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Items filtered by date: August 2014

The Most Common RAID Levels – What They Mean and How They Compare

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There are many different RAID array levels and each level has tasks for which it is most suited. The RAID level you choose for your system depends on the amount of storage you require, the way you need to access your data and other outside factors such as cost, preferences and other considerations.

The most common RAID configurations are levels 0, 1 and 5. There are also various combinations of these levels such as RAID 10 or RAID 50. Each level carries certain advantages and disadvantages depending on how you plan to use it.

Most Common RAID Levels


RAID 0 divides a set of data evenly among multiple hard drives, usually two drives. The main goal and benefit of using RAID 0 is improved speed/performance. With this level, there is no redundancy of data, that is, each individual batch of data is stored on only one disk. This makes RAID 0 systems vulnerable to data loss, since the failure of one disk on the array affects the entire system. The data is “striped” across both hard drives so none of the data on the failed disks can be recovered without a repairing a failed disk.

This leads to the unfortunate fact that the more hard drives you have in a RAID 0 configuration, the less you should rely on it. The more drives you have, the greater the chance that one of them will fail and the data on that drive will be lost, affecting the rest of the data as well.

Another result of this set up is that the storage capacity of the array is limited to the storage capacity of the smallest drive in the configuration.


RAID 1, on the other hand, stores an exact copy of your data on two or more drives. This makes your data much more secure; if one drive in the system fails, your data can simply be retrieved from any other drive in the system. This is known as data redundancy. With your files copied and stored on every drive in a RAID 1 system, you'd have to have all the drives fail simultaneously to lose all of your data.

Another significant difference between RAID 1 and RAID 0 is that with RAID 1, the reliability of the system increases with each drive used in the configuration. The more drives you use, the more copies there are of your data and the less likely that all drives will fail at the same time, causing the loss of your data.

The downside of the mirroring RAID 1 is that in certain situations if one drive fails or you accidently delete a portion of your data the other hard drive will mirror the damaged one.


RAID 5 offers the advantages of data storage redundancy along with a high level of performance. It works differently from RAID 0 and 1, using striping (distributing small segments of data across a number of hard drives) and parity (a technique that allows data to be reconstructed from any drive in the system if it is lost).

The combination of striping and parity adds a high degree of fault tolerance to your system, meaning that it can still function effectively even in the face of multiple drive failures. Your data is copied and spread out among all the hard drives in the configuration, so the chance of experiencing a complete system failure eliminating all your files is much lower.

If an individual drive fails on a RAID 5 system, the system continues to run as normal, and notifies the system administrator that the drive in question needs to be replaced. If you do find yourself in this position, it's important to replace the faulty drive as soon as possible to maintain the integrity and performance of the system. Failure to replace the damaged drive and allow an additional hard drive to go offline will result in major data loss. At this point a professional data recovery service should be utilized.

No matter which level of RAID array you use, if you do experience a system failure, your best option for retrieving your files is to contact a data recovery professional who has the tools, knowledge and experience to repair your damaged hard drives and recover your files.


Fixing a Dropped External Hard Drive

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External hard drives are very susceptible to be damaged from being dropped simply because they sit in high traffic areas and they get knocked over or moved around often.  The internal moving parts of a hard drive are very sensitive, the slightest jolt can result in the liquid bearing seizing or more commonly the read/write heads suffer physical damage.  Hard drives that experience more severe shocks from being dropped from 2 to 4 feet onto a very hard surface can not only damage the bearing and or heads but also the platters can actually shift off center from the spindle.

To fix a hard drive that has been dropped is always a challenging recovery even for the data recovery specialist. The hard drive would need to be opened and rebuilt by a very experienced technician with special tools, replacement parts and techniques in a clean room environment. This is a mechanical breakdown, at this point there is nothing you can do yourself. There is no software that can help even though data recovery software companies will often mislead customers in order to sell their products. In fact running software can only make the external hard drive deteriorate further and you run an enormous risk of having a catastrophic failure and losing the data forever.

Ideally the best chance for recovery would be not to power up the external drive after dropping it. That would be living in a perfect would though, naturally 99% of us would at least attempt restart the drive once or twice.

