I'm "gearing up" to start a computer repair business, but hard drive data recovery is my weak point that I haven't explored much. I am preparing to give myself the ultimate "crash" course in HDD data recovery, but want to do it right, with pro equipment. I have several questions, which I've managed to pack into this post.
First, I'm aware that advanced data recovery can require very specialized resources like a clean room and precision instruments. But I've also seen firms that will do what they can for $60-100. I want to know what they know.
I'm contemplating buying an HDD docking station. I want to be able to recover both old and new drives, so I understand I need to account for both SATA and IDE drives. Any other major HDD drive types or configurations I need to keep in mind? Is a docking station connected via USB3 as capable as a connection directly to a SATA or IDE controller? Or does it preclude lower-level hardware functions like block-level analysis?
Part of my concern is older drives. Will these modern docking stations be able to address and read an IDE HDD that's 25+ years old? Do these docks rely on their own internal BIOS to address a vast range of drive types, or does the BIOS of the PC need to support the drive type? In the distant past we had to adjust the PC's BIOS settings to match the configuration (cylinders, etc.) of the drive. Will a dock auto-detect all that and just let the drive work, or is there more I will need to consider for working with old hard drives?
Besides a HDD docking station, are there any other essential hardware/software tools I will need? Soldering iron? Stethoscope? Magnifying glass?
In the past, my few attempts at software-based data recovery have produced a number of sequentially named files that seem useless. What software does the best job of restoring files to a usable form when software-based recovery is an option?
Anything else you can tell me to get me off on a good start? Tell me anything that might be useful. Helpful links are welcome as well.