John Galea's Blog

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Oh no … I deleted that file :) Crap!

There are only two types of people in the world, those that have lost data and those that will. Sadly sometimes the error is ours. I have a gathering of technocrats that I have lunch with most days. When they were done having a good laugh at my expense, and I endured comments like PBKAC (problem between keyboard and chair), ID10T (idiot) and my line … you have a mirror problem … (the problem is in the mirror) we got down to solving the problem. I discovered some things I thought I would pass along. The problem at hand, I deleted a very large file on Windows I REALLY needed. DOH.

First and foremost from the moment you realize the delete error do not write anything to the drive. This can over write the file you are hoping to recover. If it’s your primary drive take it offline.

Undelete tools have existed for a long time and count on the fact that a delete just flips a bit in the FAT table. These type of tools can be somewhat successful. But when they are not you are left looking for alternatives. I got a $$ quote from a data recovery company, but they are use to dealing with corporations and the price was impractical for a consumer IMHO.

There is a whole category of undelete programs that work in a very special way. They search for the file headers looking for known patterns. They search the entire drive so can take a long time. Since they are looking in the header of the file they only support certain file types. So you need to look at the file you are trying to recover and see if the tools supports the file type you are looking for.

When it comes to recovery you really want to recover it to an alternate location. That way you can try multiple different programs and have the best possible chance of recovering your files.

In the end I used Rene Undelete which was able to recover enough for me to get what I needed. They have an excellent return policy if it doesn’t work for you as well as a demo version that will show you what it can recover before you have spent a dime.

Learn from my mistakes, first and foremost keep backups. And be sure and keep them on a separate drive from the data you are backing up. If you can, have them even on a different machine. Consider off site cloud backups for your most critical files (to protect against theft and fire/flood etc), but be aware of the privacy issues of having your files stored somewhere else in the world. Maybe encrypt them before putting them in the cloud. If you have pictures think how you would feel if the hard drive you store them on (or heaven forbid, the data card if you haven’t off loaded them) died and you lost it all? Laptops get stolen, broken, dropper and their drives die long before desktop ones. Think about all this and plan accordingly! I use Paragon for my laptop backups!

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February 27, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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