When data recovery companies boast of being able to retrieve data from all kinds of damage, they had better be sure that they can back up their claims. The reason: people like PC Magazine executive editor, Jeremy Kaplan, will test their reputations by subjecting hard drives to assorted dangers, such as campfires.

Having successfully barbecued his Western Digital hard drive to little more than a cinder, Kaplan posted it to a recovery company of great repute. If he hoped to stump the company and demonstrate the consequences of unsubstantiated advertising, he was sorely disappointed. Despite the melted circuitry and IDE interface, missing IDE pins, damaged head, and platters buried beneath dust and ash, 100% of the data was recovered.

The supposed challenge slotted perfectly into a routine day for the recovery specialists. In fact, they consider information retrieval from drives damaged by fire to be one of the easier aspects of their job. Some of their more challenging retrievals have involved working on a disk that had been at the bottom of a lake for three months, and piecing together a laptop drive that had been viciously attacked by a pair of pliers. Bullet holes and wine spills are all in a day’s work for this recovery company.

Some hard drive manufacturers have taken the technology of data drives to new safety levels by making them fireproof, water-proof, and able to withstand the shock of a building collapsing.

The drives are guaranteed for the exposure of fires up to 538 degrees Celsius for a period of one hour with the use of the company’s patent pending FloSafe Vents. A fire-resistant insulation formulation and a steel hard drive outer casing bolster the vents’ fire resistance.

Protection from floods, water splashing, and other water related disasters comes in the form of a waterproofing compound that surrounds the hard drive in an impenetrable environment. The safety of hard drives has been successfully tested in both salt and fresh water for a period of 30 days.

In addition to being fire and water resistant, the drives have been designed to withstand the collapse of a three-storey building. The drive is placed inside a specially constructed steel box and 75lbs of one-inch thick fire resistant and crush resistant insulation. The entire box is protected by Hard Drive Shock Absorber Strips.

In addition to protecting your data from natural disasters, the drive provides security from e-vandals and viruses, and a stealth storage feature that enables you to hide particularly valuable information.

The ability to protect, save and recover data has improved exponentially over the last year or so. Hazards that would previously have resulted in irreparable damage and data loss can now be faced with near impunity. If your hard drives are still vulnerable to fire, water, and the occasional building collapse, you should ask yourself why. The current data and protection technologies are designed to offer welcome peace of mind.

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