A symptom that the liquid bearing is damaged would be the hard drive still spins up but makes a high pitched screeching or whirling sound. Example Screeching  If you don’t even hear the hard drive spinning up that would indicate the liquid bearing has completely seized. 

A symptom that the read/write heads are damaged or the platters have shifted off center would be an intermittent or rhythmic clicking sound. Example Clicking

Again, if you are reading this article most likely it means you already powered up the hard drive once or twice. It is best to leave the drive powered off until a data recovery professional can stabilize the hard drive and preserve as much data as possible. 


Hard Drive PCB Damage From a Power Surge

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Hard drives that have suffered a power surge will normally affect the printed circuit board (PCB) and stop the hard drive from spinning up. However, sometimes the power spike can be so powerful that it can damage the read/write heads and or, as seen in previous cases, heat up insulating materials so intensely that it can turn into a gas. Then it will quickly cool down and descend on the platters where your data is stored. This is still normally a recoverable situation for the data recovery specialist but because of all the bad advice all over the internet about self recovery techniques, success rates in this situation have fallen to about 20%.

The most common thing people try is simply swapping the damaged PCB with a new one. This makes sense to someone who has very basic knowledge about how a hard drive works. Unfortunately, this can complicate the issue and puts your data at significant risk. Have you ever heard the phrase “he knew just enough to be dangerous?”

Once you swap the PCB the drive is able to spin up and the read/write heads will get fouled by the debris on the platters. You have just opened up a whole new set of problems that will need to be addressed in the clean room. Note: Just because the hard drive spins up with a new PCB does not mean that the hard drive can now function properly. Please follow the link below for more information about the ROM chip and a clicking hard drive. 


Why Won't My Hard Drive Boot Up?

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There are endless possibilities why your hard drive is not booting up. But for the purpose of educating you here we can assume that the problem is one of the most common problems we see and that would be bad sectors. This is an elementary problem to fix for a data recovery professional due to the specialty tools that we make available to ourselves. “Imaging” a failing hard drive with bad sectors is the key to preserving valuable data in this situation. The machine that we use to image hard drives is a special combination of hardware and software that can copy data sector by sector and simultaneously move that data to a stable secondary hard drive.

Once a hard drive starts to develop bad sectors they can multiply at an alarming rate. This imaging process eliminates the possibility of data loss as the problem drive is deteriorating. If you suspect your hard drive has bad sectors and you do not have a backup now is not the time to panic. You should immediately power off the hard drive then assess how valuable the data is and weigh your options. If the data is critical to your business or you have irreplaceable pictures of your family etc. you should seek the help of a data recovery specialist to have the best chance of preserving your data. There are some low cost data recovery software solutions for some very simple cases however this does not ensure your data is safe. There is no imaging process and that puts the data at substantial risk. Please follow the link below to learn more about the perils of data recovery software.


Three Reasons a Hard Drive Will Not Spin Up

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There are 3 main reasons a hard drive will not spin up. Bad fluid bearing, bad motor, but the most common problem is the printed circuit board (PCB) may become damaged.

The liquid bearing and motor failures are internal problems that require the hard drive be completely taken apart and rebuilt with special tools by a well trained data recovery technician. This is a very challenging recovery for even top professionals. Never open your hard drive yourself as it will be contaminated by dust particles, static electricity and humidity. Data recovery specialists use a class 100 clean room to protect the platters from these pollutants.

PCB failures are among the most frequent problems. A common mistake that people make is that they simply try swapping the bad board with another board from a new and seemingly identical hard drive. We have heard of this working a very small percentage of the time, possibly as much as 1% however we are very skeptical about those claims. If the ROM chip hasn’t been removed from the damaged PCB and swapped to the new donor PCB it can make the drive start clicking. In short the clicking sound is the heads malfunctioning; instead of reading the media normally they just bounce back and forth making the “click of death”. When the heads malfunction like that it causes a vibration and because the heads are so close to the platters they make contact with each other. In the business we call that a head slap. It causes permanent data loss that cannot be undone. Swapping the ROM chip should only be left to the data recovery professional. Attempting to remove and replace the ROM chip with the wrong soldering equipment and improper technique will result in the destruction of the chip and complete data loss. 


