Honey, where did our wedding photos go?! Ask O&O.
While data backup and backup in the cloud are crucial for both private individuals and corporations, there are always gaps or periods between backups where new data is written and stored locally but not yet fully backed up. The previous blog entry from my colleague Olaf Kehrer goes into this in some detail. When this “missed” data is lost – or simply when any data is accidentally deleted or lost due to some malfunction – most people tend to make two false assumptions:
- It is no longer in my recycle bin so it must be lost for good!
- If I did want to recover the data it would cost me a fortune – I’ve read about these so-called “laboratories”!
Let me address those two assumptions in order (by the way, did you know that the word “assumption” made an ass out of umption?!):
- No, the data is not lost for good at all.
- Yes, it is indeed very expensive if you visit one of those labs – but there’s no need!
The expensive variety: “Hardware-based” data recovery
First to the expensive variety, that one we associate with sending off our disks to a laboratory.
If a disk or volume is no longer recognized by BIOS or the disk management, and partitioning tools can not address the disk, then usually the only option left is a data recovery in an appropriate data recovery laboratory. In such laboratories, data from burned or drilled disks is also recovered using appropriate technologies. It is a painstaking process and it not only involves the implementation of high technology, but also the cost of expert time and labor. I cannot tell you exactly what these guys charge but it will have to be relatively high to cover their own running costs.
The costs of such a recovery vary according to the following criteria:
- Type of data volume concerned
- Size of the volume
- Type of damage
- Amount of data concerned
In addition, if data is deleted using tools like our O&O SafeErase 6, then a data recovery in a laboratory will also fail. This tool will truly erase data beyond any chance of recovery, so always double-check before securely erasing your data with programs like ours!
The affordable variety: data recovery with software
Data recovery with the help of software is a viable option in a great many cases and one you can definitely afford. How do I know that? Well ask yourself whether your data is worth between $49 and $99 or not. Generally, even just one or two of your precious family photos or videos are worth that, not to mention your company data! So even if the disk does not boot or the disk no longer shows up in Windows Explorer, this does not spell the end for your data. A no longer bootable operating system is no reason to give up on a data recovery. To perform a data recovery with software, you can boot from a boot disk and carry out the data recovery from there, or install from the disk and connect it to a bootable system.
If you have suffered a loss of data or suspect one, do not turn the power off. Should the system not start, please do not try to restart or even start in Safe Mode, etc., but prepare a boot disk with which you can boot the system without any write access. If the system is still bootable or the loss of data happened on another volume, you can use the data recovery software directly under Windows. Products such as O&O MediaRecovery 8 and O&O DiskRecovery 8 do not just offer the option of rescuing data under Windows without an installation, but also of recovering data direct from a boot medium, such as CD or USB.
Depending on the size of the disk with lost data, the amount of lost data and the performance of the PC a software data recovery can last anything from a few minutes to several hours. For the actual recovery, please have a separate disk or volume handy, as it is not possible, or recommended, to recover data to the boot medium direct.
Finally, a few tips and tricks for a successful rescue
- When a mechanical defect occurs, prior to making a data recovery we recommend making a forensic or direct forensic RAW data Image. The data recovery can then be made direct from the image of your PC using an appropriate recovery program.
- A data recovery is also possible from smart phones and digital cameras etc. especially with the help of O&O MediaRecovery, providing the disk is mounted as a mass storage volume in Windows. It is important here not to turn off the device once you have noticed a loss of data. Please also do not disconnect removable media either.
- Depending on the type of data loss or corruption of the disk, you can achieve very different results when making a data recovery. You should therefore assume that you can restore data, but this need not necessarily be 100% of the lost data. Although the files are often restored, the file attributes (e.g. file names) are not always recoverable.
- Stay calm! This is obviously easier said than done, but it prevents making things worse.
- And so that you have the very best chance of recovering your data, make sure you defragment your files on a regular basis. It has been proven that defragmented files are much easier to recover with success than those files that are still split up across your PC.
So here’s hoping that you won’t have to ask the question “Honey, where did our wedding photos go?” If you can get them back, honey need never know!