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Posts Tagged ‘Data Recovery’

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Is Backing up my Data Important?

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Backing Up Your Data

Data Backups Are Essential

Backing up data is a best practice routine that all companies and individuals should undertake. While it doesn't literally prevent data loss it can vastly minimize or even eradicate the negative effects of a data loss incident. Data loss can occur for many different reasons and can range from a mild loss of a single file to complete hard drive failure. If you have recently backed up important data and files then you can be certain that in the event of any potential data loss, no matter how potentially catastrophic, you will always have a recent file and data list to fall back on.


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Increased Computer Use Means Increased Data

The use of computers has become much more widespread. Rather than being a work based phenomenon the majority of households have at least one computer and at least one regular computer user. As well as surfing the Internet the computer can be used to work from home, store personal information, transfer files from devices to a permanent storage device, and more. Digital photography and MP3 players, for instance, regularly require the use of a computer to store the relevant files. This means that even personal computer users stand to lose money and/or personal files and memories if anything untoward does occur.

Minimizing The Negative Impacts Of Data Loss

Preventing hard drive failure and other types of data loss is not entirely possible. An aging hard drive, or one that has become full of files and programs will inevitably suffer from a greater number of corrupt files, accidental deletion of essential software components, and conflicts between different files and different applications. All of these carry the potential to cause data loss. Another area, and one that regular Internet surfers should be more than aware of, is the infection of your system with spyware or other types of malicious software.

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Recovering After Parasite Infection

Spyware and virus infections have also become increasingly common. This is purely because hackers and parasite authors have recognized that more people use their computer to store personal information and surf the Internet. By creating software that can be covertly transmitted via the Internet and can transmit data from one computer to another in the same way, hackers can gain access to an entire system or have certain files and cookies of information forwarded back to them. Digital theft is also a major cause of system errors and, subsequently, the loss of data.

Regular Backups For Regular Computer Users

How often you should back up your data depends, in part, on how often you use your computer and what exactly you store on there. It is highly unlikely that any regular user does not store some vital information that needs to be secured rather than lost. Very regular users should certainly consider a partial backup to CD or DVD on a daily basis. Version archiving means that once a disk reaches a certain age it can be written over again because there is no need to keep the older version of that disk.

Remote And Local Backups

As well as daily local backups it is strongly recommended that your perform some sort of remote backup. For individual users this might be the saving to disk and storage within another premise. For business users and for individual users, though, a weekly online backup is certainly a beneficial move. There are free services and paid services available offering many different features including full automation, unlimited storage space, and more.

Data Backup Conclusion

Backing up data is often critical to the survival of businesses. If something were to happen to a central server or to a computer that included vital customer account information or employee information then it can be incredibly difficult to recover from these types of incident if you do not have some form of backup available. Regular users should consider daily backups to a local source and at least weekly backups to a remote source of storage. This should prevent any major loss of mission critical data.

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What are the Steps for Recovering Lost Data or Files?

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Steps To Effective Data Recovery

The Problems With Data Recovery

Data recovery has long been a chagrin of the average computer user. Many weren't even aware of its possible use in some situations because of the mistaken belief that the delete button actually deletes files. On the other hand, those that did know of its potential benefits in a variety of circumstances were more than aware of its potential expense or difficulty. For a long time it has not been an option that many users would approach with any real intention. However, advances in the technology surrounding data recovery mean that data recovery applications have become more widespread and more affordable.

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Attempting Manual Data Recovery

Manual recovery is, in some cases, possible. Removing the hard drive you wish to recover data from and installing it as a slave drive on another computer gives you greater access to deleted and corrupt files simply using Windows Explorer. However, this will only work in a limited number of cases and it can be a long and extremely tedious and fruitless procedure. In many cases the best option is the use of data recovery software.

Steps To Take Before Recovering Data

Before you begin the data recovery procedure there are some steps that you should take to maximize the chances of a fully recovery. The quicker you act the greater the chance of recovery. This is because while deleted files and corrupt files remain on your hard drive they are often marked as available for overwriting by your operating system. This means that the next time you or your system attempt to write anything to disk you could be writing over the very file you want to recover. Also, a lot of applications use automatic updates and, with a corrupt file, this can actually further compound your misery in some instances.

