Article by: David Wigle
Anyone who has experienced a computer crash or damage to their pc knows it would be great to get it all back. Should data recovery software be purchased?
The scenario is typically one such as this; John (fictional character) is going about his day-to-day life, minding his own business, working away on his computer when suddenly, it crashes. Maybe it was a virus or the motherboard that overheated. Or maybe John dropped his laptop or some other damage occurred which, regardless of what, he now needs to recover the information on his hard drive.
What is Data Recovery?
Wikipedia describes data recovery as “…the process of salvaging data from damaged, failed, corrupted, or inaccessible secondary storage media when it cannot be accessed normally”. To put it more plainly, some something has occurred which resulted in a person not being able to access their electronic device and they now need a way to recover their files. Thus, the actual process of data recovery involves using software and/or an alternate computer to recover files from the damaged computer.
Types of Data Recovery Situations
There are only two types of situations, where a person would need to have their electronic information ‘recovered’.
Internal damage to the device
External damage to the device
Internal damage refers to programs designed to alter the way the computer works. Commonly known as viruses (which can include adware and malware), the purpose of these programs is to disrupt how a computer normally functions. Given enough time, these programs can change file names, paths, directories, links, computer commands and partially or completely delete items, thus resulting in a ‘crash’.
External damage refers to something physical happening to the device. Exposure to heat or liquids (especially anything with sugar) can result in damage to the circuitry. Impact damage from dropping the device, or it being involved in an accident (such as a car accident), which may damage the memory storage unit (memory card or flash drive or hard drive).
Data Recovery: How Does it Work
Depending on the type of damage to the memory of the electronic device, data recovery can be as simple as plugging into a secondary device. For instance, if one were to drop their digital camera, the camera itself may be ruined, but the memory card may be have suffered no damage at all. In that instance, simply plugging the memory card into another device that could read it may be all that is required to retrieve the data. If there is no damage to the memory unit, then there is no need for data recovery software.
If damage has been done to the memory, such as would occur in the instance of a computer virus, then data recovery software is used to retrieve all undamaged files and images. Obviously having an up-to-date anti-virus program provides safety and security from most viruses, but not all. Therefore, keep in mind that viruses are usually time sensitive; the longer the device is turned on, the more damage will be done to the file. Powering off the device halts the progress of the virus and greatly aids in the number of files that can be recovered.
Data Recovery: Is a Data Recovery Program Worth Having
The answer to this question is both yes and no. If there is only one computer in the house, then owning data recovery software will be useless. This is because a second computer is required to ‘recover’ the data from the damaged computer. Also, if damage to the memory unit is a result of physical damage, then a technician may first be required to rebuild the unit before any data recovery can be attempted.
It is worth owning data recovery software if there is more than one computer in the house as paying a technician for their services, which can easily run past $150.00. Rarely ever will two or more computers ‘crash’ at the same time thus one of the computers is able to act as the recovery computer.
Data Recovery Software: It’s Like Insurance
Owning data recovery software is very similar to owning insurance. Having the right insurance for the right circumstance will provide protection in the event of an emergency, but it also depends on each person’s individual point in life. Many people get along just fine but simply investing in an external hard drive and making a habit of backing up their computer files on a monthly basis.
This way, should the computer ever crash, there’s actually no need to recover anything. External hard drives have become very inexpensive and can hold up to 1-2 Terabytes of data. Like all other purchases, it benefits the owner to take their time when deciding whether or not to buy, and then what type is right. Don’t rely on the statements from the software developer, look for independent reviews and customer comments to find out which is right and which is rot.