The results of a data loss can vary from a mild annoyance to a catastrophe. It doesn’t matter who you are – a private person, an employee, or a business owner. When it happens at the wrong moment or with the wrong device, it can ruin the results of years of work. Sometimes you have backups, sometimes you don’t, or sometimes it turns out that they are also compromised. However, quite often in a digital world, even big companies don’t pay sufficient attention to data loss prevention. In this case, they have to start thinking about data recovery. Here’s what you should know about it before you start trying to get your data back.
1. Lost files can often be recovered without any problems
Most people believe that once files are deleted, they are lost forever, which is very far from the truth. Perhaps we are misled by the fact that the button on keyboard says “delete,” but even people who have been using computers for years often staunchly believe that “deleted” information is erased without a trace. In reality, even if you emptied out the recycle bin, there is still a very good chance that files in question can be restored – and you don’t even have to send your hard drive to a recovery lab to do so. Quite often, it is enough to use a professional-grade toolkit like R-Studio without even asking specialists for help.
2. There are two types of data loss
Not all data loss is equal. There are two major types of these problems: logical and physical. Logical losses occur when the data is lost because you’ve deleted it, reformatted your hard drive, or for another software reason. Physical problems happen when some electrical or mechanical elements of the hard drive no longer work – for example, your drive malfunctions after a prolonged period of use. Practice shows that the majority of problems are logical ones and can be solved on your own using proper software. Only if the problem is a physical one is it a good idea to send your drive to a recovery laboratory.
3. The ability to recover data is a side effect of Windows’ structure
Historically, the Windows operating system has been built with maximum performance in mind. Programmers looked for ways to increase performance using all possible shortcuts. One such shortcut was the permanent deletion of data. It is possible – but it requires time. Therefore, the information you delete isn’t deleted instantly. Instead, this data is merely no longer associated with any filename and is marked as “free.” As long as you keep using the disc in question, sooner or later it is will be overwritten, but it doesn’t happen right away. Until then, it is possible to restore the data using special tools.
4. Data can be restored not just from hard drives, but also from other types of media
Although functionality depends heavily on the tool in question, normally you can restore deleted information from many types of media, not just conventional hard drives. These include USB drives and digital storage cards.
5. You can increase the likelihood of your files being recovered
If you want to increase the chances that lost data will be successfully recovered, you should limit or outright stop the use of the drive that contained them. The more you use this drive, the greater the chance that the space containing the file you need will be overwritten. It may be inconvenient, but remember that all data-recovery tools that actually work take time analyzing the hard drive. With large drives, deep analysis can take many hours to run. If it takes longer, it doesn’t mean that the process froze; it is just a time-consuming task.
6. Formatting the drive doesn’t erase data
Some people believe that formatting is a surefire way to eliminate information from a drive. Moreover, if you format your drive and run a recovery immediately after, you can expect 100% results. Therefore, if you want to delete something without a trace, formatting isn’t the way to go.
In short, whether you want to recover or delete your data, it’s best not to make assumptions.
For more on protecting your data, see Three Pillars Of Digital Risk Management For SMEs.