Why You Need a Hardware Based Solution for Data Recovery

When a hard disk fails and no backup of the data is available, there is almost always a tremendous amount of pressure to recover the lost data. In these types of situations, two main approaches are often used, operating system tools or a hardware based solution.

One of these approaches involves using the tools that come with the operating system. On a Windows system, for example, someone who is trying to repair a corrupt hard disk might use tools such as CHKDSK or FDISK. The other technique that is commonly used involves downloading a third-party data recovery tool and using that tool to try to recover the contents of the failed hard drive.

Both of these techniques have their place. In real world situations, either option can work under the right circumstances. However, both operating system tools and a hardware based solution used incorrectly have the potential to cause further damage and permanent data loss if used.

If a hard disk becomes corrupt, the safest and usually most effective methods for recovering the data is to use a hardware-based recovery solution, such as Data Rescue ONE from Prosoft Engineering.

To see why a hardware based recovery solution is the best option, you must consider what happens when native operating tools or a third-party, software based recovery utility is used.

When a hard disk crashes, that disk is left in an unknown state. In most cases, you won’t know what caused the crash. Was the crash caused by some mechanical issue? Was it caused by malware? Did the disk suffer from some magnetic exposure? It’s hard to say. More importantly, you won’t initially know the extent of the damage.

So with that said, let’s pretend that you are going to use a native operating system tool or some third party tool that you downloaded from the internet to try to recover the lost data.

If you are planning on using an operating system tool, then the operating system must be functional. If the damage has left the system in an unbootable state, then you’re probably going to have to use a different technique (although some operating system tools can be run from the Windows installation media). Similarly, if you’re planning on downloading a data recovery tool, then you will need a computer from which to complete the download process. After downloading the tool, you will need to copy the tool to some bootable media that you can attach or insert into the failed computer and boot from.

For the sake of this example, let’s assume that the operating system is bootable and that you can use your tool of choice, whatever that tool may be. Even though the operating system appears to be functional, you may be causing further damage to the system and reducing your odds of being able to recover data simply by using the computer’s operating system. Remember, you don’t know what caused the problem to occur in the first place. If a mechanical issue was to blame, then using the drive is going to cause additional wear and tear that could result in further data loss. Consequently, it is important to minimize disk access.

Even if a mechanical issue is not to blame, simply booting from the disk can decrease your odds of being able to recover data. The reason for this is that any write operation on the failed disk has the potential to overwrite otherwise recoverable data. Operating systems such as Windows perform numerous write operations during and after the boot process. Data may be written to the Windows pagefile, or to temporary files. Furthermore, most systems are configured so that third party software (such as anti-malware software) loads as a part of the boot process. These types of components have the potential to do irreparable damage to an already corrupt hard disk.

When it comes to data recovery, your best option is to use an entirely hardware based recovery solution. The previously mentioned product from Prosoft Engineering, for example, is hardware based and, therefore, works independently of the computer’s operating system. A hardware-based recovery solution can work even if the computer’s operating system has been rendered unbootable. Likewise, because the computer is not booting from its operating system, you are minimizing wear and tear on the hard disk and are eliminating the possibility that OS-level write operations will overwrite otherwise recoverable data.

There are lots of data recovery products on the market that are designed to boot from external media. Typically, such products use USB flash drives or DVDs. Data Rescue One exists on an external hard disk, and that provides one extremely important advantage over competing products.

Remember, when a hard disk fails, you don’t usually know what caused the failure or if further degradation of the data is likely. As such, any recoverable data needs to be moved off of the hard disk as quickly as possible. USB and DVD based recovery solutions may be able to perform in place recoveries, but cannot usually act as a repository for large quantities of recovered data due to their limited capacities. Because Data Rescue One is hard disk based, however, it has the ability to store a copy of any data that is recovered. That way, the data can be moved safely off of the drive before any more damage can occur.