Data recovery is the process of salvaging data from secondary storage media that cannot be accessed normally due to damage, failure, corruption, or inaccessibility. Frequently, data are retrieved from storage media including hard disk drives, storage tapes, CDs, DVDs, RAID, and other electronic devices. Physical damage to the storage device or logical damage to the file system that prevents it from being mounted by the host operating system may necessitate recovery.
The most frequent “data recovery” issue involves an operating system (OS) failure (typically on a single-disk, single-partition, single-OS system), with the objective being to simply copy all desired files to another disk. The majority of Live CDs provide the ability to 1) mount the system drive, 2) mount and backup disk or media drives, and 3) transfer files from the system to the backup using a file manager or optical disc authoring software. In addition, such instances can be mitigated by partitioning the disk and routinely separating the replaceable OS system files from the valuable data files.
The second type involves a disk-level failure, such as a compromised file system, disk partition, or hard disk failure, in which the data is inaccessible. Depending on the situation, solutions include repairing the file system, partition table, or master boot record (MBR), or hard disk recovery techniques ranging from software-based data recovery to hardware replacement on a physically damaged disk. These last two typically indicate a permanent disk failure; therefore, “recovery” refers to a sufficient repair for a one-time file recovery.
A third type entails the retrieval of “deleted” files from a storage medium, as the files are typically not actually erased but are merely removed from the directory listings.
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