This flow chart is intended to provide guidance to computer IT and computer repair professionals.  It outlines safe best practices for properly triage of any hard drive where the data is critical and losing it would be detrimental to the customer.

Many technicians mistakenly make mistakes by attempting things on a hard drive which no only isn’t effective in the circumstance, but can actually lead to permanent data loss or potentially even a lawsuit.  Not all advice found online regarding data recovery techniques is reputable.  In fact it’s been suggested that there is far more misinformation out there than reputable information.

The provided flow chart is produced by Data Medics professional data recovery laboratory, and outlines the overall steps that should be taken both in the repair technician’s hands as well as at the lab during intake and evaluation.  It is far from an exhaustive guide on data recovery procedures.

You’ll notice that in many instances the advice is to bring the HDD to a professional laboratory rather than continuing efforts on your own.  The fact is that without proper diagnostic and testing equipment, it’s impossible to know if your efforts are causing permanent damage.  Only if your customer has definitively confirmed that the data isn’t worth the cost of professional services should you proceed in such an event.