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Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 15th, 2018, 21:15

Thinking of starting a basic DR service using Rapidspar and swap PCB/BIOS, no internal repairs. Maybe later upgrade to PC3000 and laminar flow cabinet if money is good.

Rapidspar is $2K or $3K with data acquisition add-on. For $3K, maybe I should just get MRTlab Express?

Can MRTlab Express do everything Rapidspar can do?

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 16th, 2018, 16:28

There are some topics about starting a DR business...

What's your budget? What's your client market? What's your competition??
This is how you start a business: check other things first instead of the tool.

But, I would recommend you a PC3000 (bigger investment, yes, but also a bigger chance of return)

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 16th, 2018, 16:32

$2-3K. Local clients only, focusing on 3.5" and 2.5" HDDs only. Supplemental income on the side, <$1000 a month.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 17th, 2018, 3:35

DR business isn't cheap.
If you think on getting <1k income, you can see that you get a return of a PC3000 purchase in 6-8 months...
The case is that this insn't right.

It will take more time for sure, because DR isn't a "one button click solution" and get the money back. It will take time to learn, etc, etc, but the right and best tool to start making some $$ is PC3000.

Don't go cheap on this. If you can go to the best!

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 17th, 2018, 12:00

Thing is I want DR jobs that is a "one button click solution" which is what Rapidspar does. For tougher jobs, I can just refer clients to a DR lab. Hence the small supplemental income.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 17th, 2018, 17:55

I have partnered with several resellers with RapidSpar units.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 17th, 2018, 18:24

digicube wrote:Thing is I want DR jobs that is a "one button click solution" which is what Rapidspar does. For tougher jobs, I can just refer clients to a DR lab. Hence the small supplemental income.

The cheaper tools (eg WDMarvel, Sediv, SHTR) have single-click solutions for common firmware problems, eg the WD "slow fix". You can then image the drive with ddrescue or HDDSuperClone. I can't see how RapidSpar would fare any better, especially as it cannot image by head.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 17th, 2018, 19:03

I read DR software running under an OS cannot skip bad sectors. Rapidspar can disable heads according to the demo video, though it depends if the HDD is in their database. https://youtu.be/AqALPBrgYkw?t=532

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 17th, 2018, 22:18

digicube wrote:I read DR software running under an OS cannot skip bad sectors. Rapidspar can disable heads according to the demo video ...

I was going from memory. One of RapidSpar's original limitations was that it couldn't avoid a bad head, unlike the flagship product (DeepSpar). It appears that things have improved.

As for DR software running under an OS, both ddrescue and HDDSuperClone are able to skip bad areas.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 18th, 2018, 8:53

I have Startech SATADUP11, RapidSpar, DeepSpar, MRT, PC3000 and have used ddrescue and hddsuperclone from time to time. I'd be happy to answer your questions about each specific option. A quick summary:

ddrescue - basic drive cloning software in linux, handling bad sectors. Can be annoying to use if the drive is unstable and it is extremely easy to accidentally clone backwards (from destination to source). Doesn't have any features to target files.

hddsuperclone - a huge improvement to ddrescue with some added features and a gui. But, still has issues with unstable drives and still a risk to accidentally clone backwards. Doesn't have any features to target files.

SATADUP11 - a 1:1 hardware imager that can be set to stop on any number of read errors or allow unlimited. Can be set to clone system files and partitions (by bitmap) targeting only the sectors that have data in them. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a log, so if you restart, you start from the beginning. You can only image one way and the source and destination are marked. So, it is less likely that you can image backwards, but still possible if the drives are the same capactity.

RapidSpar - a good rounded tool, designed more for computer shops who want to provide better data recovery and drive diagnosis than what can be done with the previous 3 options. This tool as the ability to go so far as to repower the source drive, should it go unresponsive. The support on the RapidSpar forums is very handy in providing assistance on how to do pretty much anything you ask, providing that you have the equipment and tools to do them. Being able to load up the file structure and target a specific file or sub-folder to be recovered not only speeds up the recovery, but may increase the chances of recovery, if those are the key files to be recovered. The thing that is really good about this product is that the DeepSpar team is really good at listening to client needs and providing fast fixes and updates. If you can afford to, I'd recommend getting the forensic add-on to allow you to mount drives through the imager, but it isn't necessary. It is also a nice that the unit is portable and can run as a stand alone imager too.

