Data Recovery: Think Your Data Disaster Is Unrecoverable? Think Again

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Disc Inc. is an expert in the niche field of data recovery and conversion. A state-of-the-art collection of legacy hardware brings old and damaged data back to life. In the Houston companyÂ?s vast data conversion center, engineers convert and recover hard drives, floppies, 3480, 9 track tapes, 4mm and 8mm home movies, Super DLT, LTO, VHS, Beta, CD, DVD and Mini DVD. Everything old is new again.

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Our job is to prevent chaos and catastrophe– such as a whole department having to shut down because of a hardware failure, or worse – a company forced into bankruptcy.

Who enjoys untangling inaccessible, unreadable, crashed, cracked, corrupt, erased, missing, sabotaged, warped, bent, deleted and virus-damaged documents, drawings, tapes, files, pictures and videos?

"We do," says Susan Coon, founding owner and president of Disc, Inc., a conversion and data recovery services firm that has solved thousands of data dilemmas since it first opened for business in 1982. "Back then," she laughs, "few people knew how to operate a computer, and most never dreamed they would." (For a complete list of the variety of media Disc Inc. converts and recovers, click here.)

When she established her conversion and data recovery services firm Coon says, "No one could have predicted the level of data disasters that sophisticated technology can supply today.

Says Coon: "Our job is to prevent chaos and catastrophe– such as a whole department having to shut down because of a hardware failure, or worse – a company forced into bankruptcy."

It is not only businesses that fall victim to major data loss, she warns. "It can happen to your neighbor next door – or to you, when you least expect it."

In the company's vast west Houston data recovery center, electrical engineers David Carter and Armando Saenz manage a process some people call magic. Carter joined the company 16 years ago. Saenz came on board eight years ago. Both men say the adventure never stops in this business.

"A client came here in a panic last week," says Saenz. "His digital camera fell off his belt, hit the concrete and broke – with 400 pictures inside. He was a professional photographer who'd just completed a photo shoot on a fly-fishing trip in Canada. Those pictures were his living. We recovered the photographs – but that's not all. When he left our building, he was holding a fully operable camera in his hand. He wasn't expecting that level of luck."

In her seven years with Disc Inc., marketing vice-president Stephanie Robertson has fielded thousands of phone calls from computer users in trouble. "People are almost never on a relaxed time schedule when they seek our help. They need it 'now'. We respond."

She says much of Disc Inc.'s business is international. "Yesterday we did a job for a Russian businessman. He found us on the Internet."

Attorneys are loyal customers. The company's 24-7 operation fits with many litigators' last-minute schedules. "With lawyers, this is how it usually comes down," says Robertson.

"On Friday afternoon, the judge tells the defendant's attorney that he can have access to the prosecutor's special files. Only problem is, the trial starts on Monday morning and the files are stored on ten dozen dusty old 8-inch floppies. The attorney drops off the floppies at 6 PM. Within 15 minutes, David and Armando's tech team is up to their elbows in data recovery and conversion. By noon Saturday, the floppies are transformed into CDs, and they're back in the lawyer's hands. On Monday morning, he's in court winning his case – at least we hope he is."

Exactly what kind of data does Disc Inc. convert and recover?

"Almost any format you can think of," Carter says. "We work with every drive out there, and we've amassed a state-of-the-art collection of legacy hardware. For instance, we've got ten zip drives – hardware most people threw out five years ago. I challenge anyone to name the media we can't transfer, duplicate or restore." Carter ticks off a list:

  • 3480
  • floppies
  • 9 track
  • 4mm
  • 8mm
  • DLT
  • Super DLT
  • LTO
  • VHS and Beta formats.
  • CD, DVD, Mini DV

"We've been doing this for almost 25 years – we've seen it all," says Coon. "After this much time, we like to think of ourselves as pioneers in the data recovery services industry," says Coon. "The new hardware that people are buying today will be old hat tomorrow – so, before long, we'll be recovering and converting it to the latest formats."

What is Coon's best advice when a computer snafu occurs? "Whatever you do, don't panic – and don't give up. If you think your data is unrecoverable or lost, let us get our hands on it. Some people say we work magic."

Find Disc Inc. on the Internet at, call (713) 864-7845.

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Stephanie Robertson
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