Data recovery serves as a tool for recovering or recalling data from storage media, that underwent data loss. When speaking about storage media, it can be literally every kind of storage media like HDD, SSD, USB Flash Drives, CD, DVD and much more. Data recovery represents a very important factor in any operating system because its function is enabled in case of accidental deletion, Windows reinstallation, system booting failure etc. So, it’s a way or recovering information that has become inaccessible due to physical or logical damage to the particular storage device.
How does Data Recovery work?
In this chapter, we’ll try to make understanding of Data Recovery easy, by starting off with an example of a hard disk. Every hard disk consists of platters, which are rotating in a certain amount of speed, which depends on if the hard disk is reading or writing data on its platters. So how exactly can data be damaged? Well, if the platter or arms writing data on the disk fails, so comes the data deletion, but it’s not PERMANENTLY deleted. Instead, it remains somewhere in the storage, which is essential for Data Recovery to work. Usually, there is a very complex algorithm that performs a detailed scan of the hard drive, which goal is to mark all the ‘deleted’ files.
Of course, we speak about light damage, which is typical for a hard disk. In this case, Data Recovery tool can successfully collect all of the damaged/deleted information and make a successful recovery. What about heavy damage? Well, in the next chapter, we are going to take a look at a difference between logical and physical damage.
Logical vs. Physical damage
Let’s start with the logical hard disk damage. This type of damage is common for modern hard drives, and it means that while you can’t access the data on a hard drive, you can still under Disk Management or BIOS. Logical damage is often characterized as system file corruption, registry damage or operating system failure, and these factors prevent the user from accessing the files on the hard disk. Fortunately, as the hard drive isn’t physically damaged, these files can, in most cases, be recovered using Data Recovery or any other alternative.
Unlike logical, physical damage is often the complete, permanent failure of the storage. If this happens to you, there is a good chance that those files are gone forever, but it isn’t always the case. In this particular case, Data Recovery won’t work, and the storage would need to be sent to data recovery experts, for further analysis. They use special techniques for doing this, and there is a hope for your files to be recovered. This is the reason why you need to avoid hitting your computer case or any other component.
Avoiding data loss
Data loss may or may not occur during the lifespan of one storage media, which depends on many factors. However, as some of you probably have very important files on your PC, Smartphones, CDs or whatever it may be, you want to minimize the chances of data loss or corruption. Today, the most used methods are Cloud Spaces and drive backup. Cloud Space is great and will let you upload your files to the preferred server, being able to access them at any time. For example, Microsoft offers Cloud Space if you are using Windows 10. All you have to do is log in with your username and password on the other PC, and download your files if data loss occurs. Cloud Space can also be paid, and it depends on how much space do you need.
On the other side, drive backup is the older method of avoiding data loss. There is an option in Control Panel of every PC, which will let you burn your files to a DVD thus preventing data loss. Whether you are using this method or Cloud Space, be sure to do this often, to minimize the chances of unwanted data loss. Once a week would be preferred number, depending on what you are using your storage for.
Limitations of Data Recovery
While Data Recovery is a very powerful tool, it has its own limitations, and will not work in these cases:
- File infected with virus or Trojan program, which is inaccessible due to infection;
- Lost files are too old for recovery;
- Severe damage to the hard drive;
- Overwritten data;
- If Data Recovery program can’t locate the stored location, due to a damaged magnetic area.
Freezing method for Data Recovery
This is a very common method for trying to recover the lost data, which you should AVOID. This essentially means that you put your data storage into the freezer in order to make it accessible for retrieving files again. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work and will just lead to more complications and challenges for a successfuly data recovery process. We strongly disagree with this method, as it can cause permanent damage to your hard drive, as well as permanent loss of important files, without a possibility of Data Recovery. Instead, if you encounter a data loss, DO NOT attempt to physically open the hard drive, freeze it, repair it or any similar process, as it can lead to permanent loss of files and warranty.
Data Recovery needs to be taken seriously, as this is the last resort if you want to recover your lost files. If your disk suffered a logical damage, you don’t need to be a computer expert in order to recover your files. You can find many guides on the internet on how to restore your files in just a few steps. Often, there are Data Recovery programs, which will do all the heavy lifting for you, and are recommended if you are a beginner or haven’t done this before. If this method isn’t working, contact your storage manufacturer or simply bring it to Data Recovery experts. Be smart about Data Recovery and often use methods of preventing data loss, to ensure that your files are safe.