data recoveryData Recovery software tools cover almost every situation, and losing Grandma’s favorite moonshine recipe is not an immediate call for the rusty razor blades. Data Recovery from hard drive is successful in almost all cases (even a fire-damaged disk), however, overwritten data may only be partially recoverable.

When you recognize a data loss problem relax, count to 100, do some deep breathing exercises, or have a brew (or two). You need to analyze the situation first before trying to fix it.

The simplest data recovery process involves the retrieval of files that have been “deleted” from a storage media. The files are usually not erased only removed from the directory listings. So, fugetabout the “Cheap Computers” section of the want-ads; your machine is not trashed yet. You can recover that list of grandma’s stolen, credit card numbers before she sobers up.

Operating systems consider deleted files as just free space on the drive, so with any write operations to that partition or disk there is the probability of loosing these files forever by overwriting them. Therefore it’s not recommended to restore files or an image into the same partition.

There are plenty of reasons why your hard drive should be partitioned into more than one volume – and recovering deleted data is an excellent one. In the case of hard disk data recovery, you must recover and save the information to another physical hard drive.

Any write operation can overwrite files for good.and ruin your chances of successful data recovery. So, in case of suspected problems, don’t write anything to data drive, don’t run any disk utilities such as chkdsk and defragmenters and don’t reboot your computer – Windows may automatically run chkdsk during start-up.

The key to computer data recovery is to act before the files are overwritten with new data. The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes. Files that are deleted will eventually be overwritten by the operating system with new data. The more you use your computer, the more you reduce your chances of recovery. In this situation, simple Undelete File Software is probably all you need to solve the problem.

Do not install the undelete or recovery software to the drive you are attempting to recover from. Adding the installation files to the disk may overwrite the files you want to recover.

Never restore files to the same drive you are recovering them from. As the recovered files are created on the disk, they could overwrite other files that you intend to recover.

Most “Free” data recovery software downloads are trial or demo versions of commercial products. Usually of limited duration (15 days for instance), they will locate and display your deleted files but do not have a “save” function.

Some favorite free full featured recovery software:

  • Recuva is simple to use.
  • PC Inspector is simple to use.
  • TestDisk is an advanced recovery tool with a learning curve.

At some point in time, everyone who owns a computer will experience data loss, whether it’s due to human error to “Acts of God” (flood, fire, asteroid strike, a two-year old’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich) to viruses and blown transformers in front of your house. Data recovery tools and the knowledge to use them are valuable assets and inevitable necessities.

For personal computers, RAID data recovery is impractical because of the initial cost and maintenance. However, if you happen to manage data for a large business you will be familiar RAID storage which saves data to multiple hard drives. This redundancy greatly improves the possibility of data recovery if one disk fails.

Preventing the loss of your valuable data should become a major priority. Regular Backups should be part of every computer owners routine. It is the easiest and surest way to protect yourself from data loss. There are services online that provide storage. Or, you can back it up yourself with an external hard drive. The importance of backups cannot be overstated!

A UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) is a simple, smart and crucial piece of hardware that protects those delicate, electronic circuits from lightning and power surges.

From a lost password for an Office application to undeleting files from an emptied recycle bin, simple data recovery software will usually do the trick. However, if you can’t recover the information with software, you’ll probably need to send the disk off to that big “hard drive in the sky”, where a technician will recover your data and then give the defunct hardware a proper farewell.

Recovery from drives that will not power up can only be performed by trained recovery engineers. These engineers will move your damaged drive(s) into a “clean room”, where their equipment can copy a duplicate drive for inspection. This is done to determine where the data is actually corrupt and where it is not. This is almost always a procedure that takes hours or days of continuous work. Technicians are also skilled at rebuilding rare or obsolete equipment.

All hard drives will fail eventually due to normal use. Although it can happen at anytime (malfunction, faulty parts, etc.), hard drive failure normally takes several years to occur. Tests show an average of 600,000 hours in a controlled environment. If you happen to drop your computer out of the box, failure could be immediate. Usually you have some warning. If you start hearing strange noises coming from your computer, such as clicks and grinding that you had not heard before; it’s time to do an immediate Backup.