Stop Working

Stop everything you are doing and close down all applications, especially those that are related with or use the type of file you are looking for. Most applications use an autosave feature that is designed to prevent you from losing data in unforeseen circumstances. While the chances are relatively slim this could mean the saving of information over the file you wish to save. Sometimes, deleted files can be found in temp directories, and good versions of corrupt files can also be found here. Unfortunately, unsaved documents are often also stored here.

Close Down Applications

Close down applications such as email clients and browsers as well as processes such as automatic updaters. Email clients will often automatically save attachments, especially when opened, to a specified location on your computer. If your file has become corrupt because of spyware or viruses then your browser or updater could be further decreasing the possibility of recovering the document you want.

Disconnect From The Internet

Disconnect your computer from the Internet. This is the safest way to prevent any files being downloaded from the Internet and all data recovery applications work better when they are the only application and process running on your machine. Giving the program a clear run at attempting to discover the lost file means that it should take less time to complete its scan and it will not have to work around the files and programs you currently have open on your desktop.

Increasing The Likelihood Of Recovering Lost Data

Running the software as the only open process is always desirable because the software will run more effectively. Data recovery software is extremely effective at what it does but it can not recover items that have already been overwritten in most cases. This is virtually the equivalent of a secure deletion and this method is used because of how difficult it is to retrieve information once it has been overwritten.

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How do I Recover a Lost File if I have the Filename?

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Recover A File By Searching For File Names

Manual Data Recovery Possibilities

Manual data recovery is possible under certain circumstances. By limiting a search to specific file structures and searching for the files you want to recover you may be able to find deleted files. Similarly, if the file you are looking for has been saved in a temp directory or placed in a recycle or trash bin you will be able to search for it and may be successful. However, manually searching for lost files in this way will not yield results every single time or under all circumstances.

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How Windows Deletes Files

Windows operating systems do not completely remove files when they are deleted. The files are marked as deleted and when you or another application next attempts to write data to your system the operating system will consider these files to be available for overwriting. While the “deleted” files have not been overwritten they are potentially recoverable by searching your hard drive using their file names and specific file structure details. However, the best option is not to search while the hard drive is being used as a primary hard drive on your existing computer.

Searching Your Hard Drive From Another Computer

To search manually for deleted files it is better to remove your hard drive and add it to another computer as a slave drive. This drive can then be accessed using Windows Explorer on the other computer. From here it is normally possible to search for deleted files by looking through temp folders, or by searching for a file name or a partial file name. Presuming that the file has not yet been overwritten there is a good chance of locating it. You will need to ensure that you are searching through the entire hard drive including hidden files and folders to get the best results.

Data Recovery Software

Another alternative is to use data recovery software. This software will do all of the hard work for you and costs surprisingly little considering its power and effectiveness. It will not only search for and typically find deleted files but also corrupt files and damaged files. In a lot of cases it can even be used to recover entire partitions or entire hard drives even when they have become completely inaccessible and even when they contain a corrupt operating system.

How The Software Works

Most recovery software will scan the designated location on your system and will report back with any files that could potentially be restored. Using these results you are able to filter and search through to find the very file you want to recover. Once you have found the file you simply need to determine a new location for the file and let the software complete the recovery process. This is a much simpler and often quicker solution than attempting any kind of manual recovery. It is also much more convenient for recovering large amounts of data.

Data Recovery Software Conclusion

If you are trying to restore a single file of data then there are even free applications available that will recover specific types of file such as Word documents or Excel documents. These work in exactly the same way except that a license to use the software costs nothing. Compared to removing a hard drive, adding it to another computer, and then searching using file structure and file name it is much easier and much quicker.

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Issues with Data loss

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Data Loss, Backup, Security, And Recovery

What Is Data Loss?

Data loss is a big issue to businesses and individuals alike, especially those that have suffered data loss incidents. It costs American businesses alone billions of dollars every single year and is one of the biggest causes of a business going bankrupt. To an individual it can mean the loss of personal information and memories including financial information, personal letters, and family photographs. To businesses it can mean the loss of vital financial information, contact details, and ongoing work. Regardless of whether data loss happens to an individual or to a group it can be truly devastating and difficult to recover from.


