Since 1987 we've helped thousands of Mac & Windows users recover from data loss. Whether your data includes photos you can't retake, projects you don't have time to redo, or emails you can't live without, we can recover it all.
Having spent endless days and nights creating an enormously important document, and then, in one second, losing it by having touched down on an inappropriate key… was excruciating. After many unsuccessful attempts by others to somehow retrieve said document, my anguish worsened. Then I found Tekserve. In spite of my having been told by many others that my work was likely gone, Tekserve actually… miraculously made the data recovery I was desperate to find. To have had to re-create such a document would have been dreadfully time consuming, emotionally draining… and perhaps even impossible. I shall be forever grateful for the profound relief Tekserve provided. Thank you a thousand times… and more! —D. A. on 2/14/11
Free Estimates & Complete Solutions
Bring your computer or other data storage device to Tekserve for a free estimate. We have all the resources to get you back up and running again as quickly as possible. In addition to data recovery, we will:
- Repair your recent Apple computer whether it is in or out of warranty; if it's time to move on to a new machine, we'll help you choose the right computer and transfer your recovered data to it.
- Rent you a Mac to use during the recovery process for a flat fee.
- Help you purchase missing software or contact manufacturers for replacement disks.
- Create a backup plan so that you'll never need data recovery again.
No Charge if the Data Isn't Recovered to Your Satisfaction
Usually we're able to recover all the data from your device. In rare cases, our technicians will be able to recover a portion of your data. If you are unsatisfied with the recovered data, there is no charge. If we are unable to recover any data, you will not be charged, and we can coordinate having your drive sent to a more intensive (and expensive) data recovery facility.
Rush Service Available
Our typical turnaround time for data recovery is five to seven business days. If the situation requires it, we do offer a rush option. Rush fees are not refundable.
Recovery is Available For Just About Anything That Holds Data
- Computers running any version of Mac OS or Windows
- Nearly any internal or external hard drive
- RAID arrays
- Digital camera media (compact flash, memory stick, smart media, micro drives, SD and mini SD cards)
- USB flash drives
- Removable media (floppy disks, Zip disks, SyQuest carts, Jaz carts and more)
Something else? Please contact us to find out if we can help.
Click on a question below to view in full:
- Will my Apple Warranty or AppleCare pay for data recovery?
Unfortunately, no. Apple will cover replacing your hard drive at Tekserve after the data recovery is completed. You can read the full legal mumbo-jumbo on Apple's website for hardware warranties and AppleCare.
- Which warranties or insurance policies pay for data recovery?
Very few. Apple warranties cover replacing the broken drive but not recovering any data. Glyph is the only external hard drive manufacturer (we know of) that offers free data recovery attempts for two years. (Which is also one of the reasons we recommend them as the most reliable external hard drives on the market.) If your computer is insured, check with your insurance company about data recovery.
- Why do hard drives fail?
Hard drives are incredible feats of engineering. Inside every hard drive are one or more platters (usually glass) coated with magnetic material. The platter is spinning at 4,200 to 10,000 rotations per minute. Just like a miniature record player sped up a hundred times. There are tiny read/write "heads" floating over the platter on delicate arms. The distance from head to platter is less than the breadth of a human hair. If the head accidentally touches the platter, it acts like a snowplow, scraping the magnetic material and your data off the platter. Forever. That's just one way they can fail.
The most common causes of data loss are:
- Mechanical failure of the drive caused by being dropped, bumped while in use, or manufacturer defect.
- Data corruption or directory damage caused by forgetting to eject disks before removing them, computer crashes, viruses, power loss, or plain bad luck.
- Accidental deletion of files by emptying the trash, reformatting the hard drive, or reinstalling the operating system.
- Environmental disasters like fires, floods, power surges, or extreme heat & humidity.
- Why does directory damage occur?
The computer's operating system (OS), is responsible for reading and writing data to your drives. Besides writing the actual data, the OS has to update the indices that keep track of which file is where. If the computer crashes, loses power, or experiences another problem, it's possible that a file is written properly, but its index gets corrupted. OS X 10.3 introduced "journaling," which helps a little, but doesn't prevent the problem.
- Is it my fault if my hard drive fails, and can I prevent it?
There are a few precautions you can take. It's best not to move a computer while the drive is spinning. Ideally, you would put a portable computer to sleep before moving it. When using an external hard drive or USB flash drive, you should always eject the disk by dragging it to the Trash icon (which will change to an eject symbol) before disconnecting the external drive. Properly ejecting disks makes sure that their directories are properly updated before you disconnect them. If you are shutting down the computer, you don't need to eject disks. The OS will take care of properly updating each drive before it actually shuts down the computer. So, directory damage is usually not your fault, and you probably can't prevent it, but you can help.
