How to Recover Lost Data

by Rod Dunne on January 20, 2011

in Data Recovery

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In this article I’ll show you how to recover lost data using software utilities.  These applications are by no means perfect and cannot guarantee retrieving your files every time so I include details of what problems can affect the search results.

Recommended data recovery software

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

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Step-by-step process

Understanding how to recover lost data is actually quite trivial using software. The process is detailed here and the entire procedure should not take too long, depending on the size of your hard drive for.

  1. Install a data recovery utility. You could try using free applications or a commercial tool like Remo Undelete.
  2. Launch the application and customize the scan you want to do. Most of these applications will permit you to decide what sizes of files and file types you want to search for you is help speed up the process especially on larger disk drives.
  3. Start the scanning process. The application will analyze disk sectors for data clusters on the hard drive memory to identify pieces of files that can be reassembled.
  4. When the scan completes, review the list of found files and clone whichever ones you need onto secondary partition.

Gotchas

Problems can start arising for a number of different reasons. These can affect the amount of files the products are able to identify on your hard drive. Here are some of the usual issues:

  • Disk repair tools: If you are defragmentation of the disk drive or a disk checking utility to repair bad sectors in this may move data clusters around the disk making data recovery of your entire documents more difficult, and sometimes impossible.
  • Disk capacity: if the amount of empty space in your disk is going below 5% then Windows will begin reusing any available space for storing files. This will result in many of your lost or deleted documents being overwritten more rapidly.
  • Passage of time: the longer you leave it before using data recovery tool, the less chance there is the files will still be there. Constant use of the hard drive results in new documents being stored onto disk, potentially overwriting your old files.

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