File Recovery

Have you ever accidentally deleted or otherwise lost track of an important file? Did you try to open a document only to find that it was corrupted and unreadable? Keeping track of sensitive information,including photos, contact lists, and documents, is essential for good business practice. File recovery is the process of locating, accessing, and restoring a missing or damaged file.

How File Storage and Recovery Works

When you drag a file to your computer’s trashcan or recycle bin, your computer’s operating system does not delete it permanently. Even if you delete a file, it may still be recovered by using utility software. A deleted file can only be easily retrieved, however, if it has not been overwritten by another program or file. It is imperative for you to keep track of all of your current projects and most important files to help ensure that your data will not be irrevocably lost.

If your computer crashes, files may become corrupted or damaged. In this case, the data may or may not be fully recoverable. File recovery refers to this process of trying to retrieve and duplicate this data. File restoration, on the other hand, refers to the much more simple process of restoring data from your computer’s most recent back up. If you back up your computer and documents regularly, you will be at much less risk of losing the data you need the most.

Other Causes of Data Loss

As mentioned, it is fairly easy to recover files lost to accidental deletion. Be sure to discontinue your computer use as soon as you notice something is missing, as you may otherwise accidentally overwrite the missing file. Even if your original file has been overwritten, however, fragments of it may still remain behind. It may be possible to reconnect these pieces and recover at least part of your data.

Unfortunately, there are several other ways we can lose data. Home accidents are a leading cause of data loss, from spilled liquids on your computer to accidentally droppingor running over your laptop or external hard drive. Unruly weather conditions can also destroy or fry your drive. If your computer is hit by a sudden power outage or power surge, or is involved in a flood, fire, or tornado, you may feel that file recovery is impossible. Thankfully, you may still have some options.

How to Retrieve Data and Files

In some cases, such as deleted or misplaced files and computer crashes, you may be able to use data recovery or utility software to locate and restore your information. This may also help in the case of files that have been corrupted by computer viruses.

If your computer has been damaged or the drive is experiencing mechanical failure, however, resist the urge to “test” or open your hard drive’s casing. Hard drives are sensitive and fragile, so attempting to fix them by yourself could easily result in even more damage and loss. Contact a company such as Inter-Data Recovery Services, a leading company for data, server, and individual file recovery. Thanks to technicians withhave the proper tools and expertise, your hard drive may still be readable and the information fully accessible.


Data Recovery

Whether at home or work, almost everyone you know uses hard drives to store data. Personal businesses and national corporations alike rely on hard drives to store and maintain client data. Unfortunately, hard drives can fail for a variety of reasons, resulting in a loss of money, time, and resources. Losing data may force you to scrap or recreate projects of all types and sizes.

How Is Data Stored?

Your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) is responsible for translating and organizing data for use and storage. This digital data is most often stored on hard drives, which handle everything from operating systems to individual photos and documents.Your hard drive is a series of stacked discs, which records and delivers data as needed.

How Can I Prevent Data Loss?

Hard drives have a huge workload and are extremely sensitive, which makes them more susceptible to damage. There are many causes of hard drive failure. Fires, floods, tornados, and other household accidents can all but destroy your hard drive. In addition, high-temperature exposure or power surges can fry your device. Thankfully, data recovery may still be possible!

If you think your drive may be damaged, there are a few self-help tacticsto avoid. Hard drives are extremely sensitive, so do not try to open, clean, or otherwise adjust yours.Mishandling the drive may cause alignment issues and increase your potential data loss. If your drive is physically damaged, resist the urge to reinstall the operating system or run any program such as Microsoft ScanDisk. Running either of these may cause your data to be overwritten and otherwise altered, making it more difficult to restore.

In addition to physical damage, another leading cause of computer data loss is due to mechanical failure. If you suspect electrical or mechanical damage, do not run bargain data recovery software. Your hard drive should be duplicated, as is, before you run any experimental software that could alter or erase your original data.

The best preventative against data loss is to back up your projects regularly. There are multiple types of external storage devices available. You can store your data manually or use your computer to set an automatic back up. Having a recent back up on hand can make your data recovery process painless.

