Charity Hard Drive Crashed - RELAUNCH
I am updating my story (May 14, 2019), because due to recent events involving the company who has had our hard drive for the past ten months (and which has changed ownership since this all began); we are now forced to seek anther data recovery company to help us get critical and extremely sensitive data back.
Often when people experience data loss or a computer is unable to boot; it is because of file corruption. In these cases; the computer itself still see's the hard drive and if so, downloadable, often free, software MAY be able to recover a good portion, if not all, of the lost data.
Sometimes, the drive itself becomes damaged and sometimes, in these cases, the computer can't see the hard drive at all. And, if the computer can't see the hard drive; neither can the software used to restore or recover your data. The only option in these cases, is to have a lab repair the drive with the proper donor replacement parts. The industry standard on pricing usually starts at around $800 on average.
In September of 2018, I reached out to several "local" data recovery firms. I was contacted by one which offered to do the work and pay for the shipping themselves. This company was called Fusion Data Recovery. I understood that their was no guarantee (there never is), but we had to take a shot. Fish4Kids can't continue on without that data; years of research and work would be lost forever. I delivered the hard drive to their local office by hand and a few days later was contacted by them letting me know that they had begun work on our drive. I informed them that they did not need to give priority to our drive. I didn't want to be to burdensome to them. I just appreciated all that they were doing for our organization.
About a month past and I was contacted and informed that our off-the-shelf Walmart purchased hard drive required them to have to order a special donor part of Russia and that it would take several weeks to get to them, Again, they did so at no charge to Fish4Kids.
It was several more months (March 2019) before I received a major update on the status of our hard drive. I was told that Fusion Data Recovery could not repair the drive themselves, but that they could send it off to a higher level lab; one wither better specialized equipment and the parts needed to fix the drive. I was told that it would cost $1,000 to do this and that Fusion Data Recovery was willing to cover half of that cost. When I expressed concern of our ability to pay the remaining $500; I was told, eventually, that they would be taking care of it.
On April 2, 2019; around 10:00PM PST, I was sent an email with these words: "Due to unforeseen and abrupt circumstances, ownership of Fusion Data Recovery has changed hands. You will be receiving a call from Brent Jackson and his team very soon. This was very unexpected and, frankly, I am mortified. I am truly sorry for the inconvenience, but my hands are tied."
I waited nearly a month, but was never contacted by this Brent Jackson character. I had emailed the company several times, but was ignored. Finally, on May 10, 2019, I attempted to contact Fusion Data Recovery again and received a response on May 13, 2019... Brent Jackson was the name in the email. He said, he could recover our data, but only if we paid him $1,500 (we were now going to have to pay $500 more than the original total price of $1,000. $1,000 more than they originally wanted us to pay). When I explained our circumstance and that me an the prior owner of his company had an arrangement, I asked that he send us back our hard drive and that we would try to raise funds to send the drive to a level-3 lab ourselves. Brent became defensive; stated that he had emailed and called us and; that if we wanted our drive back, we would have to pay him for it; he even threaten to bill us and turn us over to collections if we didn't. When I called him out on his lies; he recanted some of his statements, but added that if I shared that fact with anyone, he would sue us for slander. I have contacted the former owner of the company and he has stated he is looking into the issue for us.
On a personal note, I have been in the computer industry for more than 30 years. I don't have the equipment to do physical hard drive repairs. Despite what some people claim, putting them in the freezer is just a all around bad idea. Opening a hard drive outside a clean room environment could destroy all chances of recovery. That said, there are companies that I have dealt with in the past that I trust; and there are some companies who have been in business a long time, but whom have just added full data recovery services to their menu and who have the equipment and the experienced technicians, that I would trust as well. The reason, I didn't use these companies is that Fish4Kids simply didn't and doesn't have the funds to pay them for their services. Some offered discounts, but even that was beyond our ability to pay.
That said, I have reached out to two of the companies I have had dealings with in the past; and whom I know to do excellent work. $300 Data Recovery and the Rossmann Group.
$300 Data Recovery has indicated that they would still do the work at half the cost; but assured us there was no guarentee for them to be able to recover the data with their equipment. I still have not heard back from the Rossmann Group.
I do believe the skill and equipment needed is greater than what I had originally hoped; and that the cost to repair will exceed the $1,000 needed to get the data back. This is why I am updating this campaign and requesting the support of those who would like to help out the Fish4Kids program.
That is it for the Update. Below is what was part of the original campaign... Portions of below is from our original campaign. Some parts have been updated or removed as it no longer rings true to our situation.
It is critical that this drive be recovered. It has all of the Fish4Kids research on it. It has all our our business documents on it; such as our business license and tax exemption applications and our business plan and its bylaws. It also has our waiting list for children who may qualify for our charity and some of their personal medical information. If this data isn't recovered; it will set up back at least a year and all those waiting will be denied our assistance.
So what happened?
When the problem first occurred last September I was working on the laptop; I received a Windows notification telling me that Windows was planning to do an update soon. It gave me to options; reboot or wait; I chose to wait; I continued working throughout the day. I noticed that the computer was occasionally stalling out on me, but did not think about it much as Windows 10 often experienced slowness when it starts to download updates.; it's annoying, but nothing I can do about it. At midnight, I decided before going to bed for the night, I would reboot and let the update finish.
When the computer rebooted and finished its update; it loaded Windows. I went to Chrome and was watching a YouTube video, when the video froze; a few moments later, a "Blue screen of Death" appeared. I was forced to do a hard reset. When I tried to reboot; the computer notified me that it could not find any hard drives in my computer. I tried to reboot several more times to no avail.
I then removed the hard drive from the laptop and plugged it into a hard drive docking station; I plugged that hard drive into another laptop I have sitting around. When I tried to boot the laptop, I basically got the same error. I repeated this on my Raspberry Pi computer and it could not see the drive at all. No computer could physically see the hard drive.
The only option at this point is to attempt to recover data using many of the myth's that are out there that most likely would just damage whatever problem the drive is having further; or send it into a professional lab. Given the critical nature of the data; I choose not to risk it and to try and solicit donations from members in the charities community.
So, why can't I pay for it myself?
The simplest answer is because I can't afford it. I am on a fixed disability income; only bringing in around $775 per month; most of which is spent on rent and utilities. And, normally, if I have a few extra bucks, I buy fish food for the fish rescue I run or for supplies needed for the aquariums I currently give-a-way. All the Fish4Kids charity has in its PayPal account is around $9; granted to it some six months ago.
So, how what do you want me to do about it?
We could use all the help we can. We now know with our experience dealing with Fusion Data Recovery that the repair of our hard drive will not be $400 as we had originally hoped. The cost will range us from between $1,000 and $1,500 to resolve. We are seeking the higher end, but will be happy if we can at least reach the lower end and get a discount from one of the data recovery companies we are currently reaching out too.
You could help by making a donation to this GoFundMe campaign. Any amount would be helpful. You could also help by sharing this campaign on your social media pages and groups as well as to those in your email contacts.
Please help! Thank you.
I will keep this campaign active; for those still interested in donating to the Fish4Kids start-up fund.
Again, thanks to Phil and all those wanting or who have donated to keeping this future charity afloat.