i have managed to delete the thumbnails of our family videos of the last 6 months, including the birth of my boy amongst other things. i deleted them properly, that is emptied the trash too.
i took the laptop into magnum mac and they tried to recover the files for me. they have managed to recover some things including .mov files but when i import them into in imovie or watch in quicktime they are very grainy videos, and only some contain audio. they recovered about 7 gig of various data (i had about about 85 gig of video i deleted, i have a high def camera).
i know not to use the laptop for other uses so i am using another one at the moment for this post.
basically my questions are:
1. does anyone know my chances of recovering all of the movie files/some of them movie files and retaining 'watchable quality'
2. if i pay for forensic data recovery (i have been advised about $500- $2000, ouch) what are the chances then?
any other helpful advice? please dont say to back it up next time as i did and managed to delete that in the confusion too.
I haven't done any data recovery on a Mac, but have had several clients bring PC drives to me when quoted recovery prices and told there is not much chance of recovery. Some attempts are successful and others are not. Where are you located?
Yup - any disk activity reduces the chance as bits of files can be put anywhere on a disk basically. The thing to remember is that each picture or video file can be in 2 or 3 parts and up to several hundred on a badly fragmented disk. I understand fragmentation on a Mac disk is less than on a Win NTFS disk, but it still happens to a large degree. Unfortunately I don't know anyone in the Wellington area that I would be happy sending you to.
I used to be a Mac technician (still hold the certs though) and there's not really a magical solution. In most cases, once a file has been "deleted" and the computer has been used for a while, then some of those files are partially "overwritten", which would cause the graininess/corruption. MagnumMac (as I used to work there) use the best software data recovery you can get for the Mac. If they didn't get the data back, the only option is data forensics up in Auckland (they are very good). Usually they charge less for personal data (movies, photos etc), and cap charges at a certain amount.
They can't guarantee perfect recovery however. It's hit and miss, but if your data is that important then it's worth the risk.
Any and all subsequent disk activity reduces your chances of recovering data off a hard disc drive - I do have considerable experience in this area and have done a bit of research into it at times and had sent drives off to third parties for data recovery for a couple of former customers of mine (govt. departments).
So I assume you've stopped using this physical drive while you determine how to recover the data? If you haven't then, I'd say what you've got now, is probably all you're going to get - that's rule number 1 in a situation like this - stop using the physical drive immediately and then (I would) take images of the drive contents, prior to sending it off for data recovery. I would not under any circumstances continue to the use the physical drive at all - you're reducing your chances, by continuing to use the drive.
They company I dealt with years ago was the only one at the time with the right type of environment to perform this work (I can't recall their name and can't seem to find it, but from memory they were in Palmerston North and had overseas contacts to other recovery services - i.e. when the job got too complex for their facilities). It requires insane amounts of environmental control to perform this sort of stuff, which is why there are so few companies that do it and those who do, charge a LOT - they have to cover their costs etc.
So the question quickly becomes - how much is said data really worth to you? Realistically speaking you won't recover it all - but you might be able to get more back than you've got now - but in all honesty - the guys at Magnum Mac have probably given you the best "bang for your buck" solution - you've got a reasonable chunk of data back and it hasn't cost you your right arm.
If you get really stuck, contact the police e-crime/forensics folks and ask if they know of any other vendors. The best folks in Australasia in this field are in Australia (more expense for you, as you'd need to ship the drive there and back).
If I was in your position - I'd take what you've got now and call it a day (sorry to have to tell you). Good luck...
If you truly want to discuss this subject in technical depth and have me explain in detail how this all works (it'll bore you stupid), drop me a line as I understand this subject very, very well.