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DTI Data Hurricane Data Recovery Do's and Dont's

DTI Data is ready to help Hurricane victims restore their data! Water or flood damaged hard drive recovery.

Please call Toll Free 1-866-438-6932 or 1-727-345-9665 if you need assistance recovering your data. DTI can arrange for pickup of your hard drives, packing materials or anything that is required to get your data back. DTI is making allowances for Hurricane victims. Click here for DTI's hurricane relief efforts.

Most of the drives DTI have seen from the Hurricane disaster area have been flooded. It is important to protect the drives from further exposure.

  • Do not attempt to power up the drive!
  • Do not open the drive
  • Do not use a blow dryer or heat gun to dry the drive.

The best thing to do is contact DTI immediately at 866-438-6932 for handling instructions. Please follow these shipping procedures:

  • Use an airtight container for the hard drive.
  • Use plenty of packing materials like bubble wrap.
  • Use separate boxes for multiple drives.

If you are recovering a server with multiple drives make sure the drives are labeled if possible.

DTI utilizes special processes in the handling and recovery of water damaged drives. We have the capabilities to remove the platters while keeping the alignment. The platters are them submerged in a proprietary solution that loosens the corrosion. It is important to never use any type of chemicals which can interact with the magnetic charges within the hard drive.

Once the platters are cleaned they become readable again and the data can be recovered!

For more information read the article between the owner of DTI and Jerry Seregni of Channel 4 New Orleans.

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Recovering data from flooded hard drives and other post-Katrina computer woes
Jerry Seregni
Eyewitness Morning News Technology

arrived in Baton Rouge on September 11th. After sitting for two weeks in motel in another state, it's great to be back working with my Channel 4 pals.

In the motel lobbies, corridors, and breakfast bars I have recently called "home," I ran across dozens of folks from the WWL-TV viewing area concerned about computers left behind in flooded homes and businesses.

In some cases, they were worried about wedding pictures or images of their grandchild's birthday party.

Others, however, were concerned about employee records, tax data, or other files they need to get their businesses back up and running.

Data Recovery

Ironically, I had been working on a data recovery segment for several months.

Eric Paulsen's home computer suffered a massive hard drive crash in March, and in researching options to recover his data, I stumbled upon a company called DtiData in Clearwater, Florida, and was introduced to Dave Mohyla, a knowledgeable, plain-talking data recovery specialist.

When the Eyewitness Morning News called me Wednesday about doing "Digital Gumbo" this week, I immediately knew what my topic would be.

Minutes later, I was on the phone with Dave Mohyla, once again picking his brain.

Digital Gumbo (DG): Dave, we haven't talked in a while, but I don't have to tell you there are a lot of flooded computers in the New Orleans area. Is the data stored on those hard drives lost for good?

Dave Mohyla (DM): First, let me say that I wish we were talking again under different circumstances. All of us here in the Tampa area have the victims of Hurricane Katrina in our thoughts. Hurricanes threaten this area too.

DG: I know that, and I also remember your telling me about how your company did data recovery for hundreds of hard drives damaged when Hurricane Ivan devastated the island of Grand Cayman last year. What can you tell the victims of Hurricane Katrina about the prospects of recovering data from a hard drive that has been underwater?

DM: When dealing with a flood-damaged hard drive, the first thing to keep in mind is: don't assume your data is lost. A large percentage of flood- and storm- damaged hard drive data can be recovered if proper steps are taken during and prior to recovery.

DG: What are some of those steps?

DM: Hard drives are sealed with rubber gaskets, and the top of the hard drive is secured by screws, tightened with a certain amount of torque. Hard drives, however, are not hermetically sealed -- not completely. There are taped seals on both sides of the hard drive and some space, albeit small, where water can enter if the drive is submerged. Positive pressure created by the velocity of the platters spinning creates a very sterile environment for the hard drive to operate. Unfortunately, when the drive is not spinning, the positive pressure isn't available to counteract the pressure of the water. The seals can't repel the water and the contaminants, so a hard disk submerged for a prolonged period of time will usually have water inside the drive housing.

