Data Recovery: Engineers vs. Software, Part 2: Page 2

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Understanding the details of these various methods of storing data is what an experienced engineer brings to each job. Whether the file system is enterprise-level handling millions of files or something as simple as a floppy diskette, using the File Allocation Table (FAT) file system, experienced recovery engineers understand the principles of data storage and organization.

For instance, in the FAT file system, there are many structures that define a volume and point to data. If just one byte changes on any of these definitions, the data will not be accessible. The directory system is another clearly defined structure that holds the names of folders and files. If this area is damaged ever so slightly, the names will not correspond to the data. Other file systems, such as Linux (EXT, XFS, JFS), Netware (Traditional, NSS), and Windows (NTFS), are unique in how data is organized through out the storage media.

The expertise required for data recovery is more than just running automated software. In your IT organization, it may not be possible to staff engineers with the background needed to provide quality recoveries. This is when employing a reputable data recovery service is crucial.

The Goals of Quality Data Recovery

The two disciplines of data recovery are engineers who specialize in electro-mechanics and work in a cleanroom, and engineers who work in the lab and specialize in file system structure repair. Top recovery providers hold these two disciplines separate and develop the engineers to become experts in their fields. This approach has allowed the engineering staff to concentrate fully on challenging recoveries. Data recovery is a science. Quality recoveries come by thorough investigation and observation, developing recovering strategies, testing those strategies, and verifying the data.

Automated software utilities have their place in providing solutions for simple data loss situations. When using these utilities, the files should always be tested before releasing the user’s data. If the quality of the recovered data is not usable, then turning to a professional data recovery service with experience would be in the best interest of the user or client. After all, what are the goals of true data recovery? To get back the original file data.


Microsoft Scandisk for the Win 9.x/ME operating system - Link

Microsoft CHKDSK for the Windows XP operating systems - Link

Novell Netware VREPAIR - Link

Novell Netware NSS rebuild - Link

Unix-Sun; FSCK usage - Link

Unix-IBM AIX FSCK usage - Link

Linux SuSE FSCK usage - Link

Linux RedHat FSCK usage - Link

Apple Mac Disk First Aid - Link 1, Link 2

About the Author: Sean Barry is the remote data recovery manager for North America at Ontrack Data Recovery. He joined Ontrack Data Recovery, a subsidiary of Kroll, in 1997.

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