This past two months has seen a spate of customers with missing files, mostly on their compact flash cards but a few hard drives. These are all pro photographers, so there is a lot riding on the lost data. In one case legal action may be taken. Data recovery used to be a service Atkins offered. I spent a lot of time and money researching and learning the skill and had moderate success for clients.
What stopped me from offering this service that I had ran for 5 years was a hard drive that had physical problems, and software would not budge the problem. The drive was sent off to a recovery service with clean room facilities, and data was recovered. But the nine words that stopped me offering the service: "Any attempt at recovery lessens the chance of recovery." Therefore give it to the experts first.
Case in point, a photographer lost a CF card's worth of files and had reused the card. They contacted me for advice, I told them the above story and asked they send it to CBL data recovery in Queensland. The photographer rang CBL and was advised that recovery was unlikely due to the reuse of the card. I then offered to "have a go" and spent a week of processing time over different programs with no success. I advised the photographer to send it to CBL regardless.
CBL recovered four of the much needed images. The photographer was saved from recreating a shoot .
Leave it to the experts at CBL.