First of all, don't panic.

Data loss is very common, but in nearly all cases, the data can be recovered by a trained technician.

Only in the most severe cases of platter damage, magnetic degradation or a file over-write the data can be labelled as unrecoverable. With over 7 years of data recovery experience, Data Doctors have seen nearly every scenario of data loss.

Here are a few tips to help you minimize further data loss and increase your likelihood of data recovery:

Desktop PC's:

1. If your system has "crashed" and you can no longer access the operating system or see the drive in the BIOS, then shut the system down immediately and do not run any further power through the drive by attempting reboots. If the headstack inside your drive has been damaged, you may cause further additional damage to the platters of the drive.

2. If you have deleted a file or files or accidentally formatted your drive, then the most important thing is to NOT write or install ANY new application onto that drive. Deleting files simply removes the locating tag of the file, but the file is still intact on the drive. If you add new data to the drive, you may over-write your lost data. Using advanced data recovery software, Data Doctors can re-assemble the binary code and restore your files.

3. If your partition has become corrupted, the most important thing to remember is NOT to attempt a re-install of your operating system or add new data to the drive. Data Doctors will use specialised tools and techniques to repair the partition and/or extract your data.

4. If you have deleted a partition, do not attempt to restore it by formatting the drive as this will only result in the addition of an empty partition. It will not recover your data.

5. If you believe you have been infected with a virus, shut the system down and contact Data Doctors, we will be able to help you identify the threat it poses to your data.

6. If you experience a single file corruption, be sure not to attempt creating a new file with the same name as this will partially over-write the file and will greatly decrease our ability to recover the file fully.

Remember, these are just a few of the more common reasons for data loss. Any attempts that you make to recover the file or drive may result in a decreased quality of our recovery efforts or even make it impossible for us to recover the data.

Laptops and Notebooks

Laptop and notebook drives are much smaller and more fragile than their desktop cousins, consequently they require a more delicate touch to repair and recover. However, the steps listed above, will minimize further data loss applies to laptop data recovery as well. However note the following:

1. Unless the drive was designed to be removed by simply sliding out of the casing, do not attempt to remove it yourself.

2. If you can remove the drive easily, be sure not to put any undue stress on it by applying pressure to the housing on the drive.

3. Take extra care when packaging a laptop drive for shipping, so as not to incur any further damage before reaching one of our labs.

4. If you cannot remove the hard drive from a laptop, you have to send us or bring the laptop to us and then we will take care of the rest.

IF YOU ARE SHIPPING YOUR HARD DRIVE, NOTE THE FOLLOWING:

If at all possible, remove the media from the computer. Get expert help if necessary. Send us just the hard drive(s), tape(s), floppy, jaz, zip, optical, flashcard, microdrive etc.

Handle a hard disk drive as you would handle an egg. Handle failed hard disk drives with the same care as new drives.

Use the original shipping materials, if you still have them. If not, they are relatively easy to replicate:

1.) Wrap media in an anti-static bag or tinfoil to prevent electrostatic discharge.

2.) Use a box that is at least twice the size of the media so that the media can be suspended in the middle of the box. We recommend a minimum of two inches of insulation all around for a 2 lb drive.

3.) Pack securely with foam, bubble wrap, or creased newspaper so the media will not move from the middle of the box.

4.) If sending a computer, laptop or notebook, use great care to ensure proper cushioning and protection. We recommend at least 6 inches for insulation. The heavier the unit, the more padding required.

We Recommend TNT, UPS or DHL. You can also use royal mail Special Delivery but you must make sure the media is packed properly as instructed. NEVER SEND HARD DRIVES IN JIFFY BAGS!

REMEMBER ALWAYS THE BEST WAY TO BRING YOUR HARD DRIVE OR YOUR LAPTOP, IS TO BRING IT TO US. WE ARE OPEN MON-THURS 9am-9pm FRIDAYS 9am-6:30pm and SATURDAYS 10am-6:30pm. For the address and directions on how to come to us, click here.

Please call 0333 5 777 120 if you have any questions.

For any data recovery enquiries please call 0207 516 1077 or email info@datadoctors.co.uk.