- Can I recover the data myself using software like DiskWarrior or Data Rescue?
You may be able to recover some data depending on how your files were lost. If you don't know how your files where lost, getting professional help is always your best option.
- Mechanical failures: Software cannot fix a mechanically failing drive (ever). Running these utilities on a failing drive can quickly destroy data, which could have been professionally recovered.
- Data corruption or directory damage: If you are not backed up and your data is essential, we recommend using a professional data recovery service. Read the next question for our thoughts and warnings on repair utilities.
- Deleted files: These utilities may be able to recover files that were accidentally deleted but you'll need another Mac to run the utility from. (Anytime you use the computer that the deleted files are located on, you risk overwriting the files and losing the data forever.)
- Can I make things worse by doing repairs with TechTool, Disk Utility, DiskWarrior, Disk First Aid or similar utilities?
Unfortunately, yes. In most instances, these programs are good tools that help solve problems. But "repairing" certain problems can leave you worse off than before--in some cases, even destroy a disk from which a professional could easily have recovered data. Basically, when your drive's directory is scrambled, anything that writes to the disk has the potential to do harm. Running TechTool Pro and some other utilities can actually write over the directory that it's fixing, so occasionally it does damage.
Running a data recovery utility such as Data Rescue should be fine, if you copy the recovered files to a different drive. If you recover the files onto the same damaged drive, you will be overwriting other data you wish to recover, compounding existing directory damage and making things worse. A few utilities offers to save an "undo" file so that you can go backwards, but we've seen them crash in the middle of a repair, and the Undo file itself was corrupted or incomplete.
You can also use DiskWarrior to recreate a disk directory, but don't rush to write the new directory to the disk. Instead, click the Preview button on DiskWarrior's last screen to mount the volume using the rebuilt directory and copy your files to another drive. Check the files thoroughly before you write the new directory or reformat the original drive.
- I have a PC running Windows. Can you get my documents back?
Yes we can. Your files don't care whether you were running Windows or Mac OS, nor do we. We'd be happy to recover data from any volume that you have.
- Can you recover a document that was deleted accidentally?
Yes, but first stop using the hard drive. The sooner you get it to us, the likelier the chance that we will be able to recover the document. It helps if you can tell us the type of file, the name of the file, and when you accidentally deleted it.
- My hard drive is making clicking noises, should I be concerned?
If the hard drive is making sounds it never made before, back up your critical data immediately. Consider it a warning and replace the drive. If you can't back up the data, bring it to us.
- I erased some pictures from my camera by accident. Are they gone forever?
Not necessarily. We can recover pictures that have been erased. Just be sure to stop using the card and bring it in to us.
- My external hard drive is asking to be initialized. I need some of the files on it. What utilities can I use to try and fix this myself?
If the data is critical, we don't suggest running any utilities on it. We'd rather have you bring the drive in for a professional data retrieval technician to look at it. If the data is not critical you can try using a utility like DiskWarrior. This can be useful in some cases where the directory is damaged. But be aware-utilities are never guaranteed, and can often cause more harm than good.
- I have programs on my computer that I did not buy; if I pay for data recovery will I get them back?
Our focus is to reunite you with your documents, emails, photos, music, videos and other important data. Programs often do not work after we perform a data recovery. It is best to reinstall programs from the original discs. It is a really good idea to own all the software you use.
Follow the directions below to back up the data on your computer. If you need help, Tekserve offers data backup services starting at $59 (if your computer is functioning normally).
Favorite Backup Tools from Tekserve
Start backing up today by calling (212) 929-3645 x4 to have anything delivered, or stop by our shop on West 23rd St. to pick them up (Tekserve's Hours & Location). Either way, we can help assess your computer backup needs and find the best products for you.
- LaCie d2 Quadra External Hard Drives— Includes FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA connections for almost any computer
- Apple Time Capsule— Combines an 802.11n WiFi base station with a 2TB or 3TB hard drive for super simple wireless backups
- Memorex DVD-R discs— A reliable choice for DVD backups, which can be useful for backing up smaller files like documents
- Online / Cloud Backup— Our favorite online backup methods include Dropbox, which offers 2GB free and is useful for syncing important files, and CrashPlan, which offers unlimited backup.
Check out all your data backup options in Tekserve's product catalog section for storage & backup.
The Basics of Backing Up
Click the links below to learn more about backing up.
- What is a backup?
- Why should I backup?
- What makes hard drives prone to failure?
- What should I backup my data onto?
- How to Choose the Right Backup Strategy
- How do I start using Time Machine?
- What should I do when my Time Machine backup drive fills up?
- Time Machine fills up my backup drive too fast. What can I do?
How To Create a Bootable Clone Backup
See our Mac FAQ for step-by-step instructions on creating a bootable clone backup.