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Information Technology Services On Site Support used to send hard disk drives and other disks that people considered “dead” to outside data recovery vendors. For trying to recover the data, those outside firms would charge the University $1,000 or more per drive.

“We can do most of it in-house now,” said Jim Moravansky, Tech Support Analyst with On Site Support.

Sense of ownership helps fuel effort

Before Moravansky came to work for ITS in February 2014, he had implemented a data recovery program at Western Carolina University and at UNC-Wilmington. Moravansky was eager to apply his data recovery skills at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“I always think of it as my data,” he said.

With that sense of ownership, Moravansky is even more determined to find a way to recover the data. More than half of the disks can be fixed – maybe as many as 60 percent, he said.

In the past year, Moravansky has recovered around 10 drives.

“We get more knowledge every time we do a recovery,” he said.

Phillip Moser
Phillip Moser

Customer testimonial

Phillip Moser, who provides tech support to Family Medicine within the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, said On Site Support has come to the rescue several times when data seemed lost.

“I had a staff member come to me on Monday morning screaming about her computer crashing over the weekend and losing a presentation due by Friday,” Moser said. “After troubleshooting the laptop, I found out the hard drive had crashed and the data looked unrecoverable. I tried a few tricks I have to get the data off of it, but couldn’t get anything.”

Moser sent a message to the CTC listserv and Moravansky offered to help.

“He was able to get the data off quickly and save this person’s presentation,” Moser said. “It went from a very dire situation to the best possible outcome in the matter of an email. It was a great experience and since then I have sent a few hard drives to Jim, and he has saved me several times since. Jim is awesome at recovering data.”

On Site Support manager recognized the value

Moravansky is thankful he has the opportunity to pursue these data recovery efforts.

“My boss, Ken Yow, was instrumental in seeing the importance of my recovery skills and he, along with Wendy Andrews and her group, found the funding to purchase the hardware I need to recover drives,” Moravansky said. Andrews is Executive Business Manager of the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.

Jim Moravansky
Jim Moravansky

Doing the work in-house saves the customer time and money. Usually Moravansky can return the data in hours or days whereas an outside data recovery vendor could take up to a month.

“If a person’s computer won’t boot for one reason or another, the best thing to do is to shut it off and contact their support person,” he said. “The more times a user tries to boot a dying system, the worse it gets and the less likely I can recover the data.”

As part of the data recovery program, Moravansky trains customers to always back up their data to the network. “People only come once,” he said. After the scare of losing their data, his customers are much more likely to consistently back up their data.




Throughout December and January, we are highlighting the work and the people of the ITS On Site Support group, led by Manager Ken Yow. Check back often at ITS News to learn more about this interesting group’s mission, expertise, camaraderie, collaborations, projects and innovations.


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