £20 + VAT. If you would like us to collect your device from your home or place of work, please complete a collection request form and we’ll be in touch right away.

What's the best way to package my device?

If your device is damaged or inaccessible and you are sending it in to us for data recovery purposes, the last thing you need is to incur more damage due to inappropriate packaging.

Our best advice is to package your item in plenty of bubble wrap and place it in a sturdy cardboard box so that it fits nice and snugly. Even USB sticks or SSDs!  We’ll need your full details inside (it’s easy to forget when you’re in panic mode), as otherwise it can cause delays to the booking-in process, and we want to notify you as soon as your parcel arrives.

Lastly, we would recommend a tracked and insured service such as Royal Mail Special Delivery, or your preferred courier. That way, you can monitor your parcel as it goes through the post/courier network, which will give you peace of mind.

How long does the inspection take?

On most occasions our inspection is complete within 24 hours, at which time we will report back to you by email with a full diagnosis and a quotation to undertake the work required. Sometimes a device will be very badly damaged and may take a little longer, but we will let you know if that’s the case.  As there will be some technical information to convey to you, we are always happy to talk through our findings over the phone with you as well, if you wish.

Do you make a charge for inspections?

We do provide a very realistic set of ballpark figures on likely costs beforehand, based on the nature of the fault described, plus the capacity of the hard drive etc. That way, you’ll have a best-and-worst-case scenario price and can decide whether you feel it's a good fit for you before you even send it in. The inspection itself can take us several hours to complete, so we do make a small charge of £39 + VAT which is offset against the final invoice should you go ahead with the works. This fee does include for return shipping by a tracked service (Royal Mail).

The inspection itself allows us to provide a "firm" price within the ballpark figures given - if the fees fall outside of this and you decline the quotation, then we would not make a charge for the inspection. 

What if I decide not to go ahead?

Obviously, we would love to help you recover the information but if you decide it’s not for you then that’s fine – there is no obligation or pressure from us at any time.  Should this be the case we will ask for your instructions regarding the return of your device (postage fees will apply), or if you have no further use for the item we can securely dispose of it for you instead.

Why don't you offer fixed prices?

With specialist data recovery, there is no “one size fits all”, as each device will have different issues depending on the brand, interface, capacity and the exact fault involved. We can have two 4TB hard drives in front of us which to most would seemingly be identical, but to a specialist we know it will require certain procedures to be carried out to enable us to gain access to the information. At EADR we believe the fairest way to charge for our time is to do just that; charge for our time on a case-by-case basis; that way the more straightforward repairs are not subject to inflated prices to fit an “average”.

We are always happy to provide a very realistic price range for every case, before you even send or bring it in to us, so you can decide whether specialist data recovery is the right service for you.

Can you provide a second opinion?

Yes we can, and we’re happy to do so. Again, it’s best to speak to us on the phone first of all to discuss why you are seeking a second look (price comparison, previous unsuccessful attempts etc.) Depending on the device history, we may need to levy a charge for inspecting if the hard drive has been previously opened (this will be confirmed before any in-depth inspection takes place).

How long does the data recovery process take?

It very much depends on the fault and the exact work required on each case; in general, from approval of quotation most cases which do not require clean chamber works take 2-3 working days. If the hard drive has mechanical damage and needs more invasive methods to recover the data, then it can take 7-10 days, sometimes longer. Once we have provided a full diagnosis and quotation, we can give you some more accurate guidance on timeframes.

My device is not being recognised. Is that serious?

If your storage device is not being detected by your computer or laptop, then it does have an issue and will need modification of some sort to access the information. We would need to inspect it for you to find out what the issue is, once the inspection is complete we can report back to you with a full diagnosis, plus recoverability odds and costs.

Can you work with hard drives which are clicking?

Yes, absolutely! Rhythmical clicking, especially after a drop or impact can indicate internal or mechanical faults, but some drives will exhibit clicking with firmware problems, which are a lot less invasive to get around. This is why we always offer an inspection, because we have seen hard drives here which have been deemed beyond recovery from other places due to “read/write head fault” , when we have gone on to recover the data after correcting the firmware issue responsible.

My USB stick is physically broken. Can you help?

We can indeed! We specialise in micro-soldering here, so we can work on the tiny components – even if the memory stick has physically snapped or become detached (providing the main storage chip is intact).

I've accidentally deleted my data. Can you help?

