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DriveSavers Data Recovery

Losing data can be disheartening enough. What if you’re staring at your computer lodged at the bottom of a lake? For DriveSavers, that’s where the fun begins.

Losing data can be disheartening enough. What if you’re staring at your computer lodged at the bottom of a lake? For Novato-based DriveSavers, that’s where the fun begins. Co-founder Scott Gaidano chats about recovery, calming fears, and what you might find in the mud.

What kind of challenges did you find in doing data recovery?

The first thing we found was that nobody knew how to do it. There were no manuals, no classes you could take and no instructions. So over the years we’ve had to devise our own technology to recover data.

There are lots of software utilities on the market for recovering data but none of them can get data off a dead hard drive. We had to create our own tools from scratch and that took very specialized techniques and a large learning curve.

As drives get physically smaller and hold more data on a smaller format, data recovery continues to be a challenging kind of business because you’ve got to keep being able to find new techniques to get more data off quicker.

It’s very time-consuming, so we stay at the top of the curve in terms of speed and networking and ways to move data off various devices.

Why do you have a former suicide prevention counselor on staff to help customers?

Kelly Chessen is here to handle people with specialized needs and fears. It’s important to have somebody to take them through the process and let them know that whether we get the data back or not life will go on. Sometimes that’s hard, and having somebody focused on just that aspect of what goes on in the data recovery process is invaluable. Kelly has helped a lot of people over the years cope with data loss and we have found it to be very beneficial to our customers.

What are a couple of the common errors that people make in a data loss emergency?

I think one area where you can get into trouble is when you use a software utility program. With data recovery utilities, you’ve got to read the manual before you use them and you need to have a second drive available so you can move the data off your drive onto second drive. If your data is really valuable, it’s not worth messing with it. The best thing to do is get it to a data recovery company as soon as possible.

So what was the worst data loss case study that you have?

I remember one that was really bizarre. It was a flood in Nevada and this house had two computers in it. Both of the computers were missing when they were able to get back into the house. They found one of them outside their house in the river, where they could see the electrical cord floating on the surface. They were able to get out on a boat and follow a plug down and they had computer number one.

The whole system was waterlogged so they got it to us and we did a recovery. We didn’t hear from them for about a month and then somebody’s Volkswagen sunk into a muddy sinkhole. They were pulling it out by a tow truck and as it started come out of the mud, right underneath it was a computer–it was computer number two! They pulled that one out and we got that data too.

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