Data loss is a horrible experience. I liken it to the idea of losing irreplaceable keepsakes to fire, or natural disaster. The DIY data recovery adventurer, it is fortunate, has access to a wealth of information on-line– assuming that User’s system is not so affected by data loss that he or she is able to use the System for viewing Internet resources. When we lose data– or are about to lose data– such that data recovery must be attempted, it’s at least worth mentioning that data loss can happen across a number of different media. Therefore, the nature of data recovery in one instance, may be quite different from an equally critical data recovery project performed at a separate time.
When I think of a Data Recovery project, I tend to think of issues related to the O/S boot, or at least Hard Drive (HDD) failure, probably because my first experience losing data occurred in that context. I have experienced data loss from Hard Drive media under different conditions, for example as a result of PC Virus infection where the payload targeted a handful of filetypes, based on file extension (i.e. files with an extension, as .doc; .txt; .mp3; etc might have been overwritten, thus rendered useless). I’ve learned that HDD data loss can be invisible, or impossible to miss, as would appear to be complete system loss I experienced due to an operation in progress– 3rd party software was in the process of applying converting a single O/S to a dual O/S boot– was prematurely interrupted, and most recently, when GRUB damaged an NTFS drive in
Remember the Little Guys
We’ve got Terabytes, we’ve got hundreds of Gig’s in Solid-State medium data storage, and we’ve got optical media capable of burning about 9GB of data– that’s about 4x the size of my first Win98 system drive. Ha!– and I never thought I’d fill a whopping two-whole-gigabytes of data. What ever could I possibly of produced, or accumulate, which would require that much storage space. The fact is, I was one of the first in the community to have a cable modem, and shortly thereafter the Napster phenomenon hit, so it didn’t take long for my 2GB giant to become dwarfed, at which time I jumped up to a 20GB, which of course I felt the same about it seeming an infinitesimal amount of available storage.
I want to get back to the topic of data loss because it occurred to me to author this page after spending some time at the Smart Projects software web site, where their award-winning optical media forensics software, IsoBuster, is available for download. I maintain a short list of software which is provided free of charge (i.e. at no cost to the end user), which provides the freeware User with a subset of the greater functionality available to users who purchase a license for “unlocking” the software (i.e. requiring only the registered license data be available to the existing software installation to transform into a more robust utility). IsoBuster is a fine tuned utility for extracting data from CD / DVD media.
Perusing the IsoBuster web site, I noticed an extended list of articles authored by the software developers designed to assist users in a variety of common tasks, including tutorials for extracting various video media, multiple scenarios in which VOB files might be salvaged to re-author a new DVD. The same Tips and Tricks section includes guides targeting Video-CD, aka. VCD media, as common to the 700MB Compact Disc media, where extract presents difficulty, if MPEG video is hidden in an ISO or BIN data.
NTFS HDD Partition Recovery
Having nothing here at NoviceNotes™, while I can speak from experience, I should share some information. (presently out-of-time for writing more, but…). I will include software and recovery procedure specifics detailing the on-going recovery from the aforementioned GRUB mishap. Though Windows is correct in reading some properties of a 750GB drive to have an Extended Partition of approximately 300GB, under which two roughly 150GB Logical partitions reside, it is unable to see the formerly Active, Physical partition encompassing the first few sectors, up to about 340GB where it meets the beginning of the Extended Partition.
The successful software is Partition Guru. Other software did not offer features to recover, or even “see” the Physical partition described. Partition Guru is available at no cost to the end user. I’ll provide more details as I’m able. I believe I obtained P.G., initially, at download.cnet.com. I have no complaints so far.
- IsoBuster – CD & DVD
- Smart Projects, IsoBuster Tips and Tricks. For recovery of optical media, such as DVD and CD
- Partition Guru – Hard Drive media
- View the Partition Guru interface, and get a basic idea of what this powerful freeware can do to help recover data from common system drives. Download the freeware edition there, or browse other options provided by the developer, including an on-line data recovery option.