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Macworld 2010: Get an education with the DriveSavers Hard Drive Disk-aster Simulator

David Winograd

DriveSavers has been the go-to company for data recovery since 1985, when I used to read about them in Apple ][ magazines. They have saved the bacon (and jobs) of many people over the ensuing years. When all else fails, DriveSavers can be counted on to retrieve your data -- whether it's on a hard drive, memory card, iPod, iPhone, or just about any type of storage media.

It seems that their heart is in the right place; although seemingly not great for their business, they created the wonderful free DriveSavers Hard Drive Disk-aster Simulator app for the iPhone or iPod touch. The app teaches, in interactive fashion, how a hard disk works, and all the things that can crash a drive. It shows the inside of a hard disk where you can tap around to read descriptions of all the components.

Next, using interactive animation, sound and vibration, you'll learn all the things that can crash a drive. You'll learn what happens during a clicker failure, seized motor, problems with spinning up and down, solid state drive failures (yes, they can fail too), contamination and head crashes. It's both entertaining and educational. There is also a section relating to protection strategies, which covers best practices, backup strategies, securing your data, and how serious a problem must be before you call DriveSavers. Knowledge is power, and I consider this critical information for any computer user.

Another section shows you pictures of the clean room where all the data recovery gets done. DriveSavers employs the most advanced certified IS 5 (class 100) clean rooms in the industry and is authorized by all hard drive manufacturers to work on hard drives without voiding a warranty. If you don't have an iPhone or iPod touch, you can still learn everything in the app via a web-based Flash video.

Gallery: Gallery of the Drivesavers app | 10 Photos

We conducted an interview with Chris Bross from DriveSavers from the show floor. Chris talks about the philosophy behind DriveSavers. I found it interesting that there is a suicide prevention professional on staff to take call from clients on the verge of a nervous breakdown -- which is not an uncommon occurrence. Click on the Read More link to see the interview.

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