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The following are our Technical Support staff's list of the most frequently asked data recovery questions and their answers.

Q. What is data recovery?

A. Data recovery is a system of procedures used to recover lost data from a variety of sources, including hard disk drives, floppy diskette media, or tape backups. Performed by trained experts, data recovery is the last resort when all other methods, including commercial software, fail.

Q. What causes data loss?

A. Data can be lost due to a number of reasons. The largest contributing factor to data loss is hardware or system malfunction, followed by human error, accounting for almost 75% of all incidences. Rounding out the list is software corruption, computer viruses and natural disasters such as fire and water damage.

Q. How is data recovered?

A. There are many methods by which data is retrieved, both conventional and non-conventional. In fact, there is no one set way to retrieve data. Each project is analyzed on an individual basis and only then can an action plan be developed. Whenever feasible, Southwest Stars employs state-o-the-art replication technology to duplicate clients data bit by bit reducing the risk of causing further damage to the data.

Q. Can all data be retrieved?

A. Not always. There are occasions when damage to the data is permanent. However, it is a rare case when absolutely no data is retrievable. Most times, SWS Data Recovery can recover some of the data even in extreme conditions. On average, the company boasts an 85% data recovery success rate.

Q. How long does data retrieval take?

A. Each project is different and requires unique processes and timelines. Upon receipt of damaged media, SWS Data Recovery will provide a report within one business day outlining the specifics required to perform the data recovery. While some projects may require several days, even weeks, about 75% of all jobs have a turnaround time of less than 48 hours.

Q. In what format is retrieved data delivered?

A. SWS will return data with the same file names, in the same data type, with the same characteristics, identifiers and in the same structure and location as before the failure.

We return 95% of our customers' recovered data on CD_ROM. On occasion, we have also been asked to return data on floppy, Zip, new Hard Drives, DVD and other media.If you would prefer your recovered data transferred to any other media, please include the good media (tape, cartridge or hard drive), with the damaged media (clearly marked) in your package. Ensure that the media is correctly formatted for your systems.

Q. My documents contain confidential information, how can I be sure they'll remain confidential?

A. Southwest Stars offers clients a secure environment to ensure that their information is kept private. Every member of the Southwest Stars is under non_disclosure. Furthermore, a special secure isolation room with controlled access is available when confidentiality is of the utmost importance. Southwest Stars also offers an Online Remote recovery service for certain types of data recovery projects.

Q. Can data loss be prevented?

A. Nothing can prevent data loss better than performing routine backups of all your data. Users can save hours, days and weeks of downtime by minimizing their data loss through routine backups. A good anti-virus software package, updated regularly, will also offer some protection against data loss.