“The blue screen of death” loomed in my mind as I turned on my laptop only to find that it would not start. Visions of the consequence of being unable to finish a rush job before its looming deadline quickly followed as I frantically tried to re-boot the machine. Nothing! Nada! Not even a hint of life.
The Yellow Pages pointed me to several dealers. I started dialing. It wasn’t long until I found that there were no standard answers nor standard prices.
“It depends on how sick it is,” one technician said. I didn’t have a thermometer to check it’s temperature, so I shouted, “It will not start, that is ALL I know!”
Years have passed now and I am much wiser. I know, for instance, that for about $ 40.00 I can go online (on another computer, of course) and find software that restores files for most situations. It is best to take the drive out of the computer. For another $ 30.00 or so, you can purchase a a piece of equipment that has (1) a connector bring electrical power to the drive; (2) another connector that on one side will attach to the data plug (you must be sure to have the right size to fit the drive); and, (3) at the other end of that cable will be a connector, such as a USB cable to connect from the defective hard drive to the good computer; (2) a power cord to hook up to a connector that attaches to the defective drive to make it run. If you have some computer moxie and are not afraid to try this, it is a very reasonable way to solve most drive problems. By the way, be sure the working computer has lots of empty space to manage the data.
Now if this is a flight recorder, or if you have a drive that has been physically damaged, you need professional help. Don’t try this at home. These are the most expensive jobs and require a clean facility to open up the drive and work with the inside plates. Recovery in these cases may cost you thousands of dollars, depending on how much information is on the drive. Some companies will charge you by the gigabyte or the terabyte. For instance, if we have a 160 gigabyte hard drive that is half-full, that would be 80 gigabytes. So at $ 20.00 per gigabyte, that would be $ 160 plus a base fee for the work, maybe $ 100 or $ 500 (or more), depending on the physical damage, if any.