A Sure Way to Search and Recover Lost Data

PowerSearch technology returns the most complete list of recoverable documents along with their file names, and yields the best ratio of data recoverability.

There are data recovery products on the market, plenty of them. Skipping the marketing pitch and technical details, in the end of the day they all promise to do one single thing: get back those files and documents that you’ve lost for one reason or another. Maybe you have deleted a document accidentally, or experienced a file system failure, or a hard drive crashed. In any case, it had already happened, and you are on the market for a data recovery tool. You don’t care how it works and what it does if it can reunite you with your lost data.

But did you know you may not have much trial and error to do to recover your data? Every time your computer writes something to the disk where your lost data were, your chances of getting it back are becoming thinner. And every time you install a new data recovery product on your computer, the system can or must perform a write operation, making the probability of successful data recovery slim. You are much better off installing just one single product that goes all the way in restoring your data.

How do you choose the right product out of the many offerings? In order to choose the best and the only one, you have to gain some basic understanding of what’s going on under the hood, what and how some of these products do to repair your disk and recover your documents. You don’t need a degree in Computer Science to understand all these things, as they are actually pretty simple.

There are two large classes of data recovery products, which differ in the way of finding your lost files. First and largest class of products deals with the file system, which is a set of records in the beginning of the hard disk that contains the names of the files and folders, and their respective locations on the disk. Did you know that when you delete a file it is not actually erased from the disk, but its record in the file system is simply marked as “deleted”? It is very easy for this kind of recovery programs to scan the file system, find all records that are marked as “deleted”, and simply remove the mark. While in reality not as simple as that, the whole procedure is still fast and may work well if you need to recover a single document or a few files that were deleted just a moment ago.

These products, however, will not be able to do anything in case that you are recovering a crashed hard drive, or if the file system itself is corrupted. If your file has been deleted a while ago, chances are that some of its disk space was taken up by another file on that disk, maybe even by the data recovery product you installed to save that very file!

There is another, smaller group of products that deal with your hard drive directly instead of using the file system. These products usually work slower, are much more complex to use, and are quite expensive. You have to have good understanding of your hard drive and the file structures in order to successfully use these products. And even then, they won’t give you exactly what you want. As they don’t have access to the file system, they can not and do not know anything about the name of the files they are trying to recover. That is why the best you will be getting is a set of randomly named documents, such as file_0001.doc or file_0002.jpg

The new PowerSearch technology invented by DiskInternals combines the strengths of the two methods. First, it scans your file system and learns about the files that were simply deleted. During the next step, it scans your hard drive directly in order to locate files that are not present in the file system. PowerSearch uses a list of file signatures to detect the beginning and end of recognized file types such as Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or JPEG pictures, 113 different types of files in total. This method works rock solid even if your hard drive is 9/10 dead, and its file system is completely non-existent! In that case, PowerSearch will simply scan and recover what’s left of your disk and your data. This is similar to what the second class of data recovery products does.

However, PowerSearch goes one more step. In case that the file system, even corrupted, is still there, PowerSearch synchronizes the results of file system scan with the results obtained by scanning the hard disk directly. This approach returns you the most complete list of recoverable documents along with their file names, and yields the best ratio of recoverability.

The PowerSearch technology is now part of all DiskInternals’ data recovery products. You can download free evaluation copies of these products.

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