Is Ontrack data recovery good?

Data loss can happen to anyone. Whether it’s due to accidental deletion, hardware failure, or ransomware attack, losing important files and information can be devastating. When disaster strikes, many people turn to data recovery services for help getting their data back. One of the biggest names in data recovery is Ontrack.

Ontrack offers data recovery services for all types of storage devices and operating systems. They have labs located around the world and claim to have recovered data for over a million customers since 1985. But is Ontrack’s data recovery really as good as they claim? Let’s take an in-depth look at what Ontrack provides and whether it’s worth the often high cost of data recovery.

What does Ontrack offer?

Ontrack provides data recovery services for all types of data storage devices and formats. This includes:

  • Hard drives (HDDs and SSDs)
  • External hard drives
  • USB flash drives
  • SD cards
  • RAID arrays
  • Virtual machine disks
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Backup tapes

They support all major operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, etc. Ontrack also recovers data lost due to:

  • Accidental deletion
  • Formatted drives
  • Mechanical failures
  • Logical failures
  • Virus/malware attacks
  • Ransomware encryption
  • Natural disasters
  • Employee sabotage

In addition to standard data recovery, Ontrack also provides specialized forensic data recovery services. This is for situations like legal cases, employee misconduct investigations, or criminal investigations where maintaining data integrity is crucial.

How does Ontrack recover data?

Ontrack uses state-of-the-art technology and proprietary recovery tools to retrieve lost and inaccessible data. Here is an overview of their general data recovery process:

  1. Initial evaluation – The device is examined to determine the cause and extent of data loss. This helps set recovery expectations.
  2. Imaging – The storage device is cloned using specialized imaging tools to preserve the existing data structure.
  3. Analysis – The image is analyzed to determine the best approach for extracting the lost data.
  4. Data extraction – Proprietary data extraction tools scan the drives and reconstruct lost files and folders. Encrypted data may need decryption.
  5. Data rebuilding – The raw recovered data is processed to rebuild file formats, directory structures, etc.
  6. Validation – Recovered data is verified to ensure it is intact and minimally corrupted.
  7. Recovery – The reconstructed data is transferred to new storage media or sent back to the customer.

This is a general overview. The actual process varies based on the type of device, damage, needed recovery, and other factors. But in all cases, Ontrack uses advanced tools and methods to maximize the chance of data recovery.

How successful is Ontrack at recovering data?

According to Ontrack, their data recovery success rate exceeds 90% on average. However, there are many variables that affect success rates, including:

  • Cause of data loss – Logical failures have higher success rates than mechanical failures.
  • Extent of damage – Severely damaged drives lower success rates.
  • Drive type – SSDs are more difficult to recover data from than HDDs.
  • Time since data loss – The longer the wait, the lower the success rate.
  • Storage capacity – Recovery from larger drives is harder than smaller drives.

While extensive damage can reduce chances of complete data recovery, Ontrack advertises that they can recover at least some data in most scenarios. Their high-end tools and clean room facilities allow them to recover data when other options fail. However, there are never any guarantees with data recovery.

Success Rate By Data Loss Type

Data Loss Type Average Success Rate
Accidental Deletion 95%
Formatted Drive 85%
Mechanical Failure 75%
Ransomware Encryption 85%
Natural Disaster 70%

What does Ontrack data recovery cost?

Ontrack data recovery services are expensive. Costs vary based on the device, damage, and desired turnaround time. But expect to pay at minimum several hundred dollars. Larger recoveries easily cost $1000 or more.

Here are some examples of Ontrack data recovery costs:

  • Recovering data from a damaged 2TB hard drive costs $699+
  • USB flash drive recovery starts around $299
  • SSD drive recovery ranges from $599 to $3500+
  • RAID 5 array recovery for 4 x 3TB drives costs $1890+
  • Tape cartridge recovery starts at around $600
  • Smartphone data recovery ranges from $200 to $1000+ depending on device

Expedited emergency recovery services cost extra too. So the total invoice can quickly escalate for extensive recoveries, especially from RAID arrays or servers. While pricey, Ontrack provides flexible payment plans to help ease the financial burden.

