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Data Recovery FAQ
Can erased data be recovered?

Yes, usually. When you delete a file the file is not actually deleted. It's just the entry in the index pointing to the file's actual location that is deleted. The file itself is left untouched but subsequent work you do on the PC could overwrite the location where the file was so it's important to minimise any amateur attempts at data recovery.

How can I completely erase a hard disk?

You can't. Any data you've deleted can probably be recovered later. Formatting doesn't remove the data beyond recovery. Neither does low-level formatting or "shredding". Even when every single byte of information on your drive has been written over a lot can still be recovered by extra sensitive recovery systems in use by the local plod (well, maybe not him but his peers in their hi-tech departments). But, always seek assistance at the earliest signs of trouble rather than relying on the assumption that everything can be recovered.

What you can do wrong:

1. When you think you have experienced some data loss STOP. Make a note of the last things you did including what software was last installed on the PC, the last application you ran, the last upgrade you did etc. It would be useful to the data recovery team. DO NOT attempt to make changes to your data/your drive.

2. DON'T open the drive to see if you can "repair" it. These drives are usually worked on in environments stricter than a hospital operation theatre. The smallest spec of dust getting into the drive could render it useless.

3. Spend some time to research a good data recovery firm. Just as with any other industry there are some cowboys around.

4. If you have a desperate need to work on whatever other data you still have on the drive you could make a mirror (depending on the circumstances). But DON'T work on the original drive.

5. Treat the drive with kids gloves. Pack it and double pack it even more than you would a new born baby (if you ever pack new born babies). Hard disks are sensitive to shock. A faulty one is several times more sensitive to the smallest knock.

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