Data recovery experts can use a variety of hardware and software tools to retrieve your data. In this article, we'll look at a standard process for deleted file recovery.
Recovering deleted files is possible due to the fact that deletion of a document does not clear the hard drive of the original file contents. Files are stored on the disk as data clusters and these are associated with your original file by index references in the file allocation table. Deleting a file will simply alter the file allocation table settings so that the file no longer appears in Windows Explorer and makes the data clusters available for reuse (i.e. for storing new documents).
If there are any viruses or software damage to the PC then the data recovery expert’s first task is to complete any computer maintenance repair tasks. They make an initial analysis of the state of your computer and the probability of being able to retrieve your data in order to quote the cost of retrieval.
This can vary depending on whether they need software tools to retrieve data from the hard drive or will need to do a mechanical recovery (i.e. place the internal hard drive in a reading device/harness to directly read the disk platters).
Software recovery can actually be quite straightforward. The experts will perform a deleted file recovery using a variety of data recovery software. Basic file retrieval tools that are widely available (e.g. freeware tools like Smart Recover or Undelete Plus) may initially be used to scan the hard drive searching for data clusters that can be formed into documents.
If necessary, forensic level data recovery tools may be necessary to identify data shadows of clusters that have been overwritten. If the hard drive was continually used after the file was deleted then there is the possibility that your files were written over by newly stored documents.
All files leave data shadows on the disk which resemble data footprints of various versions of your document, and forensic recovery tools can in many cases recover some or all of your original document.
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