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The cat peed on my laptop...

and other bizarre data recovery disasters

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It's not only IT Help Desks that get strange queries and requests. Data recovery specialists at UK-based firm Disklabs have compiled an illuminating list of the oddest requests for assistance it receives from the 50,000 cases a year it deals with involving people needing to get their data recovered.

Disklabs said that recovery of data is nearly always possible, even from the extreme cases it highlights. "It seems that each year this list gets more and more bizarre," Disklabs director Simon Steggles said.

Disklabs top ten data recovery disasters

  • My cat urinated on my laptop - Disklabs technicians had to thread gingerly in handling a Toshiba laptop which had been urinated on by a client's pet Persian Blue.
  • It fell off the roof of the car - A salesperson in a hurry placed his laptop on the roof of his car, while he placed all his demo products into the vehicle. He forgot the laptop on the roof and drove off. He stated: "I was doing about 40mph when I saw it in the rear view mirror".
  • I accidentally drove over it - An MP3 player was the victim of this roadside mishap. The client didn't realise that the MP3 player had fallen out of her pocket, and accidentally drove over the offending device.
  • We just sacked the IT manager and he started kicking the server - The IT manager wasn't up to the job so he was fired. The man in question threw a wobbler, deciding the server had to go before he did. He achieved this by kicking the server until it stopped working, causing data corruption and hardware damage to the hard drives.
  • There was a bit of oil on it - Quite an understatement. One Disklabs' client had approximately 120 barrels of crude spilt over his laptop, which was in use on an oil rig at the time.
  • I accidentally threw it out of a window - A student claimed he was 'messing around' with his roommate's laptop. But instead of pretending to throw the laptop out of the window, he chucked it for real – much to the dismay of his roommate.
  • She just got stroppy and snapped it in half - A client's wife thought he was playing away from home and snapped his mobile in a fit of pique. The phone, a Motorola V3 Razor, was literally snapped in half. Disklabs only received one half of the phone and was still able to retrieve all the SMS messages and contacts.
  • The dog has had a go at it - a Staffordshire bull terrier took a liking to its owner's camera and bit into it. The memory card inside sustained some damage and arrived still wet from dog saliva.
  • I was showing my friend how to delete data on the spare hard drive, but I deleted the wrong one - Enough said.
  • My wife threw my laptop down a well - Another marital dispute. Excuses offered failed to placate an irate wife who took her revenge by throwing her husband's laptop into a 60 foot well.

Disklabs swears all the anecdotes above come from real jobs undertaken by its data recovery service. Disklabs was able to save data in all the above instances.

Which is nice. ®

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