Data is the most sacred thing in this age of information technology. A typical computer user's hard drive is populated with several gigabytes of data which may include movies, songs, personal documents, work documents and photos. Disaster strikes sometimes in the form of a computer virus attack or an accidental deletion leading to loss of all data. What can you do in such a situation? Is all that data lost forever? Is there no way of retrieving it? Yes there is.
Data recovery software is precisely designed for the purpose of recovering such lost data easily. If you have used such a program, you will know how they work like magic to find deleted files and restore them. It is natural to be curious about how data recovery software works to retrieve data which appears to be lost completely. Keep reading ahead to know how this miraculous data recovery is engineered.
How Does a Data Recovery Software Program Function?
It has happened with us all. An accidental pressing of the 'Delete' button, followed by emptying of the 'Recycle Bin' or an accidental formatting of the hard drive which wipes out a large chunk of personal data. In such cases, most people think that the data is unrecoverable but it's still there on the hard drive and using a data recovery software you can indeed unearth and recover it.
A hard drive is made up of discs coated with magnetic material. Data is stored by magnetizing sectors on the disc using a read and write head. All data stored on the disk is ordered and distributed over the various sectors of the disk. There is an addressing mechanism which enables the retrieval of data when you ask for it.
When you open up a file on the hard drive, the read and write head accesses the addresses related to that those files and travels over the expanse of the drive to fetch them for you. When you delete data from a hard drive, files that hold addresses to access the data get deleted. The data itself still remains intact on the hard drive, until its overwritten!
Even though it still exists on the hard drive, you won't see it in your files explorer, because of the address file deletion. With that knowledge, understanding how data recovery software works is lot simpler. It's not that your hard drive doesn't have the data anymore, but it has lost the means to recall that data!
What a data recovery software does is, it scans your hard drive for all such data that cannot be directly accessed. What your operating system's file explorer cannot see, is visible to the software. If the data is still intact and not overwritten yet, it can fully recover it for you and store on other device. On the other hand, if it so happens that it has been overwritten, complete recovery cannot be guaranteed. Sometimes, bad sectors need to be repaired, before any files can be retrieved. You can use these programs to recover any kind of lost data from hard drives, as well as flash drives.
Once a mystery has been unraveled and it has lost its aura of impenetrability, it seems so trivial. In case of physical damage to the drive, even these programs are powerless in helping you out. Also in cases where the sectors of a hard drive, where lost data was stored are overwritten, data recovery programs are useless. As a precautionary measure, it is always a good idea to back up your data periodically and create restore points. It can save you from a lot of anguish later.