How Can I Recover Lost Data?

If your hard drive seems to be in good shape, but you have accidentally deleted some essential files, a utility program may be able to help you recover files. Before running any such program, however, make sure your hard drive is acting normally and is not clicking. If your drive is clicking in any way, turn off your computer and seek assistance.

Drives impaired by mechanic failure, unlike accidentally deleted files, must be handled carefully. Recovering your data is still possible, but you do not accidentally want to make the problem worse by attempting a repair yourself.Instead, you may need to seek professional help from a specialty recovery service such as Inter-Data Recovery Services. Look for a company that pledges to keep your data confidential, and that preferably does not ship or outsource your drive. Highly trained technicians with the best-available equipment and technology may be your best bet for recovering everything you need.


RAID Server Recovery

With RAID storage, we can access and store huge amounts of data quickly and easily. Unfortunately, our reliance on the system means that RAID server loss or damage can be destructive and debilitating to your home network or business. Keep reading to see how you might be affected, and to learn what could be recovered in case of data loss.

How Do RAID Servers Work?

The “I” in the acronyminitially stood for inexpensive, but RAID is now known as the redundant array of independent disks. At a computing conference 1988, Randy Katz, David Patterson, and Garth Gibson presented a paper to describe RAID, a new method of using multiple disk drives for data storage. These disk drives extend storage space and capability while still acting as a single device, boosting both capacity and performance.

RAID storage has five levels, or schemes, which offer better protection against data loss than solitary disk drives. Data may be divided, duplicated, and distributed differently depending on the required availability and reliability. In this way, RAID offers advanced protection against data loss due to its offered redundancy. By storing identical data in multiple places, you are better protected against data loss. This duplicating and sorting process also helps makes RAID server recovery possible and easy.

Remote volume managers or dedicated computer software or hardware are most commonly used to control your RAID array type and server. Many current operating systems support RAID use.

Causes of Server Damage

The levels and schemes of RAID are designed to help protect against data loss, but damaged or malfunctioning systems can cause huge problems. Protect your system from extreme temperatures and natural disasters as much as possible, but know that mechanical damage is one of the principal causes of a broken RAID array or server failure. At this point, simple rescue software may not be enough for a complete RAID server recovery.

Can My Data Be Retrieved?

For small cases involving simple data loss or misplacement, you can utilize do-it-yourself software that can help guide you through the recovery process. This method of recovery is ideal for small batches of corrupted or accidentally deleted files, for which you can simply search the server. Once you locate the files you need, you can restore the original data or replicate and send it to a new location.

If the server damage seems too extensive or you note mechanical failure, recovery software likely will not be enough. No matter the cause of loss or underlying issues, however, complete RAID server recovery is possible. Due to the scheme’s complex nature, however, retrieving data from a failed device requires a deeper level of technical understanding and experience.

You best option is to consider seeking assistance from a specialty data recovery service such as Inter-Data Recovery Services. Look for a specialized company with experience in handling RAID server recovery operations. In addition, seek a service that works on-site and refuses to outsource or otherwise share your disks and data. With a high-qualified team of experts working for you, you have the best-possible chance at recovering everything you need while minimizing your downtime.


Data Forensics

When you shred and dispose of a hand-written document, it will eventually be recycled or composted with no evidence left behind. When you delete a file on your computer, however, numerous traces of its existence remain. Information or sensitive data that was previously hidden, deleted, or corrupted can usually be retrieved, analyzed, and preserved. This practice, known as data or digital forensics, is a growing, evolving field now considered routine practice for numerous types of legal matters. In addition, the tools used for data forensicsalso apply to general data recovery in case of computer or hard drive failure.

How Data Can Be Manipulated

There are essentially two types of collected data, persistent and volatile. Persistent data is permanently stored, such as on a hard drive. This is much easier to locate than volatile data, which is hidden, transient, or otherwise difficult to recover.

Every time you open a computer file, you alter its data and add to its recorded history. When it comes to court cases, detectives quickly learned that computer evidence was easy to alter, corrupt, or destroy, accidentally or otherwise. Specialized tools and methodologies to search data had to be subsequently developed. Upon seizing a computer or hard drive, data forensics expertsimmediately duplicate and lock down a version of the data. With that in hand, the original data cannot be accidentally manipulated while being searched for evidence.