DG: But if I understand you correctly, the fact that there's water inside the housing doesn't necessarily mean the data is unrecoverable. How is that possible?DM: The key is proper handling. First, do not attempt to power up visibly-damaged PC. Even if the computer case appears not to have been flooded, you should examine the inside of the case carefully before you apply power. Powering on a PC that has been been touched by flood waters is not only dangerous, it may also destroy the data. If the data on the hard disk is valuable, you are taking a tremendous risk if you power up the PC to see if it will boot.DG: Okay, let's assume I know my PC was underwater, and there's water in the hard drive housing. If I try to remove the drive, won't the water inside be splashing all over the place? DM: Yes, but it would be far worse if you shake the drive or try to disassemble a drive that's been damaged. Do not attempt to clean or dry water-logged hard drives. Do not try to dry out the media and then apply power. Hard drive heads fly just microns above the media on a pocket of air generated by the velocity of the platters spinning at high velocity. Any internal disturbance of this process can make the media unrecoverable.DG: So putting a hard drive under a 1000W blow dryer or out in the sun for a couple of hours isn't recommended?DM: Definitely not. Drying a hard drive could cause contaminates to further adhere to the platters. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to drum up business, but you really should consult a data recovery specialist for instructions how to properly ship a hard drive with wet or damp media. Most will tell you that it should be placed in a container that will keep the drive damp but protect the shipping material from getting wet. That's important, because wet cardboard cartons can break apart during shipping and cause more damage to the drive. DG: Data recovery isn't cheap. Is there any kind of software you can run in lieu of sending a flooded computer's hard disk to a data recovery specialist?DM: Definitely not. Don't try to use data recovery software on media that has been involved with flood or storm damage. Software programs are for use on hard drives or other media in good working order. Again, I don't want to sound like a commercial, but DtiData has a lot of experience with this type of recovery. We are registered with FEMA and work with insurance companies all the time. We will also give victims of Hurricane Katrina a discount. Furthermore, if you've have something like 100 water-damaged drives, we can come to your location, with the proper materials to transport the drives, and pick them up. At DtiData, many of our clients come to us as the result of some kind of tragedy -- fire, flood, or storm. We can't recover their data for free, but we try to work with people as much as we can.

See the full article here.

Here is a letter to Jerry from one of our customers:

Hi Jerry

My husband and I were wiped out by Katrina; home, jobs, car and all in Gulfport, MS.  We have relocated to my sister’s in Brownwood, TX with our three dogs and literally the cloths on our backs.  But at least we are alive. Everything we have known all our lives has been obliterated.  I am a N.O. native who moved to the Gulf Coast in 1979.  Nothing, not even Camille, prepared us for Katrina.

I am writing because I was searching the internet for “flooded hard drive recovery” when I came upon your article about Dti Data and Dave Mohyla.  It was exactly what I was looking for, informative and to the point.  I contacted Dti by the email link and Dave literally called us right back.  He was so generous.  He offered to recover the data on our two hard drives for ½ price, which was about ½ of approximately $2,500.00.  We knew this was a great price but in our present circumstances it was still too much.  Prior to August 29th and 8 feet of water in our home/office we would have thought nothing of it.  My husband thanked Dave but told him we just couldn’t afford that at this time.  What did Dave do?  He didn’t hang up or get exasperated.  Dave said “send the drives to him and he would recover the data for free and we could pay him when we were in a better situation”. What an angel from God. These drives contained all of my husband’s business files and our family photos. This data recovery will allow him to get back to work.  It will also give us family photos of which we currently have done.  Thankfully, our son was able to retrieve the computers from my husband’s office even though they were water logged and covered in mud.  He removed the hard drives and mailed them to us.

Please read the attached letter.  I thought you would like to see the fruit of your article and what a great guy Dave Mohyla and Dti Data Recovery is.  It is ordinary people offering a helping hand that has made this situation bearable.  I have always been on the giving side, never dreaming I would be in this situation.  I managed a large upscale strip shopping center in Biloxi which was severely damaged.  What did my boss do – he immediately terminated me.  What did this stranger (Dave) do- he offered us a hand up.  What a difference people can be.  A situation like this shows people’s true colors.

Now if you could just get State Farm to get an adjustor to see us all would be better.

Thank you

Kathy Higgins

Gulfport, MS.

24 Hour Hard Drive Recovery & Server/RAID Recovery Hotline:
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