DeepSpar 4 - this is the powerhouse of drive cloning. with the network add-on, it has so much more control over the imaging process than RapidSpar. It is a great tool to have when you have a drive in really rough condition, you can setup multiple pass algorithms to dig in and get as many sectors from the drive copied to the clone. As with RapidSpar, DeepSpar is constantly updating and adding new features to make these tools even more powerful for drive imaging.

MRT Ultra - the big selling point for MRT, IMHO, is the low up-front costs for 4 imaging channels. You need only pay to charge it for a month as you need it. Got no recovery jobs this month? Then don't waste your money on it. Although MRT likes to think of themselves as a competitor to PC3000, I see them as a cheap imager that has some features of DeepSpar and PC3000, but lacks some functionality and control I crave. The software is buggy and the support isn't great. The software can handle more firmware issues than RapidSpar, but it is nowhere close to PC3000. If you are wishing for a gateway system to PC3000, this might be a good fit, as it allows you the chance to learn more about hard drives and their firmware. But, I'd probably buy it in tandem with a RapidSpar, as it isn't plug and play and you will need some time to figure things out. I guess it would depend on how fast a learner you are.

PC3000 - what can I say, this is the tool that almost every professional data recovery lab has to handle most of the complex cases. The imaging in DE is not as powerful as DeepSpar in some ways, yet there are many cases where a drive will only detect and read via the PC3000 utility, meaning that the only option to clone the drive is through DE.

There are other tools out there that others have mentioned, such as sediv and dolphin. I've never used those tools or even saw them in action. I feel it best to only comment on what I do know (or what I think I know) and not on what I don't.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 18th, 2018, 17:50

Thanks for the summary. I'll start with Rapidspar. If I decide to provide full HDD repair service, I'll get a laminar flow bench and PC3000. I only need one device for a one person business, might as well get the best.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 19th, 2018, 14:33

That sounds like a good plan to me!

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 19th, 2018, 15:27

pcimage wrote:That sounds like a good plan to me!

But, what do you know?

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

September 19th, 2018, 15:30

Not enough!

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

October 31st, 2018, 16:39

digicube wrote:Thinking of starting a basic DR service using Rapidspar and swap PCB/BIOS, no internal repairs. Maybe later upgrade to PC3000 and laminar flow cabinet if money is good.

Rapidspar is $2K or $3K with data acquisition add-on. For $3K, maybe I should just get MRTlab Express?

Can MRTlab Express do everything Rapidspar can do?


I started a small DR Company and have been successful so far. Here is what I can advise. Start with RapidSpar and MRT Lab combination. Rapidspar will handle about fifty percent of your current needs and MRT will hobble along and handle the rest. As your business grows, you can add the Mercedes Benz like DeepSpar and PC3000. You will be pleasantly surprised as to what RapidSpar can do. As for support, Rapidspar support is top notch, MRT support is lacklustre.

RapidSpar has instalment plans and you can Rent MRT with an initial investment of $ 400 USD and pay month to month as needed.

So far, most of my customers are Mac users, I do Mac repairs and DR and it has worked very well for me.

I found this website with lots of valuable information as needed.

Good Luck

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

November 1st, 2018, 9:56

You guys are lucky ...

Unfortunately for me the majority of cases that I'm getting do require clean room work (head stack replacement)...

I would say 80% or more of the cases i do get here ...

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

November 1st, 2018, 11:12

Spildit wrote:You guys are lucky ...

Unfortunately for me the majority of cases that I'm getting do require clean room work (head stack replacement)...

I would say 80% or more of the cases i do get here ...

I suspect that is what happens when a computer shop transitions into a data recovery lab. As a computer shop, you aren't known for data recovery and tend to get mostly basic cases and as you build a reputation for data recovery, you start to get harder and harder projects until you drop the computer repair business and take on data recovery full time.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

July 30th, 2020, 11:23

lcoughey wrote:I have Startech SATADUP11, RapidSpar, DeepSpar, MRT, PC3000 and have used ddrescue and hddsuperclone from time to time. I'd be happy to answer your questions about each specific option. A quick summary:

ddrescue - basic drive cloning software in linux, handling bad sectors. Can be annoying to use if the drive is unstable and it is extremely easy to accidentally clone backwards (from destination to source). Doesn't have any features to target files.

hddsuperclone - a huge improvement to ddrescue with some added features and a gui. But, still has issues with unstable drives and still a risk to accidentally clone backwards. Doesn't have any features to target files.

