PC World takes data recovery to the high street

PC World is to offer high street data recovery services through it chain of nationwide stores.

In a partnership with forensic experts Ibas, all 152 PC World stores will have their Advice and Service clinics stocked with Ibas’ data recovery equipment and run by trained staff.

Each Data Recovery Lab offers a five-day turnaround and no-fix, no-fee service able to cater for everything from floppy disks, USB sticks and iPods to hard disks hundreds of Gigabytes in capacity.

Jon Naylor, customer service director at PC World, said the technology was powerful enough to retrieve data from fire and flood damaged devices and claimed a 95 per cent success rate. Jan Holm, Director of Consumer Business, Europe, Ibas said that his company had even recovered data from storage devices returned from Iraq with pistol shots through them.

Data recovery from removeable storage costs £59.99 inc VAT and from a hard disk drive costs £99.99 inc VAT. Naylor said that customers should not expect the service to be able to fix broken CDs, though, and scratched discs can be repaired through another service at the PC World centres.

He also pointed out that the service was limited to data only: customers will not be able to recover applications through it. Instead they should reinstall the programs through the original media.

As PC World will no doubt be aware of since it took on a job to repair Gary Glitter’s PC in 1999, there are always privacy issues when it comes to handling other peoples’ data.

Customers using the new service have to describe to the technicians what data they want to recover and give permission for them to do so. Naylor said that the staff will then respect the customer’s privacy and look strictly for that data, but would still be bound to alert the authorities should they find something clearly amiss.

‘Our staff are trained to tread the fine line between customer privacy and social responsibillity,’ he told us.

It seems that data loss is not uncommon. PC World polled around 2,000 people and found that 51 per cent of home computer users have lost PC-based data, with a quarter having done so in the past year and a half.

The service has already been in trial across the north of England, and Naylor said that customers ranged from consumers to small and micro businesses.

Jon Naylor, customer service director at PC World, told us that although the company offers backup services, only a small minority of consumers bother to back up data. Furthermore, once a data failure has occurred, many expect the cost and complexity of data recovery services to be too great to be worthwhile. ‘It’s a real leap of faith for some of our consumers,’ he said. ‘A big technology leap.’

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