Thanks to the rapid development of storage devices and data restoration technologies, recovering lost data has become quite an easy process. Whether you accidentally delete an important file or your storage device suffers from operational failure, data recovery experts have multiple tools at their disposal to retrieve your lost data. However, this doesn’t mean that you can do so every single time an accident occurs. In fact, there are multiple extreme situations where data recovery is not possible at all. In this article, we will tour you through the top three situations when recovering your lost data becomes almost impossible. Without a moment wasted, let’s dive in.
Data Recovery is Not Possible If the Hard Drive Is Severely Damaged
Standard hard disk drives (HDDs) store saved data on platters, made of glass, a substrate disc made of aluminum or ceramic, and a thin coating of magnetic material. More specifically, on a platter, the coating of magnetic material is responsible for holding data. Therefore, if the magnetic material’s coating suffers any sort of physical damage, it will be impossible to make a full recovery of data stored in the HDD.
To make sure that the magnetic coating doesn’t endure any harm, data storage companies take several precautionary measures. However, even with such efforts, if you keep operating an HDD that has sustained mechanical failure, the magnetic coating and the platter may suffer from extreme physical damage. Such HDDs, if kept running, can produce intense heat from the friction between the mechanical parts.
These consequences might cause the HDD to endure degaussing, a process that will result in the complete removal of the magnetic coating. If such a thing happens, performing data recovery will not be possible at all. That’s why we suggest you switch off your HDD immediately at the first sign of a mechanical failure. If you hear unnatural noises or detect an unusual amount of data corruption, then your HDD might have sustained damage. In this case, turn off your computer or unplug your external HDD immediately. The longer you keep a damaged hard drive running, the more data you will lose.
If Data Is Overwritten, Recovery of Data May Not Be Possible
When you delete a file from your computer or an external HDD, it doesn’t get erased from the platter immediately. Usually, the HDD holds the file in its previous place while marking the file’s location as a space available for new data to be recorded. This way, when the HDD gets an opportunity to store a new file, it can use this space to hold new data by overwriting the previous one—the one you deleted from your computer.
But why does the hard drive do that instead of immediately overwriting the file from its platter? Well, the answer is simple. It would cost an absurdly huge amount of electricity and processing power to immediately overwrite the data you have erased from your computer. This would increase the cost to manufacture and use the computers by a considerable margin. Ergo, there is no reason to remove the file from the HDD right away.
However, thanks to this feature, data recovery engineers can make a partial or full recovery of the deleted files. Thus, if you wish to enjoy a full recovery, you should turn off your computer as soon as you delete an important file. The longer you run your computer, the higher the chances of your data being overwritten. Remember, if your HDD writes over data once, you might still be able to recover it. However, if files get overwritten more than once, there will be no hope of getting them back ever again.
Lost Data from an SSD? Performing Data Recovery May Not Be Possible, Either
SSD or solid-state drive works differently from a standard HDD. Unlike HDDs, an SSD usually erases any file you delete from your computer instantly and not only that. There are numerous other reasons data recovery is normally not possible once you delete it from a device with an SSD. In this section, we will discuss four major reasons why it might be impossible to rescue erased data from an SSD.
No Clear Warning Signs Before SSD Failure
When a hard disk drive suffers mechanical failure, you will normally hear unnatural grinding sounds as a warning sign. However, SSDs are made of compact electrical components with no physically moving parts. Consequently, it’s pretty much impossible to notice any warning sign before it suffers a total malfunction. In most cases, people only realize operational failure happened once SSD stops working, and not through sound. Unsurprisingly, by the time people do so, SSD endures irreversible damage, making it impossible to restore its data.
Difficulty in Locating Data in an SSD
In an HDD, the data is normally stored in a fixed location on the magnetic coating of the platter. As a result, when you need to access any particular file, the computer needs to read the data from the same fixed location. In contrast, the data storage process of an SSD is a lot more complex than a typical HDD. In an SSD, the location of a particular data is always changing within its flash chip. With that in mind, locating a certain cluster of data becomes extremely difficult in comparison to an HDD. Therefore, recovering data from the SSD also becomes incomparably harder.
The TRIM Feature
Nowadays, most SSDs come with the TRIM feature that can automatically destroy any data you delete from your device. Whether you have deleted a file intentionally or accidentally, this feature will most likely erase it from the SSD. Without a doubt, recovering data becomes quite tricky under these circumstances.
Lack of Experience and Knowledge of SSD
Although SSD is extremely widespread today, it has only been a few years since it started gaining popularity. Also, the HDD has ruled the data storage market for a long time before people even knew what it was. As a result, data engineers severely lack the systematic knowledge or experience of the SSD. This makes it difficult to find a data rescue company with data engineers specializing in extracting data from SSDs. Naturally, recovering removed data from this storage medium becomes tougher when you add the other three factors we mentioned above.