Requests for Laptop Data Recovery is somewhat more common than for desktop computers. Laptop drives are very small in comparison. Special tooling, equipment and handling procedures are required. However, recovery rates are 90% and higher. Typical problems seen with laptop computers are mechanical or electronic failure, where either the drive does not spin at all, or if it does, then quiet but persistent “ticking” or “crunching” noises can be heard during powering up – this particular problem is mainly due to an internal head amplifier failure or, more seriously, a head crash or misalignment problem – the majority of which are recoverable.

A wide variety of failures can cause physical damage to storage media. CD-ROMs can have their metallic substrate or dye layer scratched off; hard disks can suffer any of several mechanical failures, such as head crashes and failed motors; and tapes can simply break.

Physical damage always causes at least some data loss, and in many cases the logical structures of the file system are damaged as well. This causes logical damage that must be dealt with before any data recovery is possible. Computer system data is the heart, soul and livelihood of any business organization. No company can continue business in the event of total loss of data.

Disaster recovery planning is a major preventive measure employed by the government and big business. It is estimated that most large companies spend between 2% and 4% of their IT budget on disaster recovery planning, with the aim of avoiding larger losses in the event that the business cannot continue to function due to data loss. Of companies that had a major loss of business data, 43% never reopen, 51% close within two years, and only 6% will survive long-term.

Data Disaster Planning backup services are now much more sophisticated and reliable than simple tape backups. Data disaster planning center clients ran their former backup services on tape for years without ever changing their configurations or experiencing a “disaster”. But, it only takes one catastrophe to change your mindset.

A major risk of tape systems is that even when all indicators point to successful backups, the restores fail. Secondly, most companies using tape systems don’t employ a secondary fail-safe system. Backup systems usually have redundancy built in. Redundancy is the key to data security, so you can never have too many backups.

Mirrored hardware only protects you from a hardware failure. Since 90% of data loss is due to data corruption or user error, mirrored equipment offers no protection as corrupt data gets instantly written to the mirror. The only way to protect your data is by restoring from a backlog of backups. Businesses that want to disaster proof their data must make sure that it is in a secure off site location and only available to authorized individuals. Tape backups are not generally encrypted, not very secure, and not recommended. Almost anyone can read them and gain access to your clients, sales, prospects, notes, billing records, payroll, tax info, and anything else on your computer.

The popular technique for file system repair is to assume very little about the state of the file system, and simply rebuild the file system from scratch. Another strategy involves scanning the entire drive and making note of all file system structures and possible file boundaries, then trying to match what was located to the specifications of a working file system. This technique generally does not repair the underlying file system, but merely allows for data to be extracted from it to another storage device. Notably slower than consistency checking, this method can, however, recover data even when the logical structures are almost completely destroyed.

Data Recovery Tools often use PC-based programs to access special hard drive microcode that is designed to enable Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) system manufacturers and service providers diagnose the proper operation of hard drives. Many companies, like Drive Fitness Technologies (DFT) use sets of diagnostic tools, such as Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.), that provide error logging and self-test capabilities.

Designed to handle problem situations where computer users suspect hard drive malfunction, recovery programs can be integrated into the computer system’s diagnostic package, with system integrators by diskette, CD-ROM, or in a special protected partition on the hard drive. Data recovery experts can then be contacted by the end user, for direction and assistance from the system OEM telephone support team. It has been discovered in most problem situations that a suspected hard drive is in fact not malfunctioning at all. In this way, computer users can reduce the expense and disruption related with hard drive replacement, while determining the root cause of the problem.

Advanced Data EFS Recovery (or simply AEFSDR) is a program to recover (decrypt) files encrypted on NTFS (EFS) partitions created in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Advanced data EFS recovery decrypts files even in a case when the system is not bootable and you cannot log on. Decryption is possible even when Windows is protected using SYSKEY. Advanced EFS data recovery instantly and effectively decrypts the files protected under Windows XP and all versions of Windows 2000 (including Service Packs 1, 2, 3 and 4).

EFS supports file sharing of encrypted files among multiple users. You can give individual users permission to access a single encrypted file. Access to folders is not provided in either Microsoft Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Also, access to encrypted files by groups is not supported. Despite claims that Office XP documents are protected by better passwords than those of earlier versions, AOXPPR (Advanced Office XP Password Recovery) can recover XP’s passwords quicker than ever. It’s a favorite FBI Data Recovery tool.

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