How does data recovery work?

data recovery is a process of salvaging (retrieving) inaccessible, lost, corrupted, damaged or formatted data from secondary storage, removable media or files, when the data stored in them cannot be accessed in a normal way


How does data recovery work?

Loss of data in storage devices remains a cause of concern for users and businesses alike. Data is a most critical asset in today’s digital world and any loss of important data can lead to financial, legal, and emotional trouble.

Fortunately, any information stored on a storage media is almost always recoverable. The process of recovery of inaccessible data, due to the device’s logical or physical failure is known as “Data Recovery.”

Let us look at the logical and physical device failures and see the different ways data loss can happen.

Logical failures: Data loss due to accidental data deletion, drive formatting, volume deletion, drive corruption, boot failure, reinstallation of an operating system, etc. comes under logical failure.

Physical failures:Data loss due to bad areas in the physical storage space, connectivity issue, component damage, electronic equipment malfunction, etc. are a few examples of physical failures.

A Data Recovery process scans for lost files in the storage devices and retrieves them successfully. This is how data recovery software works.It recovers data from various storage devices, such as internal storage drive of laptop or desktop, external hard disk drive, solid-state drive, USB flash drive, an optical storage medium (CD/DVD/BD), and memory card (SD, SDHC, SDXC).

Understanding Data Loss

When you delete files from its stored location, you don’t lose them irreversibly. You can find these files in Recycle Bin (Windows) and Trash (Mac) folders. From here, you can easily restore the deleted files to their original locations.

Even if you delete files from Recycle Bin/Trash, the files aren’t lost permanently. These files are still present in your storage medium and can be recovered bydata recovery software. The same applies to other logical and physical data loss situations.

What makes Data Recovery possible?

During the deletion or formatting process, all operating systems are designed to maximize the speed of computing. This means that the OS would remove the references of the deleted files on the existing file system(or recreate a new file system) instead of permanently erasing the files by overwriting them. Overwriting takes more computing resources and time,which is why an OS would do deletion instead of erasure.

So when data in a drive is deleted or formatted, it is not removed from the storage drive. Instead, the data remains intact in the storage medium in an inaccessible state ready to be overwritten by new data. This marooned data can be retrieved by using a data recovery software that uses file signatures to scan the entire storage drive bit by bit.

Why Data Recovery?

Data recovery helps you to preserve your personal and official data. Imagine losing your treasured digital memories like photos, videos, voice recordings, etc. A data recovery tool can help you avoid emotional distress. Or consider losing critical business documents, project files, software, etc. Permanent loss of such information can be devastating to your career. A data recovery tool becomes your ally in such a situation.

Scope and limitations of Data Recovery

It’s not easy to recover data from certain new hardware introduced in the market. E.g. data recovery is not possible in a Solid State Drive, which has TRIM command enabled. The deleted data in such drives is erased permanently. For SSD’s where TRIM is disabled, data recovery is possible. The same applies to external SSDs.

Data recovery can be difficult or impossible when,

1) Data has been overwritten

2) Data is corrupt (it is possible to recover corrupt data in some cases but it is difficult)

3) Data is present in a bad sector of the drive.

How to prevent loss of data?

Prevention is always better than cure, and backing up your data prevents you from permanent data loss.

Creating a backup in an external USB device and regularly updating it is a great data hygiene practice. Another option is to create a backup in the Cloud. You can use Windows OneDrive, iCloud or third-party services such as Dropbox, Zoho, etc. The biggest advantage of having a cloud backup is the flexibility you get to access your data anytime and on any device. Plus, the security of your data becomes the responsibility of the cloud vendor. Cloud backup services are usually paid services, so please compare the prices and features before opting for a plan.

Loss of data can also occur due to virus attacks. Having a good anti-virus software can shield your computer from the virus and help you preserve your valuable data.

To avoid data loss due to power surges, it is advisable to have a UPS..


You can lose your valuable information stored on your storage device at any point in time. There are various scenarios such as accidental deletion, virus attacks, software crashes, physical damage, etc. which can lead to loss of data and lead to emotional distress. To avoid such consequences, you should take regular backup of your data. 



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