Data Recovery

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Data Recovery How - To Guide By The Experts
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We've moved from an age where our most important documents are no longer stored on the hand written or even the computer printed page. Now they are stored digitally on our computer's memory or hard drive. This ends a paper trail but brings a new problem to the fore. Losing our data files!

Things can happen. Computers can crash, hard drives fry, the power goes out for a moment, we accidentally hit the "close" button on our word processor, the delete button and the list goes on. Knowing how to handle these situations can save us a big headache.

The first solution is prevention. Do you make backups of your important files? This can be done with a zip drive, CD, DVD or networked computer station. Taking just a few moments to backup those key files can be the easiest protection for data recovery. Make sure you keep those backed up files in a safe place.

If you are concerned about power outages you can always invest in a small UPS battery backup. Just plug your computer into it. It will save you from those flickers in the power grid that cause you to lose your work.

Solutions for data recovery can also come in the form of software. Some of Microsoft's office applications have built-in data recovery tools. These are easy to use and automated. By simply restarting the application you were using it will sense that the computer has data files that were not saved properly. Those tools have saved me in quick pinches.

I definitely recommend that a good data recovery software be present on every computer. Here is an easy and simple tool for your computer:

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Posted In Data Recovery. @ 6:10 AM  
Data Recovery - No Need If You Have A Proper Backup
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back up is a bread and butter question, put simply if you don?t back up you could end up out of business. Yet many people choose to ignore it, despite understanding the risk of losing everything, because it?s easy to do so.

Even a good backup policy is no good if it is forgotten or not properly carried out.

Yet no-one forgets to lock the office door or close the windows. When you?re working with any kind of technology things do go wrong, break down and important data can get lost, which is why online backup offers a realistic alternative.

When looking at online backup most businesses would see extra costs. That?s undeniable but there is a much higher cost to data loss. What?s more, they argue, traditional backup options are just as good and at a more manageable cost. Agreed but there are associated risks; tapes can wear out, CDs/DVDs may not store the data properly or get corrupted. Most importantly someone has to remember to do them and verify that they have worked.

This is the attraction of online backup; things don?t get lost or forgotten.

What is it?

Online backup is a facility where you can store your most important data files on a secure server, offsite. Many vendors will also provide mirror copies so that there is always a backup to the backup.

The main idea of online backup is that is used it to store important data so that if there is a disaster that data can be easily recovered.

Online backup is charged at a monthly rate ? based on how much you store. Data storage space, depending on the vendor, is either compressed or uncompressed. Because spreadsheets and other documents can compress substantially this allows you to store more data online for the cost of that space.

How does it work?

With online backup it?s usually done with the use of vendor-supplied software. Online backup software and providers build extra safeguards into their systems. Once an online backup account is set up the account is encrypted using a key created by the user. This is fundamental to the system. Lose or forget this key and no-one can recover the files. After that it?s just a matter of choosing what files to store and determining a schedule that suits you best.

Why use it?

Online backup does not fail and is not subject to human frailties. Every piece of data sent for storage is verified before it is stored. This means comparing what has been received with what has been sent. It also means that there is no corrupt data in the backup. Backup vendors typically make two copies of the data as it is being backed up, with the same checks, so that there is a backup of the backup.

What about security?

Data storage centres have a lot of anonymous data. That anonymous data is encrypted. They have no idea who you are personally. They can identify that a particular account exists on a particular server but apart from that no-one can access the data except the user. This is why the key is so important. The key that only you know allows you to backup and recover the data. All vendors are also subject to Data Protection laws. Data that is not backed up on your server is more at risk.

Online backup works well and is used by many businesses. It can provide a cost-effective secure backup solution.

Be safe back up!

This article is based on a blog entry by Ken O?Brien on the Spear IT website ( Ken O?Brien is the owner of Spear IT, a computer services company based in Drogheda, Ireland, which offers a range of managed services including online backup, with compressed data storage.

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Posted In Data Recovery. @ 5:50 AM  
Essential Tips For Backups, Data Safety - Avoiding Data Recovery

Backup, backup, backups!

If there's one thing I've learned in 20 years and 12,000 data recoveries, it's that everybody doesn't back up their data sometimes. Computers may be dumb, but they know when you don't have your data backed up - because THAT's when they break. Don't let your computer fool you - back up new data daily.