What Data Recovery Can Reveal

Data forensics can be used for both tracking and recovery, from corporate misconduct and file corruption to mobile device location tracking. Computer specialists, digging for digital evidence for attorneys or the law, can analyze temporary Internet files and determine when files were created, modified, or deleted. In addition, digital forensics can reveal if and when files were emailed, messaged, or even copied to a CD or portable flash drive. Long-lost email exchanges and hidden folders alike areconveyed to the surface with the right techniques and tools.

With this wealth of available knowledge and evidence, companies can see how computer-related activates may have affected their operations.Issues that can be revealed include fraud, bribery, discrimination, and theft of documents. If someone attempted to hide, alter, or destroy a file, you can find out when, where, and how it was done.

In addition to criminal investigations, data recovery is used to help settle civil disputes, lawsuits, human resources complaints, and more. Typically, specific warrants are required to search a suspect’s computer, but this practice is becoming more common and useful in courts worldwide, including a large number of high-profile cases.

Tools and Methodologies

Data speaks volumes by itself, but data forensics digs even deeper and expands further. Data recovery of any sort requires a certain set of tools and skills. The methodologies used include advanced searches, reverse engineering, decryption, analysis,and decoding.

The field of computer forensics in continually evolving, increasing our ability to retrieve data that has been hidden or even damaged. This comes in handy for data recovery outside the courtroom, too, as the tools used in data forensics make it possible to recover data lost to the malfunction of or mechanical problems in hardware, software, and hard drives. For these cases, consider using a specialized company such as Inter-Data Recovery Services, which will use technical expertise and experience to locate, decipher, and restore data.


Data Forensics

Detective on Duty: Data Forensics for the Workplace or Courtroom

Recovering information from a hard drive can entail uncovering data that someone wanted to keep hidden. In some cases, hard drives have been damaged to destroy evidence of illegal activity, or even to keep a potential witness out of a courtroom.

When it comes to performing data forensics, data-recovery specialists serve as both data detectives and computer technicians. They can help to make certain that electronic evidence will hold up in court, uncover content that may serve to prove a case, authenticate the origins of electronic documents and secure user history. Experts in data recovery are able to find and retrieve electronic evidence using techniques and equipment that will keep evidence intact.

Not all data recovery for the purpose of forensics takes place for use within a courtroom, however.

Many employers use data forensics to determine if employees have abused Internet privileges, or have visited inappropriate websites while at the workplace.

Such data recovery can also help to determine if confidential or sensitive data was transmitted from the workplace via a personal e-mail account, or whether inappropriate material was downloaded on site by an employee.

Employers often opt to seek the aid of external data recovery specialists for such sensitive internal operations. Having personnel within the company’s own information technology department perform this type of data recovery tasks can prove harmful to the workplace by creating gossip fodder. In many instances, the IT professional will take a look at what he or she has uncovered.

It can also pose a conflict of interest for the IT professional, who may or may not perform the duty accurately based upon his or her relationship to the employee being investigated.

The Recovery of Digital Evidence

There are many different types of forensic evidence that can be recovered from hard drives, as well as data transmitted via e-mail and over the Internet.

The term “disk forensics” is a catch-all phrase for the recovery of any data that can be stored on a piece of physical storage, which is typically a hard drive. Data forensics as applied to hard drives entails both the recovery of deleted or hidden data and the task of identifying who created the data in the first place.

E-mail forensics, on the other hand, is often data recovery for the purpose of using e-mail as admissible evidence in a courtroom.

E-mail data recovery includes the identification of an e-mail’s sender, as well as important details about the message. The location from which the message was sent, for instance, can be a vital detail, as can the message recipient and time it was sent.

Regardless of the digital evidence being recovered, as well as the purpose for which it’s being recovered, it’s best to choose a professional data recovery service that is familiar with the latest recovery techniques and technologies.

Attempting to recover data without professional help can result in permanent data loss, as well as loss of integrity to the data recovered.

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