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SalvageData Review

Brian Nadel

The most important feature of any RAID service is the cleanroom where the technicians perform data recoveries. SalvageData uses an ISO 5 Class 100 cleanroom. This is important; many RAID system recovery services claim to have cleanrooms, but the rooms aren't certified by a third party.



The Verdict

Whether you have a broken computer drive or a damaged storage array, SalvageData can fix it and keep your company in business. It has a cleanroom for repairs, provides free diagnostic software, and operates a huge hard drive parts depot.

With its Class 5 cleanroom, trained technicians and instant access to all the needed parts, small companies can rely on SalvageData to revive broken drives and quickly lift business-critical data off them. Having been in business for more than 15 years, the company can handle everything from a trashed laptop drive to the most complicated RAID system, allowing a small business to survive a data disaster. With the top-level security to help you sleep soundly at night, SalvageData focuses on the needs of small businesses while treating them like big customers.  

To view all our reviews and recommendations for the best RAID recovery services and hardware of 2019, visit our best picks page.

SalvageData Features

A cleanroom is essential for a successful recovery, because it is designed to limit particulates that can damage the exposed platters of the drive. Without a certification, you can't be sure that the service maintains its cleanroom. SalvageData clearly displays its ISO certification on its website.

SalvageData can recover data from all types of media and operating systems. Got a bad desktop drive or a slew of RAID problems in your server rack? SalvageData can lift whatever data it holds and get you back in business.

The Class 5 cleanroom, trained staff and the company's own proprietary recovery software put SalvageData's focus clearly on servicing small businesses. The company says it has recovered 96% of customer data over the years, saving many small operations along the way.

SalvageData lives up to its name by diagnosing, repairing and recovering data from bad drives that might otherwise compromise a company's operations. It can handle a variety of hardware, including notebooks and tablets, RAID servers, solid-state drives, and tape backups.

For working drives, the company copies its contents and uses its homegrown diagnostic software to identify problems and discover what can be restored. SalvageData works with all popular operating systems and encrypted drives to spot and fix everything from broken links and File Allocation Table problems to mistakenly deleted files and drives stuffed with malware.

Drives with physical damage, like worn heads, a burned-out controller board or a seized motor, are opened in SalvageData's Class 5 cleanroom that's as clean as the factory that made the drives. At that point, the technicians can diagnose the problem and fix it.

SalvageData offers a hidden bonus: It operates one of the largest hard drive parts warehouses in the country, which supplies many of its data recovery competitors. This gives it instant access to all the components it needs for repairs, which could otherwise take days to arrive.

The company is authorized by the major drive and RAID makers, including Western Digital, Seagate and SanDisk, to do the work. SalvageData is equipped to deal with a wide variety of repairs and every major RAID level, including RAID 1, 5, 6, and 10 and Drobo's BeyondRAID protocol.

Once the data has been recovered, the company puts it on a fresh drive and ships to you. In a hurry? It can be encrypted and sent over a secure online transfer site.

All SalvageData work is done in a secure environment, so it will remain confidential. It is a certified SOC 3 facility that abides by HIPAA regulations and can maintain a chain of custody of the drive if necessary. The company destroys every bit of your company's data within 20 days of finishing a project.

SalvageData Services

If you can't let the drive out of your company's hands, SalvageData will send a crew and the necessary equipment to do the repairs and restoration on site. This can get costly, but the crew will stay until the job is done.

SalvageData puts an emphasis on small businesses by making every effort to recover their lost data and treating them like big customers with white-glove service. Its employees understand that a bad drive can be a matter of commercial life or death.

SalvageData doesn't do legal forensic work for trial electronic discovery, but it partners with specialists for these tasks. It can consult with you on what sort of storage systems your company should have but doesn't offer service plans.

What SalvageData does do is give you its Windows Data Recovery Software. Capable of fixing simple software errors, the program works with a variety of file systems and scans the suspect drive to show you what's wrong and what data can be restored. It can't fix hardware problems, however.

SalvageData Pricing

This Cleveland-based company operates its repair facility on a 24-hour basis. It is on the Government Services Administration contractor list, but the Better Business Bureau is currently in the process of rating the company. 

To start a restoration project, you can call SalvageData or use the chat window on its website to describe the problem to one of its technicians. The company will send you a prepaid FedEx label to ship the drive in; the shipper can even pack it up for you. Alternatively, SalvageData has 40 drop-off locations or can send a courier to pick up the drive.

SalvageData has four levels of charges: common software problems ($300 to $700); moderate physical damage, such as a damaged controller or minor platter degradation ($500 to $1,000); severe damage with head problems or a spindle seize-up ($700 to $1,400); and extreme platter damage ($1,100 to $1,900).

All work is done on a 24/7 basis, but SalvageData has three levels of service. Eco Salvage includes a dedicated service manager, but you'll pay for the drive the data is returned on, its return shipping and secure online access for the data. Standard Premium adds expedited return of the drive, and Emergency Priority can get the data back to you quickly with included overnight delivery, courier service and online access to your data.



The Verdict

Whether you have a broken computer drive or a damaged storage array, SalvageData can fix it and keep your company in business. It has a cleanroom for repairs, provides free diagnostic software, and operates a huge hard drive parts depot.

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.