What is Data Recovery?

Data recovery is a process of data extraction from damaged, encrypted or otherwise inaccessible secondary media for data storage. Most often, the data recovery is performed on hard drives, RAID systems, solid-state drives, USB flash drives and other storage devices. Data recovery is required when a user is unable to read the data stored on a computer.

The majority of data recovery cases are related to problems within the operating system (OS). In those cases data recovery requires simply cloning the disk to another drive.

A more complicated, yet common, data recovery issue is inaccessibility of data due to logical problems on a partition or file system (logical malfunction). Recovery in cases with a logical malfunction can be performed in 3 different way’s with a common goal of creating a temporary and stable state to allow a reconstruction of the file tree that is consistent with the file system used.

Cases occur where it is necessary to save deleted data. In most cases, this data is still on the media, but was deleted from a tree or file system root. In cases with deleted data where the media was actively used often results in only a partial recovery.  This is dependent on the size of the file and manner used.

Data recovery is also performed on disks with mechanical failure. Replacing the necessary parts requires specialized tools and require skill and precision.  Often these repairs must be made in a specially designed, clean area. Repair operations may include firmware modifications and/or other corrections.

The most difficult cases, related to data loss, occur in big systems.  These systems include multiple separate media’s, commonly found in enterprise or server hard drives.  The media is connected in an array, known as a RAID. Data recovery from RAID arrays where data loss is the result of natural disasters or human error further complicate these cases this can only be done by skilled experts with knowledge and experience.

Data recovery from USB and solid state drives requires special software algorithms, which are applied to previously formed chip images.

In computer forensics, data recovery methods are applied to extract digital evidence. Specialist knowledge is required in order to accurately decrypt or decipher the data.

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