Data recovery - a quick introduction

Data Recovery

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Data recovery is the process of retrieving or salvaging pieces of data from a disk drive or any other type of storage media when data can no longer be accessible using customary methods. Often times, these files are being stored in hard drives and removable disks, including CDs, DVDs, tape cartridges, flash memories and the like. The approach of recovering files may be considered necessary because of the damaged or corrupted storage media. Sometimes, the storage device itself receives physical dents and breakage that renders it unusable. Hard disks may crash due to mechanical failures or infestation of unwanted virus; mere scratches on CDs and DVDs can give rise to data reading problems ; and as for the tapes, these can be broken easily.

However, data recovery is not limited to fixing storage related failures. Accidental deletion and forgotten passwords are a couple of the non-failure related causes that may also bring forth the necessity of data recovery.

Self Repair Warning

More often than not, end users cannot promptly identify the solution for a damaged storage system. This is due to the fact that not all users possess the technical expertise essential to assess and address the problem. For example, users may experience their screens going blank. They reboot their computers only to find out that no hard drive can be found. With the goal of recognizing the problem, they take out the hard disk and do some self repair that may expose the hard disk to further damage.

Even with professionals willing to deliver accurate services, users tend to do the repairs themselves by applying unusual schemes like removing the hard disk and placing it in the freezer with the purpose of unsticking the jammed platter. Most specialists maintain that doing this will promote more harm than good.

Data Recovery Techniques

The need for expertise on data recovery is an imperative component in the computer industry. Data recovery firms make use of various methods to salvage any and every data to restore very important files or to make the electronic device function properly.

One of these methods is using class 100 cleanroom facilities or controlled environment to minimize damage or corruption that may be brought by the ambient air. The use of these specialize rooms aims to protect the storage media while recovery is being made.

Physical Damage

Data recovery can be done utilizing different techniques. Physical damage may be dealt with by replacing old parts. The PCB or Printed Circuit Board can be replaced with the same model to "restore circuit life". This should be done carefully by professionals using the proper tools in opening the hard disk.

The market offers a line of specialty pieces that aspires to directly read hard drive platters or the component wherein the data is actually stored. The "read and write" head can also be replaced or "swapped" with a new one. Sometimes the power lines get busted or some loose contact is apparent, here an accurate re-soldering job is needed.

The price quotation for this recovery service depends heavily on the type of storage medium and the amount of data that needs to be retrieved. The process of repairing physical damages may allow the user to use the hard disk, though it may not be sufficient for the computer to run in its entirety since Logical damage may be still be present.

Logical Damage

Logical damage means that the system or storage may be corrupted due to unintentional partition, accidental formatting and deletions, power failure, virus attacks or memory overflow. All of these may lead to system irregularities, crashes, and even further data loss. Sometimes, these types of errors can be rectified by using a data recovery software. An end-user may opt to download software over the internet, although there are no guaranteed results. Some programs may even cause complete data loss.

While shareware and freeware programs are offered to the public with the right intention, there is no assurance that it will actually fix the problem. Mostly, the service of a data recovery firm is better as compared to off-the-shelf software. As for accidental deletions, hard disk recovery is feasible because of data remanence, meaning part and parcel of the data still remains in the hard drive even though it has been deleted by the user. However, the unknowledgeable user could effortlessly and unconsciously create further data loss instead. Data recovery may prove to be too complicated particularly when such damage involves overwriting of the lost data.

Disk Imaging Technique

There is specialized software that can extract corrupt data with the exception to physically damaged disc. Although it is no way complete, any data recovered can be reconstructed for reference. Mostly, data recovery through Imaging involves the following:


The imaging technique specializes on getting what can be "read" on the entire disk by avoiding any command that will restart the process once an error is detected, after this data reconstruction follows.

Data Loss Prevention

The best way to address data loss is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Data backup permits the user to restore any file or data if ever logical or physical damage occurs. Most computers possess inherent tools which will allow a system roll back, signifying that the system will return to its last known working configuration. This connotes that the only data projected to be lost are those recently stored at the moment of system or data failure. This option can also be used when an unacquainted user inadvertently changes the system setting, resulting to various consequences, all leading to an inevitable crash.

For the system restore to be functional, it should contain quite a few consistent backup systems to ensure that the data is stored properly. Investing in a program intended to block unwelcome bugs and incompatible software programs will diminish the risk of data loss. Hard disk drive defragmenting is recommended once every six to twelve months, depending on the amount of software installed and the time used on working files.

External protection must also be observed. Hard disk drives are sensitive. If a speck of dust is able to make its way into the hard disk, the results may prove fatal. This is due to the fact that this dirt particle is moderately larger than that of the distance between the read and write head and the platter located in the hard disk. (The platter has two surfaces; each surface is read and written by a lone head hovering on top of it.) A single particle will likely obstruct any attempt of repair or recovery. Furthermore, hard drives must be protected against extreme temperature and heat. While electricity fluctuations or power spikes can be handled by utilizing a surge protector.

Not all data can be recovered. There may be cases where it is impossible to repair or retrieve any data because of the severe damage obtained by the hard disk, particularly the platter. However, most firms pose an outstanding success rate with regards to recovering lost or damaged data.

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