The dangers of trying too hard with data recovery software

When faced with a data recovery (DR) situation, many people turn to widely available DR software tools. Whether they be free or paid ones, a user’s ultimate aim is to try everything they can before having to send their hard drive to a professional company for recovery (mostly due to cost implications). Although understandable, this can sometimes be detrimental.

Running software recovery tools on a drive which is not mechanically sound, can cause additional problems and possibly render your data unrecoverable. This can occur if, for example, your chosen software is constantly trying to access the same area on your drive, many times in succession over a period of hours. Apart from the possibility that your drive could overheat, there is also the chance that the physical media will become damaged in that location.

This can lead to a physical line appearing in that location where the magnetic coating has rubbed away due to the read/write heads remaining stationary in one spot for many, many hours.

The situation above can occur (although not limited to) when the read/write heads are faulty, and yet the drive is still seen by the user’s operating system (OS), but they cannot access their files. At this point many people assume that it simply a problem with their OS and not a mechanical failure. Repeated attempts by the user (via software or otherwise) to access their important files and folders may result in further damage to the internals of the drive.

Most importantly, when faced with a data loss situation you need to be wary of running data recovery software tools over extended periods of time. If in doubt, it is always better to contact a professional DR company rather than risk further – possibly irreparable – damage to your drive.

Pedro Vasconcelos :

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