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Testimonials, Case Histories and Horror Stories

Completely Avoidable Data Recovery – Book Publisher

Actually, all data recovery is avoidable – if you maintain a current backup.  Very simply put: “The difference between inconvenience and catastrophe is… a current backup.” You can quote me.

Early in 2008, a new customer brought in an external 2.5″ USB drive for data recovery.  We were told it contained every book this publisher had ever published and was her backup drive.

When we commenced the recovery analysis of the drive, it quickly became evident this would be a Clean Room Recovery case, as this drive was never going to spin again.. of it’s own volition.

I called the client and asked how we got to this point in time.  She related the following scenario”

Her computer had contracted a virus. She took it to the Geek Squad, where, after their analysis, they informed her they could not remove the virus and would have to reinstall her Operating System — and did she have a backup of her data.  She informed them that she did have a backup and so the intrepid agents at the Geek Squad formatted her drive, destroyed all her data and reinstalled her OS — and returned her computer.


It was almost NEVER necessary to reinstall a computer to get rid of a virus at this point in time.  We didn’t do this as a matter of course.

No prophylactic backup was done. We always backup data before we format a drive – even if the client tells us they have a backup.  It’s just a good idea, don’t you think?

Anyway… I told her to pull the plug on her computer immediately and bring it to me.  Naturally, she wanted to know why and I told her it was much more likely we would get her data from the computer than her backup drive.

When we removed the drive and connected it to our diagnostic machine, I was disappointed to find it was a 200 gig Maxtor.  The 200 gig drives were only made for a very short period of time and have a higher than average failure rate. That, coupled with the fact that it was a Maxtor drive, made the likelihood of drive damage much higher.  Sure enough, the drive tested bad and we could not get a complete data recovery pass to complete without our diagnostic machine locking up.  The geniuses at Geek Squad should have noticed this and installed a new drive.

Ultimately, it took over a week, running this failing drive at below freezing temperatures to recover all her data.  She was thrilled – and this will get my first book published this year.

Completely Avoidable Data Recovery – Custom Bike Builder

Back in 2006, we had a gentleman come in, who related the story that he had done a System Restore to try and solve some consistency issues with his computer and had not considered the total loss of his data in the process.

It seems there were a lot of critically important photos on his computer that simply must be recovered.  I asked him for specifics, as the more information we have about what we’re looking for, the less time we spend doing it.  He told me to specifically look for any files named “Sonny and Me” or “Barger.”

I said, “Hold on there, speedy!  Do you have pictures of Sonny Barger in here?”  He answered to the affirmative.  I then asked how he came to know the past president of the Oakland Hells Angels and he told me the tale of building a custom bike for Sonny.  I asked where the inimitable Sonny Barger was these days and was surprised by the answer.  You would be too…

To continue, it was a lengthy and difficult recovery as the entire data structure had been badly damaged in the restore process (unusual) but we were able to recover all his photos and he was most grateful.  Hey!  Where’s my custom bike?…

Name of author

Name: Wizard

Short Bio: The Computer Wizard (TCW). TCW was founded by Warren P. Harris in 1994 to service and repair computers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Relocating the business to Plano, Texas in 1999, TCW continued to flourish when an unfortunate loss of data for a wedding Mr. Harris photographed, caused him to research data recovery options. Realizing he would have to either pay someone to recover the photos or find out how to do it himself, the rest, as they say "is history". Approached by a friend who was a Private Investigator in 2006, Mr. Harris studied for his Investigator's license and began honing his skills in Computer Forensics. The company was renamed DFW Computer Integration in 2015.

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