Data File Recovery | Software, Tips And Services

by Rod Dunne on November 15, 2010

in Data Recovery

Data File Recovery - Choosing Software, Tips And Services For Retrieving Lost Documents.
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The big question when considering data file recovery is whether you should attempt the PC repair work yourself and use software to retrieve lost files or whether you should resort to using a professional data recovery service. In this article, we’ll propose in which situations software/services will work best and provide some recommendations for file recovery software and tips on how to use them.

Recommended data file recovery software

The following file retrieval software tools are very effective at recovering deleted, lost, corrupted or formatted data on FAT/NTFS hard drives and many different types of external storage devices (e.g. Flash drives, external hard disks, etc).

  • Remo Undelete: FAT/NTFS support, All Windows OS; Free trial scan.

Remo Undelete | PC Maintenance Software | Click Here For A Free Scan

Windows file recovery: Choosing between software and services

If your PC is in a healthy working state then it should be possible for you to use data file recovery software yourself to attempt retrieval of lost/deleted data. All these programs working is read-only capacity so will not move or change your data on the hard disk (meaning that data recovery services can be used a later stage if need be).

Most applications will be capable of recovering deleted files quite easily especially if they are used promptly after the file has been deleted. Retrieving formatted documents or files that have been overwritten (e.g. due to data cleansing/cleaning) may prove to be more difficult for most applications due to the loss of file allocation table references or lost data clusters. It is still possible however that a data recovery service will be capable of using their forensic software applications to identify fragments of your old files based on data shadows on the disk (i.e. electronic footprints of file fragments/versions).

These tools will be completely ineffective however if there has been any type of mechanical damage to the PC (e.g. the disk has crashed due to a seized components). The general recommendation for any type of mechanical faults to the hard drive is to always seek professional help as any further usage or modifications to the drive could actually cause more damage to the disk platters and potentially lead to data loss.

Try using software yourself when:

  • The PC and hard drive are in a healthy state.
  • Files have been deleted, corrupted or formatted.

Resort to data recovery services when:

  • There is a mechanical fault with the PC (especially the hard disk).
  • When using data recovery software yourself has been unsuccessful for finding overwritten or formatted files.

File recovery software tips

When using data file recovery applications yourself there are a number of important tips to keep in mind:

  • Only install the application in a partition separate from your lost data. This has to be done in order to avoid overwriting your lost files.
  • Any continued usage of the PC before attempting recovery will gradually begin to overwrite your data. Any continued saving of data to the disk will result in deleted/formatted files being gradually overwritten.
  • If your hard drive is reaching full capacity then Windows will automatically start overwriting lost data more rapidly. This is done in order to allocate memory for the page file. Maintain 10% of your disk space free for virtual memory to avoid this happening.
  • Doing a disk defragmentation or repairing bad sectors on the disk (using Windows own tools or similar PC repair software) results in data clusters being moved around the disk or being overwritten, so may actually make it more difficult or impossible for Windows file recovery to be performed.

Tools:

  • Remo Undelete: FAT/NTFS support, All Windows OS; Free trial scan.

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Using the Windows XP recovery disk to repair/reinstall the operating system.

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