Data Recovery Lab Success Rates. Are they worth anything?

By | May 4, 2022

What a data recovery lab claims ..

Let’s look at the claim that Seagate makes for it’s data recovery services:

Data Recovery Success Rates are worth?

Source:, I took above screenshot at May 2021. 90% success rate, I call that pretty impressive.

And what a data recovery lab actually recovers ..

Then I read this interview with the manager of Seagate Data Recovery Services in Amsterdam, they’re right next to Schiphol airport. I took screenshot from the article in May 2021:

Seagate Data Recovery Services Amsterdam

Google translation of above text (a bit clumsy):

“We simply do not start 20% of what we receive, because we can already visually determine that the data on the disks has been irretrievably lost,” says Melvin Plak. “From the remaining 80% we can still achieve a success rate of 90 % submit”

Are two different things ..

So, paraphrasing, they dismiss 20% immediately. Then of the remaining 80% they successfully recover 90%. So from each 100 drives they successfully recover 72. Then it seems to me the success rate is 72%.

Now it may look like I am trying to make look Seagate bad, but I suspect many labs are this creative with their numbers. This just happens to be an example I stumbled onto. And FWIW I don’t see the need for these flattered claims as I think a 72% success rate is still quite impressive!

I think you should take all numbers that data recovery labs claim with a grain of salt.

And so, in practice, how do they do?

Since I wrote this blog post (May 5, 2021) I read posts of people who have experience with this ‘free data recovery service’, and also had colleagues report about cases that concerned drives that already visited Seagate’s data recovery labs: “Sent back to Seagate under warranty for the ‘free data recovery’. Its got stiction and has not even been opened. They said its unrecoverable and sent the client a replacement drive….”

A few of those cases were indeed successful, people reported having their data recovered and delivered on a new Seagate hard drive. However more numerous are those who tell the story of their data being unrecoverable by Seagate. We have to keep in mind that those who have a problem with whatever service, tend to be more vocal about it.

But I encountered plenty of stories where data was not recovered. That can happen of course, but what makes these more interesting is that other labs these drives were then sent to were in fact able to recover the data in a fair number of cases. These were fairly standard cases that labs deal with on a daily basis, say in $350 – $650 price range (depending on the lab), but that did require cleanroom work.

What I also hear is that the service is slow. Some times people were waiting for months before they even knew if their data was recoverable or not.

Packaging Seagate Data Recovery Services

These drives have way too much space to move and bang into each-other.

My advice..

So, if I had a drive that contained data worthwhile recovering, and I could put a price tag on it somewhere around $450 or higher, I’d send it to an independent lab for diagnostics and a quote. If I were in a nothing to lose type scenario I suppose I’d consider sending it to Seagate for data recovery.




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