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Causes Of Data Loss

Data loss is typically caused by damage or erosion of physical hardware, software, or files. Hard drives may be more robust than ever before but they still contain fragile components that are potentially very easily damaged. Similarly, software and personal files can be accidentally deleted or they can become damaged or corrupt over time or through the introduction of spyware or viruses to a vulnerable system.

Prevention Or Cure?

However data loss occurs the end result is usually very damaging. Data loss can, to a large extent, be prevented through the regular creation of backups. While backing up data is not without its flaws and its possible problems it is preferable to the complete loss of information. In those cases where data loss occurs after the most recent backup it is also possible to perform data recovery in order to recover the majority or even the whole of your lost data.

Backing Up Data

Backing up data is a practice that we should become accustomed to because it can help to minimize the impact of data loss. By regularly saving work and files to a source other than your main hard drive it is possible to prepare for almost any instance of data loss. Regularly saving important files to a CD, DVD, or flash drive is both inexpensive and very simple. It's certainly a practice that can be undertaken by any computer user with any level of expertise.

Remote Backup Facilities

However, backing up data to a local source such as a CD that is kept on site is not an ideal long term solution. Another major cause of data loss is fire or natural disaster. If your computer is subject to fire, for example, and you keep your DVD backup on the same desk or even in the same building as your computer then you are likely to lose your backup as well. For this reason it is advised that users routinely make a backup that is kept off site or at a remote location. Online services exist in order to facilitate the simple and quick creation of a remote backup. Alternatively, data storage companies will store tape or other media backups at their own secure location.

Ensuring That Stored Data Is Secure

Whenever we create a backup of data for remote storage one of the most important factors is how secure that data is. Insecure data can be lost or stolen and fall into the wrong hands. It can be used, for example, to gain credit cards or bank accounts in your name or it can even be used for the purpose of identity theft. When using a remote backup it is vital that this service or location be secure.

Ensuring The Security Of Your Data

Most online backup services offer a secure server as the location for your data. Do as much research as possible into the server itself and where the server is located. No matter how secure the server is, in terms of remote access, if it is stored in an insecure environment it will be easy for unauthorized parties to gain access to the information it holds. When using a remote storage facility to store backup data it is also important to ensure that the location is as secure as possible to prevent the loss or theft of data.

Data Recovery Introduction

If the worst does happen and you lose some or all of your data then you will undoubtedly want to recover this data as quickly and painlessly as possible. Many people are surprised to learn that most instances of data loss can be reversed. Physically damaged hard drives can usually be retrieved and the necessary files removed from the source. Similarly, when files are completely deleted (even from the recycle bin on your computer) they can ordinarily be recovered and retrieved back to your computer for further use.

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More Affordable And Accessible Than Ever Before

Data recovery has long been a practice reserved for highly experienced and specialist data recovery experts using expensive software that is difficult to obtain. Fortunately, that is not necessarily the case any longer. Software exists that is not only affordable but incredibly simple to use with many applications using a wizard type interface that Microsoft users will be more than accustomed to. These applications are available online for considerably less than you would pay a data recovery expert and they can be used over and over again.

Data Loss, Backup, And Recovery Summary

Data loss can be a real problem for individuals and for businesses alike. While backing up data is an essential practice it is often overlooked. All users are recommended to perform a CD or DVD backup of important data on a regular basis and users that keep important data on their machine are also recommended to perform a regular remote backup of data in case of fire or other disasters that would make the local storage of a disc backup impotent.

Data recovery is the final tool in the fight against data loss. Affordable and intuitive applications can be downloaded over the Internet and used to restore the vast majority of data that has been lost through whatever cause. It is unusual for data loss to be completely irreversible unless files were securely deleted using software that performs a number of overwrite passes.

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Questions about Data Recovery Applications

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Data Recovery Application Questions

There are a number of different data recovery applications available and while most work in a similar way some applications stand out for the increased functionality that they offer. More specifically, while some applications may only work by scanning your hard drive others will look at external storage devices and other devices attached to your computer. For example, some applications will search and recover data from flash drives or USB keys as well as digital cameras and media storage cards.

