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.