Data Recovery

A wide variety of failures can cause physical damage to storage media, which may result from human errors and natural disasters. CD-ROMs can have their metallic substrate or dye layer scratched off; hard disks can suffer any of several mechanical failures, such as head crashes and failed motors; tapes can simply break. Physical damage always causes at least some data loss, and in many cases the logical structures of the file system are damaged as well. Any logical damage must be dealt with before files can be salvaged from the failed media. Most physical damage cannot be repaired by end users.

Logical Damage

The term “logical damage” refers to situations in which the error is not a problem in the hardware and requires software-level solutions. Corrupt partitions and file systems, media errors: In some cases, datsa on a hard disk drive can be unreadable due to damage to the partition table or file system, or to (intermittent) media errors. In the majority of these cases, at least a portion of the original data can be recovered by repairing the damaged partition table or file system using specialized data recovery software such as Testdisk; software like dd rescue can image media despite intermittent errors, and image raw data when there is partition table or file system damage. This type of data recovery can be performed by people without expertise in drive hardware, as it requires no special physical equipment or access to platters.Sometimes data can be recovered using relatively simple methods and tools more serious cases can require expert intervention, particularly if parts of files are irrecoverable. Data carving is the recovery of parts of damaged files using knowledge of their structure.