Data recovery is the process of salvaging data from damaged, failed, corrupted, or inaccessible secondary storage media when it cannot be accessed normally. Often the data are being salvaged from storage media such as internal or external hard disk drives, solid-state drives (SSD), USB flash drive, storage tapes, CDs, DVDs, RAID, and other electronics. Recovery may be required due to physical damage to the storage device or logical damage to the file system that prevents it from being mounted by the host operating system.

The most common “data recovery” scenario involves an operating system (OS) failure (typically on a single-disk, single-partition, single-OS system), in which case the goal is simply to copy all wanted files to another disk. This can be easily accomplished using a Live CD, many of which provide a means to mount the system drive and backup disks or removable media, and to move the files from the system disk to the backup media with a file manager or optical disc authoring software. Such cases can often be mitigated by disk partitioning and consistently storing valuable data files (or copies of them) on a different partition from the replaceable OS system files.

It is important to understand the four phases of data recovery. Each phase stands for different level and range of data recovery capabilities, each phase requires different hdd repair tools and data recovery tools to work with and each phase must be treated properly to make sure the maximum data is finally to be recovered.

  • Phase 1: Repair the hard drive
  • Phase 2: Image the drive to a new drive.
  • Phase 3: Logical recovery of files, partition, MBR, and MFT.
  • Phase 4: Repair the damaged files that were retrieved.

Data recovery is usually related to Computer Forensics to find potential evidence for trial or other purposes.