It's important that you keep two alternating backups, and an additional spare piece of media. This means to have one disk (or tape, or thumb drive) labeled "EVEN" (for even-numbered days, one labeled "ODD" and one spare. Eventually, something will go wrong with a backup. For example, if an error occurs on an "EVEN" day, and you put in your "ODD" backup, you may ruin both. Instead, put in the spare. If there is a problem, you've saved your extra backup (from the day before yesterday) and have not wasted all your hard work. If there is no problem, and it was only a temporary glitch, then put your spare back on the shelf, reformat the "EVEN", and carry on with your backup.

What's the best thing to make a backup on?

There are a lot of ways to back up your data. Most new computers come with CD-R, or CD-RW drives. Most PCs still come with floppy disk drives (and you can get one for a Mac). There are Zip drives, tape drives, USB "thumb" drives, and more. My current favorites are External FireWire or USB 2 drives, and CD-R for full backups, and USB thumb drives for smaller amounts of data.

There are quite a few external drives on the market today and if you have a computer that's less than three years old, you probably have the ports for hooking these up. They usually come with backup software as well. As of this writing, the drives are mostly under $200. Once installed, it's a good idea to leave these drives off except when backing up. That way, a power spike or other environmental event that may destroy data on your hard disk will be unlikely to damage the external hard disk.

For CD-RW drives, I recommend using CD-R media only, as it's too easy to overwrite a previous backup using a CD-RW disk. This is a good form of backup for large amounts of data (they hold more than 650 MB), and each disk is inexpensive. But it leaves you with a lot of plastic disks sitting around. That's why I typically use them only for large backups. Heat, bending, and scratching are the enemies of CD disks. Incidentally, while it's hard to do CD-ROM recovery, it is possible to recover CDs that are damaged.

Zip drives come in sizes from 100 MB to 750 MB and cost from $60 to $200, while additional disks cost around $10 each. These are sensitive to dust, shock, too much heat, and big magnets. Remember to alternate backups with Zip disks as a damaged Zip drive can damage a Zip disk. Zip disk recovery is possible, but tends to be less successful than recovering other media.

Floppy diskettes don't hold very much (1.4 MB), but cost a few cents, and are easy to carry around. Almost all PCs have them, and quite a few Macs do. Floppies are sensitive to heat, magnetic fields, dust, bending and other rough handling.

Tape drives should only be used for very large amounts of data. They are relatively expensive and slow. They're great on large networks for after-hours backups, but they're easily damaged. Tape recovery is difficult and expensive.

I am an unabashed fan of USB thumb drives! These are actually memory sticks with a USB plug on the end that act like portable hard disks. They are sturdy - I accidentally let one go through the wash in my shirt pocket. After it dried out, it still had my data on it (don't try this at home)! While we've been successful performing USB data recovery, in this case, it wasn't even necessary! They come in sizes from 64 MB to more than 2 GB. They can be shared and used on PCs and Macs without reformatting. You can buy one at a local computer or electronics store for $35-$150.

What's the alternative to backing up your data? Well, as every drive eventually fails, it's pricey data recovery or data loss, which can be devastating

Be safe. Back up your data.

Steve Burgess is the president of data recovery worldwide. As a founder of the data recover industry in 1984, Mr. Burgess has trained leading recovery companies and performed recovery work on more than 15,000 hard drives and other media. Burgess also writes and is a highly regarded computer forensics expert.

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Posted In Data Recovery. @ 5:43 AM  
Data Loss and Recovery- Devising a Backup Workflow
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

With so many data recovery software options to choose from, it is easy for one to be lulled into a false sense of security- that if needed one will be able to find the perfect data recovery software that will return their PC back to its original state. Further to this, that your backups will be the fallback if all else fails. Without devising a backup strategy or ?backup workflow? within your business, it will be near impossible to trace which material is which when disaster strikes.

Up to 70% of businesses which suffer considerable damage due to data loss go out of business within the next year. Don?t add your business to this statistic, start designing a ?backup workflow? today. A backup workflow is simply a graphical (or text) based representation of the backup process within your business. This could be created using your basic database software such as Microsoft Access. Some at this point might be saying that their software comes equipped with such capabilities- however when a business incorporates many different forms of backup within their strategy i.e. hard drive backups, tape backups, off-site backups, it becomes very difficult to monitor and remain on top of it.

