The Most Stubborn Data Recovery Myths Busted

Illustration for article titled The Most Stubborn Data Recovery Myths Bustedem/em

When experiencing data loss, most of us immediately jump into the panic mode: we begin to nervously surf the Web in search for a lifesaving piece of advice or just call someone from the contacts list desperately begging for help. Sure thing, it’s quite natural to freak out realizing that your precious files have just vanished in a heartbeat, but the problem is that our fear often makes us gullible and ready to try practically anything in fervent hope to set things right. Unfortunately, some of the tips you may read or hear are nothing more than pure fallacies that may not only fail to save your neck but are also likely to cause further damage to the missing files, making the process of their retrieval much more complicated and pricey, or, in the worst case, even result in their permanent loss. That’s why it’s about the time we put an end to the most persistent myths surrounding this topic.


Myth 1: Only professionals who have the necessary equipment and expertise can restore your data.

In fact, this statement is neither lie nor truth. The matter is that data loss situations vary, so if money is not burning a hole in your pocket, before rushing to a specialized laboratory, it won’t hurt to analyze what really happened to your files.


If the storage medium they were located on was physically damaged (for instance you threw your external HDD at the wall because it contained a picture of ex, accidentally spilled some Coke on your USB stick and so on and so forth), it is no longer recognized by disk management or produces bizarre noises, it is very likely that your data became inaccessible owing to the failure of a certain physical component, therefore, to regain access to the needed information that component probably has to be repaired. In such cases, only an expert can estimate the extent of damage and possibly retrieve your files or at least some of them.

However, logical failures wreak havoc with people’s files even more often than physical ones. These include software malfunctions, problems with the operating system, malware infections, the corruption of file system structures and similar issues. The loss of files caused by one of the mentioned factors, as a rule, can be easily handled with the help of a special data recovery utility, which is a much cheaper and less pain-in-the-neck option than hiring professional services.


Another typical mishap is when necessary files get erroneously deleted or the formatting function is applied to the medium by some unfortunate mistake. This kind of data loss is also something do-it-yourself data recovery software will cope with, but only on the condition that you react swiftly, as waiting for long usually results in irreversible overwriting of the information stored.

Myth 2: Lost data can always be recovered.

Data recovery is just like our life – very unpredictable. It’s always about probability, as too many factors influence the likelihood of a successful outcome. Sad to say, but there are lots of cases when you have no choice but live with the fact that the files are simply gone, especially if they were overwritten. No one can really guarantee that all of your data will be fully restored, and those who claim a 100% success result are presumably holding something back.


Myth 3: Keeping a backup copy makes you fully protected from the loss of important files.

Despite seeming quite reasonable, unfortunately, this claim has little to do with reality. Indeed, backups really help us to sleep better at night and having a backup is certainly much better than not having one, but, sadly, you cannot totally rely on them. External storage devices they are often kept on are far from being foolproof and often fail at the most inconvenient moment, especially during the process of writing when the load on them increases significantly. Moreover, like any digital information, backups are prone to getting silently corrupted, and as a rule, the scale of the disaster becomes apparent only when certain files that were supposed to be in the copy are urgently needed for data recovery. In addition, a backup software tool may also be imperfect, and even a minor bug within it may lead to some precious file simply failing to get a copy. But even if you decide to use an online storage service, you are still not safe from your own erroneous actions, particularly if you have to pick files manually and upload them to the cloud. These are just a few examples, and of course, there are various backup strategies, some of them are more trustworthy than the others, but the sad truth is that if you don’t want to spend a lifetime creating numerous copies of all those gigs of information you store and constantly keep them up-to-date, be ready that pesky data loss may come on you one day.


Myth 4: One can try using an app which will repair file structures and bring the data back to life.

It’s hard to know where this incredibly indelible misbelief came from, but one can say for sure: a disk repair tool is certainly not a remedy for all storage-related problems. Employing such a utility won’t help to recover your files, and on top of that, it is likely to add insult to injury: their attempts to fix the logic of the file system and bring it to the consistent and coherent state generally result in overwriting the data which has been lost, making it irretrievable. What is more, running those tools on a dying drive may cause it to kick the bucket even more quickly.


Myth 5: It’s a good idea to open the drive and see whether you can fix the components.

As has already been mentioned, only a specialist can perform data recovery in the cases of physical damage of a storage device, therefore, it will be much better for your files if you resist the temptation and keep your hands off the drive’s internals, unless you exactly know what you are doing – at least you will give your data a chance to survive. You may not only unintentionally harm its mechanics but will also expose it to the injurious dust and dirt. And just for the record, you cannot create a clean room in your own bathroom.


Myth 6: Hitting, freezing or heating a dead storage device will miraculously make it work again.

This is probably one of the oldest fairy stories related to data recovery, but that doesn’t make it any less absurd – by causing further physical damage (this includes brute force, extreme temperatures and moisture) to the drive you are far more likely to completely destroy it than fix anything. Thus, don’t try to fan the flames, as the consequences of such “careful repair work” may appear to be disastrous for the data it contains.


Myth 7: The manufacturer is always best qualified to recover data from their own storage devices.

Hardware manufacturers are usually not specialized in data recovery. In some cases, you can turn to them to have your drive repaired or just replaced with a new one, but that doesn’t mean that it will contain your files.


As you can see, when it comes to data recovery, it may hard to tell the fact from fiction which sometimes leads to off-target actions. So, be careful, check everything twice and never fall for the described data recovery misconceptions.

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