ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Data recovery from external drive (K2 #51)

Question of the Week
My 1TB external disk got spoiled. I have thousands of photographs stored in it and now I am unable to retrieve those pictures. I don't have any idea how I can get those pictures. I did take consult with IT vendors in town but they said it would not be possible. Can you please suggest if it is possible to retrieve the photographs, and if yes, how?
— Kinley Tshering, Thimphu

I have an external drive of 500GB capacity, almost fully occupied with files. The last time I unplugged it from a computer, I pulled it out directly, and now it won’t read on any computer, though there is the power bulb dstill on and machinery sound when I bring it near my ears. I tried on a lot of computers, still not working. Please help me. I have a whole lot of files and contents there.
— Namgay Rinchen, Thimphu

Losing important data can be very stressful. So first, the good news: Recovering data from failed disks is often possible. Now, for the not-so-good news: no computer vendor in Bhutan currently offers professional data recovery services

Time for DiskVival?

With more and more of our personal and business information stored on disks, memory cards, and smartphones, a data recovery lab represents an interesting business opportunity in Bhutan.
If you are lucky, your external drive has a simple hardware issue that is relatively easy to fix by a technician - for example, a crooked USB connector or a failed disk enclosure (the box that holds the actual disk), or perhaps a software issue that can be corrected by a disk recovery utility such as TestDisk (

If the issue is more complicated than that, well, your disk will need to be handled by a professional. My recommendation: Keep the drive, and seek the services of a data recovery professional when you (or a friend) are outside of Bhutan. Note that depending on the specific issue, recovery can range from expensive to very expensive.

The inconvenient truth is that all hard disks eventually fail, often within a few years. Experts recommend replacing hard disks every 3-5 years, but even that is not a guarantee against failure. Prevention is better than cure, so back up your files. And please don’t wait - do it today!

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to

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