It is crucial for your backup workflow document to be universal, able to be accessed securely by all members of your business, and of course for the document to be backed-up as well! Dedicate one member of staff to overseeing and ensuring that the workflow document is kept up to date- it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. If multiple copies of your backup workflow document become dispersed and ?moved around?, it will be as good as useless in the case of a data loss event. If such a workflow is implemented and maintained, then in the event a PC within your business suffers from data loss it will be far easier to trace a possible solution.

Devising a backup workflow within your business will ensure that you have an analysis of your backup history- allowing you to trace the lost information more efficiently. Further to this, the information a backup workflow provides will be invaluable to a data recovery specialist, which will hopefully be your last your last resort.

Paul Korber writes on data loss and recovery solutions. To learn more, please visit my site:

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Posted In Data Recovery. @ 5:31 AM  
What Is Data Recovery And Why Does It Matter To You?
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

To be precise, the phrase ?data recovery? refers to the process whereby data is saved from storage media that has either been corrupted, damaged, failed, or made inaccessible for some reason. When data cannot be accessed the way it normally is, then we have to seek ways to recover it. This also happens to such entities as hard disk drives on computers, compact discs, DVDs, RAID, storage tapes, and other forms of electronics.

Data loss typically comes about as a result of either physical damage to the device storing the data or else logical damage done to the device?s file storage system. The latter type of damage results in the data being unable to be mounted by the host?s operating system.

The term ?data recovery? might also refer to the process whereby information that has been deleted is retrieved and secured from a storage system for forensic purposes.

Physical damage can afflict storage media in a variety of fashions. For one thing, a compact disc storing pertinent data can be affected by having one of its layers or its metallic substrate scraped off of it. Hard drive disks often experience mechanical failures, such as failed motors or head crashes. Quite often, tapes simply break down.

The problem with physical damage is that it always causes the loss of at least some ? if not all data on the storage device. Sometimes the system?s logical structures can be seriously damaged as well. Logical damage must be dealt with immediately in order for any data recovery to occur.

It is much more common for logical damage to occur than physical damage. Most of the time, logical damage comes about as the result of a power outage, which will prevent the structures of the file system from being written to the desired storage media. As a result, the file system remains inconsistent. If your system is behaving in a strange fashion or crashes, you might lose some pertinent data that will have to be recovered. Thankfully, it is much easier to do this when it is a case of logical damage, rather than physical damage.

Discover everything you need to know about data recovery here at Data Backup and Recovery - We also discuss free tools and software that you can download and use to recover you data.

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Posted In Data Recovery. @ 5:33 AM  
Data Loss & Recovery

On Tuesday March 20th, 2007, the Associated Press reported a computer tech wiped out $38 billion dollars of account data for Alaska's Department of Revenue. The article reported that it would cost about $200,000 to re-key the data from their paper backups in over 300 boxes. This story is not uncommon, and data loss could cost more: it can put you out of business. For most home users, data loss means lousing address books, pictures, memories, resumes, check books, and music. While this probably is not catastrophic, some can never be recreated. For a business though, their data makes them more efficient: pulling something up in the computer and not having to pull a paper file. For some businesses, this data is critical. To determine how critical your data is, go a month without using is: do not open any existing documents, no computerized accounting, don't think about sending an email using your address book, and do not use Outlook in general. When your data is gone, it has gone to digital "La-La Land" to never return.

The Value of Data

When considering the value of your data, we have two routes: data recovery, and data re-creation. Data recovery for a single drive may cost from $750 - $3,500. A stripped RAID array with parity (RAID 3) would cost from $2,250 to $10,500. If data recovery is possibly, it might be worth considering.

The other method to recover data is to re-enter the data. This value could be determined by the amount you would pay staff to enter data. The quicker you need it, the more costly - over-time. Consider a company who louses a year of accounting data. The accounting department consists of 4 fulltime employees making $14 an hour. The cost to recreate this data would be approximately $112,000.

These estimates are for data that can be recovered. Sometimes data recovery is not an option, and the data is lost. Unlike on the TV series CSI and 24, data is not always recoverable. In preparation for this type of disaster, you might consider what data cannot be recreated, or the cost to recreate exceeds your means. Backing up data is not just important, but critical. The cost to recreate the data, the time required recreating data, and the loss to efficiency can strangle an organization.

Considering the cost to get your data back, you should be prepared to lose it. Backup any data you cannot go without. In all likelihood, these backups will be the difference between having this data, and having to go without this data.

Shawn Zernik
Lead Technician
Internetwork Consulting

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Posted In Data Recovery. @ 5:29 AM  
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