Every company that specializes in an area has to have that process down to a science, that way it works the same way every time, and more importantly, it works. To make our process efficient and foolproof we have divided it up into four important phases. These phases start when we are given permission by the client to proceed after the initial review and evaluation.
The first phase in data recovery is the repair phase. To get data off of a broken drive it cannot be broken. Since the underlying goal is data recovery, instead of hard drive repair, we don’t try to make long-term fixes. The client needs a new drive anyway, so our job in phase one is to repair the drive enough so the data can be taken removed. The repairs may keep it running for a long time, but that isn’t the focus. To repair a disk, we have to take it into our level 100 clean room, disassemble it, and find all of the broken or failing parts. After pieces are replaced, thanks to parts from our collection of 10,000 hard drives, we rebuild the drive back and send it on to phase two.
The second phase is the imaging phase. Hard drive imaging is a great tool for data management and hard drive data recovery. A hard drive image is a snapshot of the data on the faulty drive at the time that it quit working. The process of disk imaging starts by taking all the uncorrupted readable data off of the ruined drive and transferring it on to a new reliable drive. If there are logical errors in the data, that is to say errors that are software-related, not physical, they will be copied over and fixed later. The main goal is to get every byte of data copied from the bad drive to a good drive. When the data is transferred, we start phase three.
The third phase is the logical recovery of the data. When data is extracted off of a hard drive it isn’t always in the right order. It’s like taking a new deck of cards and throwing them in the air. After picking them up, though all the cards are present, they aren’t in the original order. We try to reconstruct the MFT, or Master File Table, so all the files are in the correct order and in the correct partitions. We use to MBR, Master Boot Record, to do this. It is our goal to make sure every file is present, intact, and in the correct sector and directory on the new hard drive. If the files are not intact, we move on to phase four.
The fourth phase is when we take all the files that are not intact, and try to piece them together with the fragmented data so that they form completed files. Depending the severity of the drive crash, some files may not be fully repairable. After phase four is complete, we give the recovery data back to the client on a new external hard drive which then should be copied to the customer’s computer.