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Ontrack Review

Brian Nadel

With drive-repair cleanrooms on all continents and unprecedented global scope, Ontrack can fix broken storage devices just about anywhere in the world and extract usable data. While Ontrack works with all types of storage systems ‒ from a notebook or tablet to the most complicated RAID set up – it can expedite repairs and recovery in an emergency. Regardless of whether it's a software or hardware problem, Ontrack can figure it out, fix it and deliver your data quickly, making the company a top choice for small businesses that think globally. 



The Verdict

Ontrack has 18 drive repair and recovery facilities worldwide. Not only can Ontrack restore data thought to be lost, but it keeps your company operating as if a data disaster never happened.

View all of our recommendations for RAID Recovery Services on our best picks page. 


If a salesperson's laptop, call center desktop, technician's tablet or even the CEO's device has a bad drive that keeps it from helping your small business get through the day, there's help. Ontrack can avert a potential data crisis by fixing and extracting all the usable data from a broken drive, regardless of whether it's the result of virus, fire or old age. 

Once you realize that you have an unresponsive drive, the first step is to call, email or fill out Ontrack's online form about the device and its symptoms. The company's technicians will set up free overnight shipping, or the company can send a courier for a device containing sensitive info. Ontrack can compile a chain of custody document, if needed. 

Once the drive is in one of the company's facilities, it gets the full diagnostic treatment to ferret out what the underlying problems are. If the drive is operational, a full copy is made so the original data is undisturbed. 

For software-related issues, like problems with the file allocation table, corrupted files, or even a drive stuffed with malware, Ontrack repairs the drive's file structure and data, scanning the disk for what files are recoverable. They can work with encrypted drives and have had success in decrypting devices infected with some of the most prevalent ransomware attacks. 

Hardware problems are more involved and time-consuming. After an initial diagnosis, the drive is opened in one of the company's 18 Class 5 cleanrooms that are as dust-free as where the drives were made. Ontrack can fix worn read-write heads, a seized motor or even data platter degradation. After repairing the drive, it is fired up and its data copied to a new drive for delivery. 

Ontrack has relationships with all the major drive and RAID device manufacturers, including Western Digital, Buffalo, EMC, and Seagate. The company's technicians are authorized to make the needed repairs and work with all types of storage from traditional rotating media and solid-state flash to tape backups, phones, and tablets. It can solve RAID glitches and handle all the major formats, including Drobo's Beyond RAID. 

Security is paramount with Ontrack and a month after the work is done, all company data is wiped from Ontrack's computers. Most, but not all, of its repair facilities are SAS70 certified with video surveillance. 

In business for nearly 30 years, Ontrack has an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating but is not on the government services administration's contractor list. For federal government work, the company will team up with a partner. 


Ontrack is thorough in its quest to recover every bit of data and reports a 90% success rate. It has portable equipment that allows its technicians to come to you for broken drives with very sensitive data on them. On the downside, it can get expensive quickly. 

The company's EasyRecovery software is a free DIY program for both Mac and Windows systems that can diagnose simple software errors and recover up to 1GB of lost data. The Home version takes this a step further by removing the data limit and adding a focus on malware-laden drives; it costs $79 for Windows and $99 for Macs. By contrast, the Pro version adds the ability to turn any drive's data into a disk image for transferring to another device, and costs $139 and $159 for PCs and Macs. 

In addition, Ontrack's Web site has a slew of helpful tips and tricks for maintaining good data practices and avoiding ransomware attacks. It doesn't have a consulting arm for recommending drives or RAID setups that might make a small business's data infrastructure bulletproof, but forensics and legal work are one of Ontrack's specialties. 

Along with its corporate parent, KLD Discovery, Ontrack can participate in evidence discovery for a trial, track lost files and even help recover data that was thought to be lost. 


Rather than one or two cleanrooms and repair facilities, Ontrack has 18 in places as far apart as Eden Prairie, Minnesota, London, and Hong Kong. In other words, if a traveling executive's laptop drive becomes unresponsive on the road, chances are there's an Ontrack repair facility close by. 

The company has three levels of service with the price escalating based on how quickly you need the data. 

  • Standard service generally delivers the data within seven days.
  • Priority service takes three days.
  • At the top is Emergency response, which is done on a 24/7 basis until the job is completed and the data is delivered. 

Most prefer to have the recovered data returned on a fresh drive. For those in a hurry, Ontrack can transmit the data hot from the cleanroom over a secure FTP site. 

It might cost several hundred dollars to save the data off a bad notebook drive or as much as several thousand to recover a burned-out RAID storage unit. The good news is that you only pay for the data that's recovered with the final price prorated based on Ontrack's results. The company has service plans, but not in all areas. 

While others have one or two cleanrooms, Ontrack is the global leader with 18 facilities for the repair of drives and extraction of key data, making sure that one is never more than a day away. It can be a company-saver. It is a top pick for firms that operate globally or want to.



The Verdict

Ontrack has 18 drive repair and recovery facilities worldwide. Not only can Ontrack restore data thought to be lost, but it keeps your company operating as if a data disaster never happened.

Brian Nadel Contributing Writer
Brian is a technology writer based north of New York City. He writes stories for, Tom's Guide, ComputerWorld and Scholastic Magazines. He is the former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing & Communications magazine.