What data recovery companies aren’t telling you

My freeware utility Snap2HTML has turned out to be popular among data recovery companies, who can use it to send customers files listings of potentially recoverable files.

Typically you send your damaged disk or other media to the recovery company, and they will assess the damage and get back to you with an estimate of the files that can be recovered. This evaluation is usually free, and you pay to actually have your files recovered and sent back to you.

But here’s the thing. If they can tell you what files can be recovered, then they have most likely already recovered your files! That’s right. The job has already been done. They are just waiting for you to pay up so they can send you your files.

I’m by no means an expert on data recovery, but I think it makes sense if you consider that trying to read a damaged disk may cause further damage. Thus you can’t afford to read it multiple times. So the data has already been read and stored on a another disk. Then they would need to identify the file tables and match with file data. Once that is done, I would imagine that the files are ready to extract. Only now would it be possible to tell which files are actually possible to recover and at what health.

Showing the customer what data “may be” recoverable gives a great bargaining opportunity for the data recovery firms. I have no intention of badmouthing them, they do a great job and provide a valuable service, but I believe that customers have a right to know what is going on behind the scenes.

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3 Responses to What data recovery companies aren’t telling you

  1. Alex381 says:

    Hello Dan, I am working in data recovery company, and we make listings only if clients want to choose what files they need, so the recovery would be faster and cheaper. It is not the same if we copy 1 TB of data to our disk and later to customer’s, than if we copy just a 50-100 GB of user’s documents and pictures. So, the price can be slightly different, especially if disk has difficulties in reading sectors. I understand you want to warn people about misuse of your program, but there are also legitimate uses of file listings. Thank you for this free program, I will try it these days.


    • Dan says:

      Thank you for your feedback. Alex! I actually don’t think this is misusing my program. People are free to use it anyway they like. And I think it is kind of cool that recovery companies have found a “real” use for Snap2HTML, as I could not have imagined this to be a use case for the program :-)

      I am not saying that all companies do like this this, nor all the time. But people in the business have told me this is happening. I find this kind of knowledge interesting and something that is worth spreading.

  2. Thank you for developing Snap2HTML. I uploaded a file to replace the current one. It seems that Snap2HTML lists the old timestamp of the file even after refreshing the browser cache. Could you please advise? Thank you.

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