Lost Data Recovery: What Are the Chances?

Computer data loss is an everyday problem, but the consequences can be quite devastating. It’s not just about photographs and saved game data any more. Most of us use our computers for storage of documents which used to be the reserve of the metal filing cabinet.

Ironically, while many of us now prefer to store our important documents electronically, we actually put them more at risk by doing so. Whereas it would take a serious natural or man-made catastrophe to actually cause the loss of paper documents, a simple human mistake can have us wishing there was no such thing as a delete function on our computers. Hardware or software malfunctions, human error and power cuts or surges can make a mockery of what we think of as secure document storage.

Fortunately though, when you do suffer a loss of data that you haven’t backed up, more often than not with a little know-how, you can carry out data recovery. Professionals who offer hard drive data recovery in New Jersey see many customers through their doors, yet often they only need to give a little helpful advice. The situations in which your hard drive might need the full clean room professional data recovery service are thankfully quite rare.

Here then are a few of the most common data recovery situations and a little of that know-how to save you from frantically dialing the first New Jersey data recovery service you can find.

Inadvertent File or Folder Deletion

Different computer operating systems deal with file deletion in different ways. In the Windows FAT file system for example, file directory entries are marked as unused and the file allocation information is destroyed. In an NTFS file system, the file directory entries are marked as unused, the file records are deleted from the directory and the disk space occupied by the deleted files is also marked as unused. In a Linux or Unix system the file descriptors are destroyed and the disk space is set as “free”.

Regardless of which filing system your computer uses, when you delete a file the space that it occupied is not immediately overwritten. So if you can carry out data recovery measures before the space gets overwritten with new data you should successfully get your deleted file back. Remember though, if that space gets overwritten your deleted file is lost forever. As soon as you realize that you’ve deleted a file, you should stop any work on your computer. Then you can either use file recovery software to undelete your data or take your computer to an expert for help.

Taking your computer to a professional is strongly recommended if the files you’ve deleted are very important. There is a good reason for this. Any action you take with your computer carries a risk of overwriting the space where your files existed. If you don’t already have data recovery software loaded on your computer for example, the act of downloading software or loading it from a disk can itself overwrite the free space.

Accidental File System Format

If you’re unfortunate enough to accidentally start a file system format, for example by specifying a wrong disk partition, you can be in a bit more trouble than with a simple file deletion. The formatting process will create an empty file system structure on your drive and overwrite any information that’s below it. This will most likely result in the destruction of your files, in which case your data is gone for good. Some of the best data recovery software applications may be able to retrieve some of your data. However this software would also be an expensive purchase with no guarantee of success.

Your best course of action would be to take your computer or drive to a reputable data recovery service. They will at least be able to tell you if any data recovery is possible.

Logical Damage

Logical damage is most often caused by power failure, or hardware malfunction, in less common cases, software failure can also cause logical damage. The result is that some small pieces of data get written to a wrong location. This can result in some parts of the file system becoming unreadable. Your chances of data recovery will depend a lot on the level of the logical damage. There is quite a high possibility that you can successfully use data recovery software to retrieve at least some of your damaged files.

Loss of Partition Information

This kind of damage can be caused by user error or failed fdisk operation and results in your computer losing information about partition sizes and locations. In most cases of partition information loss, a good data recovery application will get all your files back in perfect order.

Physical Storage Device Failure

If your disk drive just won’t start, makes strange noises or increasingly fails to read data, it’s probable that there is a mechanical problem with the device. The best thing to do in this case is to shut down your computer as soon as you are aware of the problem. Don’t try to do any DIY fixes, just take your computer to one of the data recovery services in NJ or wherever you happen to live.

Overwritten Data is Impossible to Recover

If you have lost files and they have been overwritten, it can be tempting to fall for offers of assistance. However these claims will be false and no self-respecting computer repair shop will make a claim of this kind. If your hard drive is damaged by fire, flood or just mishandling, you can get help with Windows or Mac hard drive recovery in New Jersey. It’s amazing what these experts can do with a badly damaged drive. If your data has simply been overwritten though, don’t believe the myth that recovery will be possible – It won’t.

At Dave’s Computers, we believe in bringing you honest information to help you with computer repair and data recovery. We update our blog daily with new topics and advice so we hope you will visit regularly. For more in-depth information about a specific computer repair or data recovery topic, feel free to give us a call on 908-428-9558.

by David Molnar

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