Data Recovery from Dropbox

data recovery from dropbox irelandWe recently got a call from a panicked customer who had just accidently deleted the Dropbox folder on their PC. Ironically, it was their Dropbox folder which stored their most important Word, Excel and PDF files.

 Thankfully, the designers of Dropbox had envisaged such a problem when devising their software and offer their users two data recovery options.

 

In order to perform data recovery from Dropbox, the steps are rather easy:


1)      Open up your Dropbox console

2)      Go to Show Deleted Files at the top. It is just to the left of the “Search Dropbox” box.

3)      All deleted files will appear grey. Select all of the files.

4)      Now press on Restore link from the top menu. In a lot of cases, this should restore your files.

 

However, in this case, the deleted files were still not showing. But, Dropbox has another fallback. If you have accidentally deleted files from your Dropbox folder but cannot find them using the “Restore” function from the Dropbox server – you can look in your Dropbox cache folder stored locally on your PC.


1)      Open up Windows Explorer

2)      Navigate to your Dropbox folder. Usually C:\Users\Username\Documents\Dropbox.cache

3)      You should find the deleted files hiding here.

 

In this case, the customer’s files were indeed hiding in the Dropbox cache folder. We recovered them by simply removing them from the cache folder ad placing them in a folder we created called “Recovered Data”.

 

We recommended to the customer that ideally they should have another backup as well. Dropbox is a backup medium but does not constitute a complete backup solution. In this case, we recommended to the client that they purchase a 2.5” backup drive and backup software which includes automatic scheduling.   

 

As this data recovery solution was so quick and easy and could be performed remotely, we decided the cost would be gratis. This morning when our courier arrived, we were delighted to find the client, in gratitude, sent us a lovely bottle of  of Barolo wine. Cheers.

Repair of a Burnt Inductor Chip : Samsung S-ATA Drive

The PCB of a Samsung S-ATA Hard Drive

A client recently called us to say that he had mistakenly plugged in a 19V power laptop power adaptor into the 12V connector of his LaCie external hard drive.

 

He realised his mistake when he, rather ominously, got a faint burning smell emanating from the drive. He immediately disconnected the drive from its wrong power adaptor. Using the correct power supply adaptor, he switched it back on but the drive would not start.

 

He removed the Samsung drive from its LaCie enclosure and connected it to a computer directly using a S-ATA cable hoping that this would work – but still the drive would not spin up.  

 

When he asked his I.T. department in work to recommend a data recovery company in Dublin – they recommended Drive Rescue. We examined the drive. It was immediately apparent to us that the 4R7 chip, which is an inductor chip, was physically damaged. An inductor chip, used in conjunction with capacitors, helps filter out or emphasise specific frequencies travelling through a hard drive’s PCB.

 

Close-up of burnt inductor chip

We had a replacement inductor chip of the same type already in stock. We de-soldered the old burnt inductor chip off the PCB and replaced it with the new one. We connected the hard drive to our systems. The data was immediately accessible. We returned the drive to the customer strong advising him that, even though the drive was fully operational, to transfer the data over to another drive as soon as possible. Physical repairs to hard drives, no matter how well executed, are not meant to be permanent.

 

The lesson: always exercise care when connecting your power cable to your external hard drive. It sounds like a harmless mistake but can be catastrophic for your drive. This customer was lucky. Sometimes, a power surge will fry the MCU or memory chip of a PCB (destroying the drive’s adaptive information) and even has the potential to damage the pre-amplifier chip on the actuator arm. And of course, always have your data backed-up to a second storage medium.