Despite storage devices’ increasing reliability, digital information loss is still quite common. Common causes of file loss include human errors, software failures (such as computer viruses), power outages, and hardware failures. Fortunately, information stored on digital media is almost always recoverable. The following article explains data recovery and outlines the most common data loss problems and ways to fix them.
What is data recovery?
Data recovery can be defined as obtaining information in a storage device that cannot be accessed by standard means due to its previous deletion or some damage to the digital medium. Different approaches are used to recover lost files, but only because their content is in the memory. For example, data recovery does not cover situations where a file was never written to permanent storage, such as documents that were created but could not be saved to the hard drive due to an outage of current. Also, none of the existing recovery methods can handle the cases of permanent deletion when other data takes up storage space; under such circumstances, lost files can only be recovered from an external backup.
Data recovery techniques generally fall into two types: software-based and those that involve repairing or replacing damaged hardware components in a lab environment. In most cases, a software-based approach is employed. It consists of the use of specialized utilities capable of interpreting the logical structure of the problem file, reading the required data, and delivering it to the user in a usable form for a subsequent copy. Specialists carry out physical repairs in the most serious cases, such as when some mechanical or electrical parts of the unit no longer work properly; in this case, all measures are aimed at a one-time extraction of critical content without the possibility of continued use of the affected device.
The most typical cases of data loss
In general, the overall success of a data recovery procedure largely depends on choosing the correct method for recovery and implementing it promptly. That is why it is very important to understand the nature of the particular leak instance and know what can be done in each scenario. Conversely, wrong actions can lead to the irreversible destruction of information.
The most common causes of data loss include:
Accidental deletion of files or folders
Each file system acts differently when deleting a file. For example, on Windows, the FAT file system marks file directory entries as “unused” and destroys file allocation information (except for the beginning of the file); on NTFS, only the file entry is marked as “unused,” the record is removed from the directory, and the disk space is also celebrated as “unused”; most Linux/Unix file systems destroy the file descriptor (information about file location, file type, file size, etc.) and mark the disk space as “free.”
The main purpose of deleting files is to free up storage space used by the file to store a new file. For performance reasons, the storage space is not cleared immediately, which causes the actual contents of the file to remain on disk until this storage space is reused to save a new file.
Formatting the file system
File system formatting can be initiated by mistake, for example, by specifying an incorrect disk partition or due to poor storage management (for example, NAS devices often format internal storage after an attempt to RAID reconfiguration). The format procedure creates empty file system structures in the storage and overwrites all subsequent data. If the new and old file system types match, it destroys the existing file system structures by overwriting them with the new ones; if the file system types differ, the designs are written to different locations and can erase user content.
Logical damage to the file system
Modern file systems have a high level of protection against internal errors but are often defenseless against hardware or software failure. Even a small piece of bad content written to the wrong location in storage can destroy file system structures, break links to file system objects, and make the file system unreadable.
Loss of information on a partition
This error can occur due to a failed disk operation or user error, which usually results in losing information about a partition’s location and size.
Suppose you suspect a physical problem with the storage (for example, the device won’t boot, makes unusual noises, gets hot, has trouble reading, etc.). In that case, we do not recommend doing any data review.
How does data recovery software work?
Information left in memory intact can usually be recovered without the help of a professional using specialized data software. However, it is important to note that no data can be retrieved after overwriting it. Because of this, nothing needs to be written to the archive until the last file is retrieved. Most data recovery utilities work using metadata analysis algorithms, the raw recovery method based on known file contents, or a combination of the two approaches.
If you need data recovery services to recover your lost data, then Sky Computer Solutions is the best solution for all your problems.