SATADUP11 - a 1:1 hardware imager that can be set to stop on any number of read errors or allow unlimited. Can be set to clone system files and partitions (by bitmap) targeting only the sectors that have data in them. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a log, so if you restart, you start from the beginning. You can only image one way and the source and destination are marked. So, it is less likely that you can image backwards, but still possible if the drives are the same capactity.

RapidSpar - a good rounded tool, designed more for computer shops who want to provide better data recovery and drive diagnosis than what can be done with the previous 3 options. This tool as the ability to go so far as to repower the source drive, should it go unresponsive. The support on the RapidSpar forums is very handy in providing assistance on how to do pretty much anything you ask, providing that you have the equipment and tools to do them. Being able to load up the file structure and target a specific file or sub-folder to be recovered not only speeds up the recovery, but may increase the chances of recovery, if those are the key files to be recovered. The thing that is really good about this product is that the DeepSpar team is really good at listening to client needs and providing fast fixes and updates. If you can afford to, I'd recommend getting the forensic add-on to allow you to mount drives through the imager, but it isn't necessary. It is also a nice that the unit is portable and can run as a stand alone imager too.

DeepSpar 4 - this is the powerhouse of drive cloning. with the network add-on, it has so much more control over the imaging process than RapidSpar. It is a great tool to have when you have a drive in really rough condition, you can setup multiple pass algorithms to dig in and get as many sectors from the drive copied to the clone. As with RapidSpar, DeepSpar is constantly updating and adding new features to make these tools even more powerful for drive imaging.

MRT Ultra - the big selling point for MRT, IMHO, is the low up-front costs for 4 imaging channels. You need only pay to charge it for a month as you need it. Got no recovery jobs this month? Then don't waste your money on it. Although MRT likes to think of themselves as a competitor to PC3000, I see them as a cheap imager that has some features of DeepSpar and PC3000, but lacks some functionality and control I crave. The software is buggy and the support isn't great. The software can handle more firmware issues than RapidSpar, but it is nowhere close to PC3000. If you are wishing for a gateway system to PC3000, this might be a good fit, as it allows you the chance to learn more about hard drives and their firmware. But, I'd probably buy it in tandem with a RapidSpar, as it isn't plug and play and you will need some time to figure things out. I guess it would depend on how fast a learner you are.

PC3000 - what can I say, this is the tool that almost every professional data recovery lab has to handle most of the complex cases. The imaging in DE is not as powerful as DeepSpar in some ways, yet there are many cases where a drive will only detect and read via the PC3000 utility, meaning that the only option to clone the drive is through DE.

There are other tools out there that others have mentioned, such as sediv and dolphin. I've never used those tools or even saw them in action. I feel it best to only comment on what I do know (or what I think I know) and not on what I don't.


I've been using HDD Super Clone for some weeks, I think that's a good software. Cloned using that, created a data map using R-Studio, recover the files. Nice combo, ... I think.

Re: Wanna start small DR biz, Rapidspar or MRTlab express?

July 30th, 2020, 11:59

yuji22 wrote:
digicube wrote:Thinking of starting a basic DR service using Rapidspar and swap PCB/BIOS, no internal repairs. Maybe later upgrade to PC3000 and laminar flow cabinet if money is good.

Rapidspar is $2K or $3K with data acquisition add-on. For $3K, maybe I should just get MRTlab Express?

Can MRTlab Express do everything Rapidspar can do?


I started a small DR Company and have been successful so far. Here is what I can advise. Start with RapidSpar and MRT Lab combination. Rapidspar will handle about fifty percent of your current needs and MRT will hobble along and handle the rest. As your business grows, you can add the Mercedes Benz like DeepSpar and PC3000. You will be pleasantly surprised as to what RapidSpar can do. As for support, Rapidspar support is top notch, MRT support is lacklustre.

RapidSpar has instalment plans and you can Rent MRT with an initial investment of $ 400 USD and pay month to month as needed.

So far, most of my customers are Mac users, I do Mac repairs and DR and it has worked very well for me.

I found this website with lots of valuable information as needed.

Good Luck


Been wondering about how to start my own DR business with my limited budget. Sounds like a good plan to me. The PC3000 Express costs about a new MPV class car if I have to buy and import it to my country, ... Hmm, ...
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