Average Data Recovery Costs

Device Type Avg. Cost Range
Hard Disk Drive $350 – $3000+
External Drive $250 – $1000
Solid State Drive $500 – $5000+
USB Flash Drive $200 – $1000
RAID Array $1000 – $10,000+
Backup Tape $500 – $3000+
Smartphone $150 – $700

Pros of Using Ontrack

There are several advantages to using a leading data recovery company like Ontrack:

  • Advanced capabilities – Ontrack has been in business for over 35 years. They invest heavily in R&D and have capabilities far beyond consumer DIY options.
  • High success rates – Their sophisticated tools and techniques allow Ontrack to recover data when other options fail.
  • Broad device support – They support every type of storage device from HDDs to smartphones to tapes.
  • Clean room facilities – Ontrack has ISO Class 5 clean rooms for safe recovery from severely damaged drives.
  • Global presence – With labs around the world, you can get local support for faster turnaround.
  • Strong security – Ontrack uses encryption and secure data erasure to protect your sensitive information.

For the most complex and critical data loss cases, experienced specialists like Ontrack offer the best chance for successfully recovering your important data.

Cons of Using Ontrack

The biggest downside of using Ontrack is their high costs, which puts data recovery out of reach for many:

  • Expensive pricing – Even small recoveries cost hundreds of dollars with Ontrack.
  • No guarantees – There is no guarantee that Ontrack can recover 100% of lost data.
  • Slow turnaround – Standard recoveries can take 1-2 weeks for completion.
  • Destructive process – Recovering data directly from a damaged drive can destroy it in the process.
  • Shipping risks – You must ship devices to their labs, risking damage in transit.

While Ontrack’s capabilities are impressive, their services are realistically only an option for higher value data recoveries given the steep pricing. For smaller everyday data loss incidents, more budget DIY methods may be suitable.

What are the alternatives to Ontrack data recovery?

If Ontrack’s high-cost data recovery services are out of your budget, there are alternative options to consider. Here are a few of the common alternatives to Ontrack:

DIY Data Recovery Software

Using DIY data recovery software is the most affordable option. Software like Stellar Data Recovery, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, Recuva, etc. let you perform data recovery yourself for just $40 to $100 for home licenses. This works well for simple cases like accidental deletion.


  • Very inexpensive compared to professional services
  • Recovers data fast without shipping devices off


  • Limited capabilities compared to professional solutions
  • Typically only work on logical failures, not hardware problems
  • Higher risk of unsuccessful recovery

Local Data Recovery Shops

Some independent computer repair shops offer basic data recovery services. The capabilities are hit-or-miss though depending on tech expertise. But costs are lower than Ontrack, often $200 to $600.


  • More capabilities than DIY software
  • Lower cost than Ontrack


  • Limited tools compared to industry leaders
  • Quality depends heavily on tech skills
  • May lack clean room facilities

Mail-In Data Recovery Services

Mailing your device to a dedicated mail-in data recovery company costs less than Ontrack. Prices range from around $300 to $2000 depending on data loss severity. Many companies like Secure Data Recovery Services provide free evaluations.


  • Lower cost than Ontrack
  • Access to advanced tools and clean rooms
  • Fast turnaround in as little as 24 hours


  • Still fairly expensive compared to DIY options
  • Less capabilities than industry leaders


Ontrack offers advanced data recovery capabilities that give it one of the highest success rates in the industry. For severe cases of data loss where DIY solutions fall short, Ontrack has the best chance of recovering your lost files and information.

However, their high costs put their services out of reach for many home users and smaller businesses. For more budget-friendly options, DIY recovery software or third-party recovery services can work for less complex cases of data loss. But complex recoveries with mechanical failures and extreme damage require the capabilities of leading providers like Ontrack.

In the end, choosing the right data recovery solution involves balancing cost against need. How critical is it to get your lost data back? And is the value of that data worth paying Ontrack’s premium prices? Their success rates and capabilities are unmatched. But those come at a steep price that isn’t always justified for the average user’s particular situation.