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Does The Application Make Changes To My Hard Drive?

One of the most important factors when looking for a data recovery application is to look for one that does not change any of the files or settings on the locations where it searches. One of the ways in which these applications work is to look for files that have been marked as deleted. As soon as a file is altered or a setting on your system is altered it becomes less likely that recovery will be successful.

Most applications do not, by definition, alter the contents of your hard drive or any other storage device. Doing so does not help to recover files in any way. Instead the software will scan your system and locate files that it can retrieve. Once it has located these files it will present you with a list of the results and provide you with the opportunity to save any or all of these files to another location on your computer. During this process it is not necessary to alter the contents of your hard drive at all.

Can I Recover Files From An Emptied Recycle Bin?

When you delete a file on a Microsoft computer the file remains on your system and is marked as being deleted and available for overwriting. Even when you remove a file from the recycle bin this is still how the Windows operating system works with deleted file attempts. This means that even when you believe you have completely removed a file from within the recycle bin it can be retrieved until it is fully overwritten.

Can I Recover Files From A Crashed Hard Drive?

Applications that work independently of the operating system on your computer can be run from disk when you start your machine. By using this option it is actually possible to recover a corrupt operating system and a corrupt hard drive containing your operating system. Using this kind of application means that you do not even need to add the corrupt hard drive to another computer although you may choose to do this in preference.

Can I Recover Files From My USB Key?

Data recovery applications usually work with various different storage devices. As well as computer hard drives this includes USB key drives or flash drives. In order to recover a USB drive ensure that it is plugged into your computer and run the application as normal. When you are prompted to select the location you wish to scan choose the USB key and proceed as normal.

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Common Data Recovery Questions

Download Top Data Recovery Tools

This is about as easy as undeleting a file and recovering lost data can be - Just download the Data Recovery application, click scan and then click recover once you find your desired file, image, email or any document.

Data Recovery Questions

Data recovery applications vary quite significantly in their use and their value. While some applications are designed specifically to work with certain file types or specific devices, others are much more general. While in a lot of applications it is not always desirable to opt for the generic programs it can be the best option in terms of data recovery. Some recovery programs will use very general recovery rules that mean they can recover hundreds of different file formats. In a few cases they will even back this up with specific rules that help the application to recover specific file types that can prove problematic in other instances.

Can I Recover Zip Files With Data Recovery Software?

That said, there are certain cases when specific recovery software works best. Usually this is when you are attempting to deal with formats that are very specific and perhaps rely on complex structures to work. A good example is the zip format. In some respects zip files are more like folders than files. They usually contain a number of different files in a heavily compressed format in order to save space and resources. Because of the unique nature of zip files you may be best looking for a specific zip recovery application.

Can I Recover Photoshop PSD Files With Recovery Software?

Another good example is a PSD file. This is the standard format for Adobe Photoshop files. This type of file uses multiple, complex layers of images in order to achieve the greatest results. This allows for greater editing, altering, and management of files and pictures. While this is great news for the photo editors among us it is not such great news for data recovery. However, some applications are designed in such a way that they can be used to effectively recover PSD files and other complex layered files.

The Right Tool For The Job

The best option, when looking for an application to recover specific file types and file formats, is to either opt for the appropriate software designed for that kind of file or an application that offers a preview. Data recovery previewing generally brings up all files that can be recovered using that application. In many cases if you can view the preview then you can recover the file. This provides you with the opportunity to determine whether the application will be successful or not. Some programs provide a free version that will scan your computer and display the preview results without having to purchase a license.

File Previewing

PSD file previews will show the image belonging to that file. With zip files the possibility for a preview is much more restricted. In these types of cases you are more likely to receive specific details regarding the file in order that you can determine whether that is the file you are looking for and whether it can be properly restored using that application.

Data Recovery Options

Data recovery software has come a long way in a comparatively short space of time. Applications exist that work with hundreds of different file types, and other applications will work with highly complex file structures in order to retrieve difficult files that other applications might not be able to recover. Try to use an application that is designed to recover the specific file you want to retrieve or use one that offers a free software version. The free version will usually show you exactly which files can be recovered.

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