In the recent past, when your computer crashed, you had to hunt down a professional to recover the data from the hard drive.
That is no longer the case. There are several handy units available which make hard drive data recovery a relatively straightforward task.
The 80 GB drive shown here was pulled out of a laptop that crashed a few weeks ago. The motherboard failed and much of the data on the hard drive was scrambled.
This particular device is a BlackX SATA and USB docking station made by Thermaltake. The hard drive plugs into the top of the unit and a USB cable connects the unit to a computer on which you are running a program like Disk Doctor.
Disk Doctor recovers the files from the damaged hard drive and stores them where you can organize them and put them back in use. Disk Doctor is not included when you purchase the BlackX unit.
The big advantage of units like BlackX is that you don't have to open up your computer and fiddle around with hard drive cables to recover data from another hard drive. The BlackX unit acts like a docking station for the recovered hard drive and allows your computer to access the data easily. Once the damaged hard drive has been reformatted, it can be left in the docking station and used as a spare drive if desired.
The unit is quite small so it can be stored away quite conveniently until the time your next hard drive fails. The cost is quite reasonable as you can buy it for $34.99 on Amazon.com. If you have multiple computer systems, one of these and a Disk Doctor program are an excellent investment for continuing peace of mind.
If your computers are more than four years old, your hard drives may be living on borrowed time. Backup storage is one solution, but recovery software and hardware similar to those mentioned in this article will protect you against random catastrophic failures that can put you out of business for weeks.