According to the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, USA, 93 percent of companies the server of which has been out of order for more than ten days go bankrupt within the following year. Charred interfaces, crushed read heads and destroyed drive cases represent the daily routine in the laboratory of Kroll Ontrack in the German town of Böblingen. Approximately 1000 requests for help arrive here each month by the owners of damaged hard drives. However, it might not be all that hopeless:
Most hard drives stopped functioning because of electronic flaws or data defects. Unless the drive is stone-dead, most of the time a special software can come to the rescue. In a first step, the analysis software provides some indications as to the source of the defect, which can then be taken on by the help of an entire armoury of tools. If this does not work, in a next step Ontrack will access the damaged hard drive and try to retrieve its data. Only in case all this did not help, there would be no other choice but wrapping in the drive and sending it to Böblingen.Here, in the central dust-free air conditioned warehouse where loads of spare parts are stored, only the most desperate cases end up: burned drives, with electronic black-outs, drives with mechanical defects such as destroyed bearings and crushed read heads. The particular fascination of this subject matter will only become clear in an interview with the executive director of the company, the “hard drive rescuer of Böblingen”, Peter Böhrent. His original words in German are available on MittelstandsBlog.DE.