Lost data is, at best, a nuisance. At worst, it can be a really serious problem for individuals and, especially, businesses. Much of our most important information is stored digitally – even things with sentimental value such as photos – and when this is lost it can be a huge blow. However, there are a number of different kinds of professional data recovery services that can get this lost data back, and while it is not possible to recover the data in every single case, the success rates can be very good. The kinds of processes that need to be used depend on the way in which the data has been lost and, to some extent, on how difficult it proves to try to get that data back.
If data has been deleted by accident, it is often possible to recover it. In fact, this can be one of the quickest, easiest and therefore most inexpensive forms of data recovery. However, it is strongly advised that you stop using the drive or storage medium that you wish to recover data from as soon as possible – until after the data has been recovered. The more the drive is used, and in particular the more new data is written to that drive, the less likely it is that the lost data will be able to be recovered.
This is because of the way computers work when it comes to deleting and rewriting data. When you delete a file, it will not normally be physically removed from the drive’s storage right away. Rather, it will stop being accessible through normal means and the part of the drive that holds the deleted file will be considered available for when new data is written to the drive. The deleted data is actually removed when something else is saved over that part of the drive, but until this happens, specialist software tools will often be able to access and recover the deleted files.
If a file or an entire drive has become corrupted, this will usually make it essentially inaccessible through normal means. When trying to access corrupted data on your own device, what happens depends on the level and type of corruption, but it will usually not be very useful. You may get something resembling the original file but with lots of problems such as graphical glitches, missing parts or random text characters. You may just get what seems like gibberish, or you may simply get an error message saying that the file or drive is not accessible.
The results of data recovery for corrupted data can be unpredictable, because data corruption itself can be unpredictable in how extensive it is and in how far the data is actually “broken” by the damage caused. Nonetheless, it is often possible for professional data recovery specialists to recover corrupted data either in full or in part. Advanced software tools can repair damaged files and access the data hidden on corrupted drives to get back missing files. Things like the names of the files may be lost in the process, but for many people and businesses this is a far smaller inconvenience than losing the data altogether.
If a drive has been physically damaged or has broken down altogether and stopped working, you might think that the data on it is beyond reach. After all, if a drive is completely dead, then how can it be accessed to get the data back? In fact, it may still be possible to recover this data, especially in the case of standard hard drives.
Often when a hard drive stops working, either after being dropped or because it has broken down on its own, it is the mechanical parts that have really failed. The part that actually holds the data will often be intact. It is a difficult and involved process, but a professional can take this part out and use other equipment to read it and recover the data it holds.