The decision to use data recovery software versus the professional service of a data recovery company is one that should be weighed carefully. In extremely simple cases, the usage of data recovery software can be valuable. However, the use of recovery software often results in further damage to your hard-drive and permanent data loss. The software should only be used in extremely simple data recovery cases. If your drive is making any noise such as clicking or small vibrations then the case would not qualify as simple.
Most of the time a malfunctioning hard drive is the result of mechanical or electrical problems to the drive. In this case, data recovery software will do nothing but continue to spin the drive and result in further damage and possible permanent loss of data. Each hard drive contains spinning magnetic discs that hold all of your data. When software is used, the drive continues to spin, and if there is any sort of misalignment or electrical problem then the drive will simply be exposed to more forms of damage.
The best course of action to fix a damaged or malfunctioning drive is to discontinue use of the drive immediately. If the data on your computer is more valuable than the fees for a data recovery service, then it would be wise to seek expert advice. Unfortunately, many consumers are convinced to buy data recovery software simply because it is the cheapest method of attempted recovery. The software companies often do not disclose that their product often will result in further damage, and permanent loss of your valuable pictures of files. Most of the unrecoverable data problems that are sent to data recovery companies are the result of data recovery software or other utilities that have damaged the drive after a crash or malfunction.
Since a large majority of hard drive crashes are due to electrical and mechanical problems, the drive cannot be fixed with software. A data recovery company with expertly trained technicians must be used to give you the highest chance of recovering your files. Data recovery professionals charge fees that are much higher than data recovery software, but the service is also much more effective. If the data that you have lost is extremely important, it would be wise to invest in the money required to give yourself the best chance at a successful recovery.
The analogy is similar to a medical problem. The use of WebMD.com or any other medical advice website can sometimes be helpful for mild problems or symptoms. However, when you have experienced a serious medical condition you will obviously need to consult with a practicing medical doctor. It is more expensive, but the service customization and quality is at a vastly higher level. Data recovery service versus recovery software contains a very similar quality to cost ratio.