On many occasions, yes – but it will depend on what type of device you have, whether it has had a full format or a quick format, and what has been written to the device since the format has taken place.

What happens if you can't recover my data?

Even with the best tooling and expertise, sometimes devices are so badly damaged that data recovery is not possible. If this is discovered during our initial inspection, we will let you know straight away; for example, if we see severe damage to the platter surfaces, we can stop the process there and then.

If data recovery is attempted but is subsequently not successful, then our No Recovery, No Fee Policy will apply and no charges are levied for our works.

What happens if you can only get some of my data back? Do I have to pay the full amount?

As we are working with damaged hard drives, regrettably there may be some casualties to the data itself and not everything can be recovered successfully. Once we have finished processing your case, we will send you a full file listing of all the items recovered (and those which are not recoverable), and it will be entirely your decision whether you accept the recovery as it is, or if you wish you can simply decline the file listing and your case will be closed from our system. You’re in control and that’s the beauty of our No Recovery, No Fee Policy.

What if I only need one file from my hard drive?

Of course we will aim to recover the data which is most important to you, but unfortunately, the way data is stored means that we have to repair the device as a whole and then reconstruct the data to see if we have the critical file or folder that you need, so the price is the price irrespective. What we do often find though, is that clients who are specific at the outset with their requirements tend to be surprised at what actually comes back – items they had saved years ago which had been long forgotten. This is why we prefer to recover as much as physically possible from every device and let our clients choose what they don’t need afterwards.

Do you work with solid state drives?

Yes, we see many SSD’s here for data recovery purposes. Unfortunately, although they do not have the moving parts that mechanical hard drives do, solid state drives can and do fail.

The way that SSD’s store data (non-volatile flash memory)  is very different from mechanical hard drives and requires different data recovery methods. At EADR we can work on M.2 (SATA/NVMe) and also PCIe SSD’s, including proprietary Apple SSD’s.

Why should I use EADR to recover my data?

We have been in the IT Industry a long time, and our reputation for working with our clients in a fair and transparent way means we have earned our stripes. We are recommended by IT companies, computer repair shops and IT departments all over the UK, in Ireland and also into Europe, who trust us to look after their clients and do the best job we possibly can. We have been nominated by Techs themselves and have won awards in 2021 and 2022 for Best Outsource Company to the Tech Industry (Tech For Techs).

How do I receive my recovered data back?

This will come down to a couple of factors; client choice, and how much data needs returning. For hard drive recoveries, most often we return the data on a new portable hard drive, the smallest provided being 1TB in capacity. Some clients prefer to send in a new hard drive themselves, and that’s absolutely fine too. If we provide the return media then it is standard practice to encrypt the device for the appropriate operating system, however, if you prefer us to leave it unencrypted then we can do that too (we will need your emailed confirmation).

For smaller amounts of data we have USB Flash Drives in stock we can supply; up to 64GB we’ll even include free of charge. We can also upload the data for you and share via electronic transfer, which helps cut time involved in shipping it back to you.

I've got a real emergency. Do you offer a priority service?

Yes we do. Though we always try to recover data for our clients as quickly as possible in every scenario, sometimes there are deadlines to meet or situations which simply can’t wait. If your case is very urgent then please contact us immediately and we will sprint into action on your behalf.

We can offer options such as arrange a same-day, door to door collection by courier, usually within the hour, or you can bring it to us in person and we will be at the office waiting to get started, day or night. (Please note that the  priority service does attract an increased cost, which will be pre-agreed with you at the outset).

What methods of payment do you accept?

Our preferred method of payment is by online bank transfer, but we are also happy to accept payment by credit/debit cards (unfortunately we do not take American Express). This can be processed for you over the phone by calling 01953 667977 or we can send you a link by email to pay securely instead.

Payment is taken in full upon completion of the works and prior to despatch.

Can I pay by installments?

EADR are happy to offer our clients the option to pay by instalments. We do not charge interest; it is simply a gesture of goodwill on our part to help clients budget due to the unexpected expense of specialist data recovery works.

Your final invoice can be split into a maximum of 4 instalments; the first payment is due upon completion of the works, and the remaining payments are due at regular monthly intervals on the anniversary of the first payment until the invoice has been settled in full. A statement can be sent after each payment showing the remaining balance due, which can be settled at any time. Your data will be despatched upon receipt of the final payment.

Any other questions?

If you do not see your question here, please do give the office a call on 01953 667977 and we will be happy to help you further.