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What is the best (that you know of) commercial data recovery software? If a hard drive fails (SATA/ATA/SCSI), what is the best software to use to recover data from it?

edit: the reason I specified "commercial" is because I wanted to illustrate that I'm not the one in need of any kind of backup for myself. I'm looking for a software that's great that commercial data-recovery centers use. Yes, I know they use hardware as well as software...but if anyone could point me in the direction of which commercial software they use, then that's what I'm looking for.

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closed as not constructive by voretaq7 Feb 9 '12 at 2:33

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up vote 4 down vote accepted


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I appreciate this answer the most as it is the closest that directly answers my question without assuming/concluding anything further. I thank you for it, GregD. – Sev Sep 22 '09 at 23:09

If the data is important, turn the drive off and send it to a facility to do the recovery for you.

You need to understand what is wrong with the drive before you power it on or you may do more damage to the rest of the drive. If you've suffered a head crash or bearing failure, no software in the world will help you and you'll be moving the bad head all over the platter potentially screwing up more of the surface.

A data recovery house will have spare controllers, diagnostic tools, and a clean room and spare heads and bearings and such. They'll look at your drive and figure out what is wrong with it and fix it then try to read the data.

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Maybe I should have clarified. I want to be the person doing the recovery. Thanks though. – Sev Sep 22 '09 at 1:34

I find rdiff-backup or dirvish works really well.

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Aren't these backup methods? I'm looking for data recovery. – Sev Sep 22 '09 at 1:37
My point exactly. – womble Sep 22 '09 at 3:12
Well, that doesn't answer my question. How do you know whether I'm trying to help a client who has already lost his data? How would backing up help that situation, and help me get paid? It wouldn't. So please try to answer the question directly. – Sev Sep 22 '09 at 18:18
If you were worth paying, you'd know that stuffing around with it yourself, as someone who obviously doesn't know what they're doing, has a high probability of losing any data that might currently be recoverable. Sending it off to a data recovery company is The Right Thing To Do. Also, having backups beforehand is also The Right Thing To Do, and if this isn't a hypothetical question then you've already screwed up royally by not having said backups. – womble Sep 22 '09 at 22:36
P.S. In case you're wondering how I know that you obviously don't know what you're doing in the data recovery sphere: most of what data recovery companies do isn't software, it's hardware, and the software they do use is almost all developed in-house. – womble Sep 22 '09 at 22:37

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