Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about our processes and procedures. Find the answer here.


Please review the answers to most frequent questions below and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information.


If I Deleted a File, Is It Still There?

In most cases, yes.  Even if you empty the recycle bin the data still exists on the hard drive, at least for a while.  It’s important to understand how operating systems like Windows store data.  All operating systems use a type of filesystem which is essentially a directory of where files are stored, their names, folder location, size, and other information.  Also to protect against accidents, a backup copy of the filesystem is also stored in most operating systems. When a file is “deleted” what’s actually deleted is the reference in the primary filesystem table.  However the file itself is stored in a different location on the drive.  After the entry in the filesystem is deleted, the OS now thinks that space is available and may opt to store another file in that location making recovery impossible.  That’s why it’s so important to immediately stop using the computer where the data was deleted.  Also in most cases the secondary filesystem still contains the necessary information to properly identify the file.  Just don’t wait too long, or the backup copy may be updated and the entry lost completely. Most data recovery software works by analyzing the filesystem data to see what entries are in the secondary copy but not in the primary.  Thus identifying them as deleted files.  The higher end software can also perform a data area scan to identify lost files and folder structures that are no longer available in the filesystem.  The files may not have their names and folder locations, but if you have time to sort through them, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for.

How Long Does Data Recovery Take?

One of the first questions we get asked by most customers is “How long will the recovery take?”. Unfortunately there is no clear cut answer to that question, as each case is different. We will provide estimated length of recovery once we have the chance to review the state of the media. This is a step #3 outlined in the the Recovery Process.

Here are some factors to consider that affect the overall timeline of the data recovery.

  • Hardware Condition – A drive that is fully functional is much faster to recover data from than one that is severely damaged and must be repaired.  So cases that are simply related to accidental deletion, format, viruses, etc. are generally pretty quick on the turnaround.  Usually within 48 hours for most cases, however there are times when it takes longer.  Drives needing hardware recovery generally take about 7 to 10 days, but can take longer based on other factors below.
  • Drive Size – Even if the drive is fully functional a 4Tb drive will take as much as 20 hours to perform a single scan, and a typical recovery may involve several scans to effectively find all files.  Also as a professional data recovery lab, we always clone the drive first to prevent any possibility of accidents while working with the data.  As a rule of thumb expect an extra day for drives larger than 500Gb or a few days for drives larger than 2Tb.
  • Availability of Donor Parts – For drives with hardware issues, parts are often needed to repair the drive to a semi-functional condition where the data can be successfully extracted.  Some hard drive sub-models are very common and easy to find the parts from one of our vendors.  However others are not.  At times we may even have to spend weeks searching online and calling other data recovery labs for the specific drive or parts we need.  Or we may even have to buy a donor drive from overseas and wait for it to arrive.  Usually this is the longest part of the whole process for hardware level recoveries.
  • Functionality of Drive After Repair – Many makes of hard drives don’t take kindly to replacement parts, and don’t function anywhere near their full potential after an internal repair.  As drives write magnetic data on a microscopic level, even the slightest micro variation (or micro jog) in manufacturing of parts may cause the drive to constantly have to re-read data over and over.  While rare, some drives can take a month or more to extract all the data after such internal repairs.
  • Service Type – Customers who need expedited or emergency services pay a bit more for our services, however they also get priority service.  If you order expedited service ($100 extra) your project will be bumped to the front of the line and worked on before all other projects.  However the work is still performed during normal business hours.  If that isn’t fast enough you can order emergency service (quoted base on expected overtime) and we work through the night, and over weekend to finish the project as fast as possible.
What Is The Rate of Successful Recovery?

You may have seen websites online advertising something like a 99% success rate, but in reality those numbers are impossible.  Approximately 10-15% of all hard drives that have failed will never be recoverable by any technology current or future.  At times hard drives fail in such a way that the data contained on the platters (disks) is simply sanded off and no longer exists.  Newer high density drives are even more susceptible to this type of failure.

Many companies try to artificially inflate their success rate by quoting extremely high prices for projects they expect to fail, knowing that the customer is going to decline the quote and they won’t even have to attempt recovery.  Thus keeping their impossibly high data recovery statistics up.  Here at Budget Data Recovery we don’t play those games. Upon successful evaluation of the media, we’ll provide a quote along with a realistic evaluation of the chances of a successful recovery.

How Do I Get My Data Back After Recovery?

Once the invoice is paid we deliver recovered data to you. This is also outlined in the Recovery Process Step 9. There are several options you can choose from

  • download it from our customer portal – usually 1GB of data can be downloaded in about 7 minutes, we can provide an estimate of what your recovered data will take once job is completed. We’ve seen customers download over 100GB of data in under 24 hours utilizing this method. This cuts down on the cost since the destination hard drive isn’t needed.
  • we can upload the files to the cloud drive of your choosing (Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, Amazon Drive, Dropbox, etc) if you provide us with access
  • purchase the destination hard drive from Us – we have multiple sizes available at a market price. Cost will be determined based on the size of recovered data.

We keep your recovered data on our servers up to 7 days after invoice is paid. Data will be permanently deleted once the 7 day mark is reached or as soon as you request it.

What Happens If The Data Can't Be Recovered?

If we are unable to recover the data you will not be billed for our efforts. The only cost you might be responsible for is the price of parts needed to attempt the repair of physically damaged drive. This step is explained in the Step 4 of Recovery Process. We will appraise you of this in our first communication. You can refuse any attempts to recover at this point to avoid those costs. If you approve to move forward they will be itemized and explained at the time you receive the quote.

In some cases where the recovery is very partial, you will be given opportunity to preview the listing of data to see if any necessary data has been successfully recovered.  You will then have the option to accept the recovered data and pay the quote, or decline and call it a loss.

We can send your original media back to you you’ll just have to pay for shipping.

What If The Quote Is Too High?

All evaluations are performed at no cost or obligation to the customer.  If after you are quoted you determine that the cost is too high, you are free to take your media back and will not be charged. If this happens, please hold on to your media as you may later discover that there was more lost data than you initially realized.

FAQ section is always growing based on customers questions.

If you don’t see the answer to your question above or in the Recovery Process section please contact us below and we’ll get back to you right away.

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Those guys are great! Got back every bit of my data. Very fast and the price was very reasonable as well. They also instructed me on how to keep proper backups so i can avoid the risk of data loss in the future. While I hope I never need their help again they will be the the first folks I'll call if I ever do.

Patrick D.

Fox Lake, IL.

Backup Data Recovery saved me big time! I was in the middle of writing my dissertation when my hard drive died on me. My last backup was over a month ago which was useless since all my work was done in the last week. They very quickly recovered everything so I could get back to work. Highly recommended!

Mark H.

Lake Zurich, IL.

My hard drive was clicking and acting up. I tried to pull the data off but I only managed to get about half of what I needed to keep. Took it to them and they were able to recover all the files I needed. They are very knowledgeable and quick.

Bill T.

Gurnee, IL.