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While the subject of data recovery can fill a separate article, you should be aware there are methods to recover data that go well beyond commonly available recovery software. This software may be effective on data that has not been overwritten with other data and on drives that have not suffered physical damage. Beyond that circumstance, you should be aware that there are companies that specialize in repairing hardware damage such as replacing new heads, drive electronics, servos, etc. For more complex repairs a few companies specialize in forensic recovery of information. These are the same companies used by the government to gather information from drives so they can prosecute bad guys. They are expensive and not 100 percent likely to be successful, but if you really need to get the data, it may be worth the expense.
One final note, make sure your drives are formatted as NTFS or XFS, as opposed to the traditional Fat 32 format. These formats utilize a concept called journaling, which create restore points over time. You may be able to roll-back these drives to a point before the crash occurred, thus only losing data from the current day back to the restore point.
The bottom line here is to make sure you have a good backup system and make sure there is a process in place to ensure the backups are timely and the integrity of the backup data is routinely checked.
McNamara is president of Applied Wireless, Cape Coral, FL.
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